Residents of the Port Edward trailer court have been given one year to vacate the premises, but those who live there vow to fight the eviction.
The 12-month notices, form 31 of the Residential Tenancy Branch, were delivered on Aug. 22 by owners Stonecliff Properties following a prolonged dispute between the company and the Port Edward Manufactured Home Association. According to Stonecliff Properties, the evictions are the only option left as it looks to undertake necessary repairs.
“The infrastructure has deteriorated to the point that it needs to be replaced … they won’t let us do any repairs. We need to get between every trailer and under every trailer and all we have asked is that they move boats and cars and they have refused,” said a spokesperson, alleging their staff have been threatened and their offices broken into.
“We can’t do any more than we have done. We’ve even offered to buy the trailers from them … there are a number of people in the park we wish we could have done something with, but because of the bullying tactics of the tenant’s association people felt compelled to join. I wish we could have done more, but we just can’t.”
But the tenants question the validity of the evictions. In particular, they point to a section of the notice that states, “the landlord has all necessary permits and approvals required by law and intends in good faith to convert all or a significant part of the manufactured home park to a non-residential use or a residential use other than a manufactured home park”.
“There has been no public meeting to rezone the land … we asked council if they gave Stonecliff the permits and they said no. We asked if they rezoned the property and they said no,” said resident Alice Kruta.
“This is huge. We’re going to be pushing for an investigation into this.”
However, Stonecliff said they don’t need to rezone the property as the plan is simply to shut the park down.
“We’re not changing the use, we’re just closing the park. You only need the permits if you’re changing the use,” said the company spokesperson, noting the cost to keep the park open is mounting.
“We’re losing between $10,000 and $15,000 per month to keep it open and we have done everything we can.”
Relations between Stonecliff and the tenants has been tumultuous since the company purchased the land. Since then tenants have claimed the company was evicting residents for non-payment of rent and have been causing undue stress, with Kruta providing a doctor’s note saying letters received that are “significantly affecting her depression and anxiety levels”.
However, Stonecliff said it has not served eviction notices to anyone and has only handed out 10-day notices to pay required rent and the company says the tenants have shut down communication.
“We have asked the association for any communication to say what they want. We’ve told them ‘please tell me what meetings have been about or what you’re looking for’. They’re response has been ‘we don’t have to tell you anything’. And they have never asked us for anything … they have never had any communications with us at all,” said the spokesperson, pointing to two public meetings the company hosted.
However, that is a claim Kruta refutes.
“We said, ‘let’s sit down and talk about your rules’ and they wanted nothing to do with that,” she said.
As for the future of the park after the Aug. 31, 2015 evictions, Stonecliff said it is not sure what will happen with the site.
“Stonecliff Properties is unsure of the future. What we are sure of is we can no longer afford to pay to keep the park open.”
“I am really sorry about it, there is just nothing more we can do.”