Residents of the trailer court in Port Edward are preparing to dig in their heels and fight plans to restrict access to the site over the next six months.
An April 16 letter from park owners Stonecliff Properties indicates the entire park will be fenced in from April 28 until approximately Oct. 31, with no vehicles being allowed past the fence and parking restricted to Alder Avenue outside the construction area. But due to equipment working, it is not just vehicles being impacted.
“Regular construction hours will be Monday to Friday. Work will start no earlier than 7 a.m. and stop by 6 p.m. each day. During these hours all park access will be restricted by construction safety procedures that will be posted at the entrance gates. After regular work hours, local pedestrian access will be permitted,” read the letter.
According to a spokesperson for Stonecliff Properties, restricted access is needed to address some major issues with the park before any further actions can be taken.
“Construction means we need to dig up all of the roads to replace the sewer and water lines. All of the infrastructure is being replaced because it was put in in the 1960s, no longer meets code and is leaking under the site,” she said, noting a golf cart will be available to tenants with mobility challenges.
However, the idea of restricted access for such a lengthy period of time has some tenants seeing red.
“It is a major concern to us. They are going to block off access to our homes 11 hours per day and block off all access to vehicles and parking … if they are going to put up that fencing I am going to rip it down and I would love to see someone charge me with break and enter onto my own property,” said Ed Day, president of the Port Edward Manufactured Home Owners Association.
“I don’t think anyone has a problem with the construction, the upgrades need to be done, but it is destroying people’s lives the way they are going about it.”
During a meeting on April 23, tenants said these restrictions go against section 24 of the Manufactured Home Park Tenancy Act, which states “A landlord must not unreasonably restrict access to a manufactured home park by (a) the tenant of a manufactured home site that is part of the manufactured home park, or (b) a person permitted in the manufactured home park by that tenant”.
However, Stonecliff Properties said nobody is being blocked from reaching their trailer.
“There will be 24-hour access for residents, but when construction equipment is working people will be escorted through the site. Everyone has access to the site all the time, but they will be walked around while on the site for safety reasons,” said the spokesperson.
Another concern of tenants was that construction required all boats, RVs and vehicles be removed by April 28 or they would be towed and stored at the owner’s expense. For Ken Jennings, a 76-year-old who has lived in the trailer park since 1989 and who owns three boats, getting those moved in that short timeframe presents challenges of its own.
“I don’t know where to go with them. Any good trailer park has a common area for boats and RVs, but with Stonecliff every piece of rock has to make money … I have never felt so put down in my life,” he said, expressing his frustration with the new owners.
“As long as Stonecliff is here, there will never be peace in this town.”
Stonecliff said while they do not formally recognize the association due to a lack of their involvement and many on the association renting trailers as opposed to owning them, they are doing what they can to accommodate them. The association, meanwhile, is considering legal action to prevent the access restrictions from proceeding.