A complaint-ridden trailer park in Red Deer County is shutting down and kicking all its tenants out.
Eviction notices were handed out to all the tenants in the 72 mobile homes in Les’s Trailer Park on Burnt Lake Trail earlier this month.
Mike Nelson, the site manager, said the Calgary-owner cannot afford the estimated $2.5 million price tag to bring the site’s water and sewer lines up to standard. Nelson handed out the notices to the residents, indicating tenants have until Sept. 13, 2013, to leave.
“Some of them have been here for 20 years,” said Nelson. “There is no place to go for these older homes. Most of these people quite frankly will end up leaving their home behind for a bulldozer because quite frankly they have no choice.”
Owner Robert Bresciani was not available for comment on Monday. Bresciani has owned the trailer park since the 1970s and has faced complaints over the years about water quality, sewer drainage, safety compliances and maintenance.
The park, on the outskirts of Red Deer, is located west of Hwy 2 and south of the Burnt Lake Business Park.
John Gillander, 80, has lived in the park since 1998 and recently bought a new $104,000 trailer after his home burned down last July.
“I am pissed off,” said Gillander. “I’ve been here for so long. I like it here. I’ve probably put in $50,000 into this place.”
Gillander has started to look for new spots in Sylvan Lake and Red Deer because he is one of the fortunate tenants who has a new model, which is easily movable and does not face restrictions. Some trailer lots limit the age of the trailer.
Ryan Clouston, 32, recently paid off his trailer after six years. Clouston said he has no choice but to leave his 1970s trailer behind. Clouston has two big dogs that won’t be permitted in an apartment so now he’s looking for a house to rent.
“I’m pretty upset,” said Clouston. “I’m not sure what I am going to do.”
Simon and Faye Haugjord have started looking for a new site and are not having any luck in finding a large enough lot to fit their home. The couple have lived in the park for about 12 years. They estimate it will cost about $10,000 to move and get settled. Hauglord said it’s been one problem after another in the decade they have called Les’s Trailer Park home.
“The water has been terrible all along,” said Simon Haugjord, 62. The couple boil water and purchase bottled water for drinking.
An Alberta Health Services notice dated Sept. 5, 2012, posted near the park’s mailboxes highlight several breaches under the Public Health Act including unsafe drinking water, failure to send in weekly water samples and failure of sewage system that “may lead to groundwater and water supply contamination.”
Residents pay $470 a month and if they are late, they pay $500, Haugjord said. The rent continues to increase but nothing is being done on the property, he said.
In the 1980s, the trailer park was ordered to stop pumping effluent from the lagoons into the Red Deer River. About 6.8 million litres of untreated sewage was pumped annually into the Red Deer River, about four km upstream from the city’s water intake site.
Over the years, tenants have asked for help from the county, community health and the province.
“You feel bad for the people who live here on welfare and are on low income,” said Faye Haugjord, 50. “They will have no choice but to pack up and leave everything.”