WebStamp September 20, 2017

Tiny House Community Fighting Back

Tiny house communities have been around since the creation of mobile home parks. Actually you could say many ancient civilization villages were tiny house communities, but that aside since we are living in 21st Century. They were developed to provide affordable housing for those that couldn’t afford the average single family home in the city. All homes in mobile home parks are placed on land that is rented. Because of this they have little say in what happens to the land which their house sits on.

Calgary Council decided to abolish the tiny house community of Midfield Trailer Park because the cost of repair of the aging sewage and water system would be too expensive of an undertaking for the city. The city had promised a new park would be built where they could move to. However, that was cancelled leaving the residents of the park with no place to go to since there were no available affordable places to move their homes to in the city.

With current land use regulation it is difficult to put a mobile home or tiny house on a city lot. Even if you were able to place your tiny house on a lot, it wouldn’t be cost effective because the lots are much larger than what you would need. You are also not allowed to put just several tiny houses on a lot without a permanent housing structure. Setting up the utilities (required by the city) for laneway homes is expensive and prohibits many from putting in a tiny house.

The 50 remaining homeowners of the 183-lot neighbourhood are fighting back to save what is left of their community. 83-year-old resident Rudy Prediger, who has lived in the trailer park for 47 years has hired a lawyer to seek a delay of the eviction of September 30th this Monday, or at least, a better compensation deal.

Mathew Farrell, barrister and solicitor at Guardian Law Group, said “A landlord – and that includes the city – has to have a valid reason to evict a tenant and that the legal arguments for doing so are limited.” Apparently in the Mobiles Act you can only evict people if the utilities are going to be installed, repaired, or improved. There is nothing about removing the utilities entirely and closing down the park.

The city says they are looking for ways to create affordable housing, yet a tiny house community doesn’t seem to be an option. Here is an opportunity for Calgary to take the initiative to develop a city of the future with affordable housing for its citizens with tiny house communities. Considering the population expansion, future living accommodations need to minimalize and be placed on a smaller footprint to accommodate the masses.

Instead of closing down Midfield Trailer Park, the city should redevelop the neighbourhood into tiny house community where the homeowners own their land. The city then could tax the homeowners to maintain the utilities, roads, and public spaces. Council needs to also change current land use laws and restructure them to fit the changing needs of its citizens. The status quo is changing as the needs of the masses changes, as it did in the beginning of the last century. We have the tools, materials and the knowledge to create a city for a comfortable existence for all its citizens.

With all the issues for people to live in affordable housing, tiny house communities seem to be a viable solution. There are too many people struggling to pay the rent and live. Relieving the stress of surviving improves a person’s wellbeing, which is a benefit to all and creates a healthier society. I feel, like so many others, that what Calgary is doing to the Midfield Trailer Park shouldn’t be allowed to happen. We should all ban together and make the M.A.D. move and speak out. Contact your city councillor and demand action on preserving the few closely knit mobile home communities in our city and the need for more tiny house communities.

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Marinus (René) Verschuren
Marinus (René) Verschuren
Founder of WebStamp
René has been involved in the publishing and printing industry since the 1970s. He has published and distributed a successful 24-page weekly news advertiser with a circulation of 4400 copies. Also for the last 20 years, he has been a printer, plotter, scanner and 3D printer technician and installer. Since High School, he also has worked as a janitor, cabinet maker, building construction, landscaper/designer, computer operator producing microfiche, graphic artist, and webmaster, among many other professions, qualifying him as a Jack-of-All-Trades.
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Calgary Council decided to abolish the tiny house community of Midfield Trailer Park because the cost of repair of the aging sewage and water system would be to expensive of an undertaking for the city. The city had promised a new park would be built where they could move to. However, that was cancelled leaving the residents of the park with no place to go to since there were no available affordable places to move their homes to in the city.