Hideaway residents fear displacement

"We are going to fight for our homes' says mobile home owner

Residents of a Coquitlam mobile home park made a pre-emptive strike to city council in its opposition to a potential five-building development on Dewdney Trunk Road.

A preliminary application has been received by the city from Infinity Properties to construct five apartment buildings containing 477 units and 13 townhouses on land currently occupied by the Hideaway Mobile Home Park on the border with Port Moody. Hideaway's residents are restricted to being at least 55 years old.

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"We want to keep it at that," resident Patricia Baker told Coquitlam city council Monday. "We're going to fight for our homes.

"We are going to fight this tooth and nail."

Baker said there are no other trailer parks in the region to move their homes to. That's if their homes are safe to be moved or meet requirements set by other parks, she added.

"There is nowhere to live. There is no seniors housing. No seniors housing is being built anywhere else. There is nowhere else to go," said Baker.

She was accompanied by next-door neighbour Gloria Kuiper.

"It just causes stress. It's time you stand up for the people instead of the developers," Kuiper told the councillors.

Kuiper said while the mobile homeowners will be compensated, she wants assurances it will be at market value. Baker said her income is below the poverty line but can only afford to live in Hideaway because her monthly pad rental is $466.

There's already a development going ahead right beside Hideaway. Baker said all the residents but one at the 17-pad mobile home park next door, which is in Port Moody, have been cleared out to make way for 230 rental units being built by PC Urban.

"This is very upsetting to me," Coun. Mae Reid told Baker and Kuiper. 

Reid believes more mobile home parks are needed, not fewer. She and other councillors referenced Polygon's development of land formerly occupied by Windsor Glen mobile home park at Lincoln Avenue and Pipeline Road. Jim McIntyre, who heads the city's planning department, said there were 20 units at a reduced rate set aside for residents of that mobile home park.

Mayor Richard Stewart said Windsor Glen worked out and noted Polygon actually sold the building where the displaced owners were relocated for less than it cost to build it.

"The [applicants and city] will meet with the owners long before it comes to council," Stewart assured the Hideway owners. "Our challenge, as best as possible, is how do we make it right?"

There are considerable hoops ahead for any development proposal to jump thorough before construction can begin. An initial application would have to be vetted by the city's planning staff when conditions can be negotiated, including relocation and compensation for the current mobile home owners.

"They will have to come back with a doable application," said McIntyre. "Staff will have to go through it before putting it before council."

To get the property rezoned as a mobile home park would require the official community plan (OCP) to be revised. That would necessitate a public hearing and discussion at council. Only after that's approved, a rezoning application would have to be brought forward. That process would also involve public consultation, a public hearing and council discussion.

The city's director of development services George Fuji said Infinity's pre-application proposal included one rental building to help displaced mobile homeowners.

"I don't want to live in an apartment," said Kuiper. "I want to live in my home where I can garden and have a place for my pets."

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