The battle between residents and developers is more balanced in other cities while in Charlottetown the developer can ruin people’s lives
It is a sad story as residents of Idlewheels Trailer Park face the sale or demolition of their homes due to a builder’s permit. Some have lived there for decades and their mobile homes are not worth selling. There are also few places for them to go on PEI. Other trailer parks restrict tenants to those who purchase trailers from the lot’s owner.
The mass eviction of 19 families is not pretty. Many of them are poor with few options. Some have disabilities. Some are seniors now waiting for taxpayer funded accommodations. Lives and a neighborhood are being destroyed.
While the City needs development, the lack of modern development by-laws has allowed the situation to go from bad to worse.
The City of Charlottetown fought for the residents of Idlewheels Trailer Park. A developer, L&A MacEachern, purchased the land and gave the residents, who are tenants, notice to leave.
The City tried to fight the permit but the Developer argued successfully that they had the right to evict and develop the property. Charlottetown approves rezoning of trailer park
The battle between land-owners and residents has been settled equitably in other cities. Cities learned that leveling neighborhoods is destructive to the lives of people and the soul of their cities. In more advanced cities, developers have to take into consideration the real needs of equity holders.
People who rent land in a trailer park are not land-owners but they have equity in their homes. This is often the case in cities where residents are tenants who never own properties. Developers who want to change the use of a property have to negotiate with the owner and the equity holders to achieve fairness.
The developer is not likely to offer to solve the residents problem without legislation. That would put his costs of development above those of his competitors. That is where the City needs to enact by-laws that level the playing field for development and recognize the equity in neighborhoods and rental relationships.
It is also part of the Provincial government’s responsibility. It’s about time PEI and Charlottetown came to grips with the value of the City as a collection of neighborhoods not as raw land to be bulldozed.
The tenants of Idlewheels deserve replacement accommodations for their loss. They won’t get it according to the CBC story. It may be too late to help them but it’s not too late for Charlottetown to enact building by-laws that are fair to everyone.
This is not about bleeding-heart liberalism. The taxpayers of PEI pay every time the government fails to deal with a social issue. Seniors, the disabled and the poo r are a social responsibility. They will no be putting pressure on the government to provide social housing.
Related story – Trailer park residents fear forced removal
Video copyright by CBC News