The lengthy dispute between Stonecliff Properties and the tenants of its Port Edward trailer court came to a head Wednesday morning when bailiffs representing the property owner Stonecliff, began to serve eviction notices to the residents of the trailer park.
Also on hand were approximately eight members of Prince Rupert RCMP.
“We’ve just been called in to assist the bailiffs in keeping the peace out here. The bailiffs are here to remove the property and individuals from these trailers,” said Sgt. Dave Uppal of the Prince Rupert RCMP detachment.
While the bailiffs declined to speak with Black Press, Uppal stated that the process will involve moving vans transporting the residents’ property out of the park.
“My understanding is they have the authority to remove everything from the trailers into a truck or put it curbside … There’s a number of trailers here, so I’m not sure if it’s all going to happen today, but in the next probably two or three days – that’s as fast as the movers can move their stuff – it all depends on what the bailiff’s schedule is,” Uppal added.
The bailiffs acted on a B.C. Supreme Court order and tenants were notified of the eviction notice on Aug. 22, 2014, as well as given a 12-month notice to vacate. It was then the company gave its notice of intention to shut down the park.
The timing of the eviction is “terrible”, said Victoria Beattie, president of Stonecliff on Wednesday.
“We didn’t pick this day, the courts did. We have no control after the end of the closing of the park on Aug. 31, but I still sent letters to the [B.C. Supreme Court to move the date],” she added.
The eviction officials asked the services of Gary Weick of Gary’s Lock and Security Shop in Prince Rupert, but after seeing some of the Christmas lights and recognizing the time of year, Weick declined.
“I was asked to do it but I just didn’t have the heart,” Weick said.
Claiming the property was losing $10,000 to $15,000 per month and planning to provide property repairs and proper health and safety standards to meet community bylaws for the benefit of existing and future tenants, Stonecliff announced its plans to shut down the park, citing an inability to repair critical infrastructure.
In the past year, tenants have repeatedly challenged the eviction notices and alleged harassment regarding rent and Stonecliff’s demands to move the tenants’ private property to facilitate the work by the property owners and restricting some access to parts of the property were causes of stress to the tenants.
“Every tenant was aware of the consequences of not allowing the required repairs … Each tenant received due process under the law. There are no further appeals that can be made,” company solicitor Michael Gemmiti wrote in a statement.
“Stonecliff did not intend or foresee this unfortunate result when it purchased the park in 2013.”