Following a hearing to receive input from the public, Sparwood Council declined the Elk Valley Mobile Home Park’s application for a Development Variance Permit during the regular council meeting on August 19.
District staff met with approximately 15 residents on August 7 to listen to their concerns. “While staff has no concerns with the requested variance, there are concerns with potential impact on residents if rezoning were to occur,” said Nelson Wight, Manager of Planning. Wight also recommended to council that they create policy to protect residents in mobile home parks as this issue has been debated at the Union of BC Municipalities.
The application requested to vary sections of the Mobile Home Parks Bylaw to allow for a reduction in the minimum area for a mobile home space, the minimum width of a mobile home space, and to eliminate the requirements for a buffer area and recreation space for the Elk Valley Mobile Home Park.
Four residents of the trailer park addressed Council in the public hearing stating their concerns that a variance permit may lead to rezoning and eventual disturbance of their quiet enjoyment of their homes, including having to move their old trailers off the current lots as the trailers would be larger than the proposed lot sizes requested in the variance permit. At that point, the landowner, John Koop, would be able to issue an eviction notice to the tenant. Of the 60 trailers in the mobile home park, 36 are owned by residents who pay pad rent to the mobile home park owner.
Councillor Harold Baytaluke got clarification from the manager of planning that this is a three to four stage project. “So it may be hard to stop once the ball is rolling,” said Baytaluke.
“I have some major concerns,” said Councillor Sharon Fraser. “I need reassurance that their homes can stay exactly where they are. I will not have any part in someone losing his or her home. No way on God’s green earth. It seems everyone pays their pad rent and some work needs to go back into the (mobile park).”
“I went to the trailer park before the meeting today and the place needs to be cleaned up,” said Councillor Margaret McKie. “Some of the empty lots really look like they are in a state of disrepair. The playground is probably not even legal. Many of the mobile homes there would not survive any move. (Sparwood) does not have a lot of lower income housing. I am not in favour of this at all. I think the owner needs to clean the mobile park up.”
“I am a believer that we can’t tell people what they can do with their private land but when it effects many people’s lives, then I can’t support that. Then it’s up to the owner to make restitution with the tenant,” said Councillor Sonny Saad.