After being out of their homes for almost two months due to land slippage near Frizzi Road in Williams Lake, the owners of two trailers in Green Acres Mobile Home Park have received promises of financial help.
Mayor Walt Cobb said he would personally donate some money as a community member and Coun. Scott Nelson committed $2,000 toward a fundraiser to help pay the approximate $5,000 cost of moving the two trailers forward.
One trailer needs to be moved eight metres and the other one five metres. Neither insurance nor the provincial government will cover the cost of moving the trailers.
The city’s chief administrative officer Gary Muraca said he would work with the homeowners to get the trailers moved as soon as possible and Cobb committed to phoning the mobile home park owner.
These commitments came after homeowner Ashley Coleman addressed city council during the Tuesday, Nov. 23, regular meeting.
As about 10 of her coworkers from Canadian Mental Health Association sat in the gallery behind her, Coleman shared some of the frustrations her family and the owners of the other trailer have experienced since they were evacuated on Sept. 29.
“It has been a very tough situation for the last two months,” she said. “I have begun a timeline of meetings and phone calls and it’s four pages long now. I’m honestly kind of sick of looking at it because I’m sick of the situation.”
With the emergency support that has provided accommodation and food vouchers slated to stop after Dec. 7, Coleman said the two families will be homeless if something isn’t done.
She said she still has mortgage payments on her trailer and cannot afford to rent in the present market of Williams Lake.
“We’ve felt lost and hopeless,” Coleman said of waiting for a geotech assessment and waiting to see if the provincial government might help with the cost of moving the trailers, which was initially estimated to cost $10,000 to $15,000 for each.
She also said they had very little direction on how to move forward, and experienced miscommunication and no communication from the city.
At one point while the city was repairing the city’s water main at the site, there was a huge hole dug near the trailer and she said that prevented them from moving the homes.
Responding, the city’s fire chief Erick Peterson said he was sorry that Coleman felt miscommunicated with and sorry she was disappointed with the city.
“That has never been our intention,” said. “I assure you I’ve done absolutely everything possible.”
Peterson said one of the problems was the city had tried to get the province to pay for moving the trailers, but when the reply came back about a week later from the provincial government, it was ‘no, absolutely not because that would set a precedent.’
Peterson said the city’s planning department met with the owner of Green Acres and asked them to provide a land survey outlining the property lines so the city can issue a variance for the two trailers to be moved forward.
Originally the city was looking at trying to move the trailers to another location, which was why the cost was initially higher than the $2,100 each that it will cost to use a crane to move them forward the eight and five metres.
On the morning of Wednesday, Nov. 24, morning Coleman said it felt good to be heard and also have the support of her coworkers at the Tuesday night meeting.
She also said she was ‘beyond grateful,’ for the generosity of Nelson and Cobb to personally offer financial help.
“I think it is nice to have an appointed person to oversee things,” she said of the fact the city’s CAO would be working with the trailer owners. “When you have so many people in a situation like this, things get misconstrued and there is miscommunication.”