It is a large part of history everywhere in the world that those living in adequate but insubstantial dwellings are displaced by those who arrogantly believe because they build structures on solid foundations they put down deeper roots and by default can assert greater entitlement to the land.
That story and the abhorrent mid-set that goes with it still prevails and is currently being played out in Calgary, where the residents of Midfield Mobile Home Park have been issued eviction notices.
Mobile homes may be movable but the people who live in them are rooted in their environment and connected to their neighbours as profoundly as in any other community. In fact, in older, low-income neighbourhoods the sense of community and inter-dependency is often much greater.
The majority of Midfield residents are seniors that have lived in the park for close to forty years. It is important to note that among those residents is an 83 year-old man who has lived in the park for forty-eight years and a 93-year-old woman who has been there for thirty-eight years.
The park, established in the late 1960s has crumbling infrastructure, a situation due in large part to the wilful neglect of the city.
“We own our homes, rent the land they sit on, paid decades of lot rent and taxes, but it was not used for Midfield infrastructure upkeep… why?” was a question posed by one resident to the CBC.
According to Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi, the infrastructure is now too expensive to replace, which is, ostensibly, the reason given by the City of Calgary for issuing the eviction notices.
That the properties in the immediate area around Midfield are worth millions of dollars apparently has nothing to do with the city’s decision to displace Midfield Park residents.
The residents, none of whom accept the city’s bogus rational are fighting the eviction notice as they are fully aware that the 17-acre park is so astronomically valuable that their wellbeing, their homes and community are insignificant in the voracious eyes of developers and their lackeys in city hall.
In 2017, when the City of Calgary announced that it is closing the Midfield Mobile Home Park, Mayor Nenshi made this proclamation:
“Now that the final decision has been made, tenants know that they have three years to find other accommodation and that they will be given a package to help ease the transition.”
The package to ease the transition is $10,000 and up to $10,000 to move the mobile homes, a miniscule sum compared to the estimated worth of the park. Besides, it is offensive and absurd to offer a package to ease the transition when Midfield residents have nowhere to go to make that transition.
A proposal to establish a new mobile home park at a location in Calgary N.E. has been abandoned because, like the crumbling infrastructure in Midfield Park, it also proved too expensive according to city officials.
All Albertans should be concerned, when Calgary, the largest and most affluent city in the province forces the poor and elderly residents of Midfield Mobile Home Park from their homes and their community, especially when the city has offered them no viable alternative.