Many area residents will remember the old Seaside Trailer Court in Saltair. It was a collection of older-style mobile homes that were impeccably groomed and landscaped by many senior owners.
These citizens of Saltair were my friends and neighbours. My three children would trick or treat there at Halloween. My son split firewood and did small chores for many older couples. Many had been long-time local residents with deep roots in our community, who had retired to this small, quiet trailer court. Most of all, many of them were vulnerable seniors living on a small fixed income with most of their life savings in their homes.
In 2007-08, the trailer court was purchased by developers. Looking back at what happened to our friends and neighbours as the process of their eviction unfolded seems very much like a nightmare. Tree fallers came in without notice and fell huge fir trees across much of the grounds making it impossible to access the common areas of the park. A new caretaker was hired that seemed to ignore the complaints and issues of the residents. In my 40 years as a neighbour, I can never remember the police being there once; now it seemed to be a regular occurrence. I witnessed much of what my neighbours suffered, but appeals to the CVRD and area MLA couldn’t stop this nightmare. I cannot imagine how it affected these vulnerable seniors. There is nothing more sacred to most of us than our homes.
In a last desperate attempt to save their homes, the park residents went to the Tenancy Dispute Resolution. The new owners (developers) of the trailer court stated that they intended to use the property as a single family dwelling and the trailer court would be shut down. The dispute resolution officer said he had no choice but to take the developers’ statement in good faith, that they would discontinue the use of the property as a trailer park.
Our friends and neighbours were evicted, and many of their lives were devastated. Many lost their life savings because their mobile homes were too old or costly to move and no park was available to take them.
Today, the same developers that evicted these vulnerable seniors have proposed building a new trailer park, much larger than the old Seaside Trailer Park.
Our area director says “it will be something we can all be proud of.”
The CVRD and our area director seem to forget the statements these developers made when they ruined the lives of my friends and neighbours.
I can’t imagine anyone being “proud of this development.”
Saltair’s regional director has suggested that the former tenants at Seaside Trailer Park be compensated with Saltair Parks money. Although I believe they should be compensated, I am offended and outraged by the idea that Saltair Parks money would be used for compensation for the acts of these developers.
If you feel as many of our area residents do, that there should be consequences to the statements made by the developers of this property and that the CVRD has an obligation to act on our behalf, please contact CVRD Chair Rob Hutchins and Saltair Area Director Mel Dorey.