TIM SMITH/BRANDON SUN
Aaron Dubois of Brandon Evergreen Developments Ltd. addresses Brandon City Council regarding Kingsway Trailer Kort during an informal session on Monday evening.
Facing glares from a handful of residents, Kingsway Trailer Kort developer Aaron Dubois appeared in front of city council yesterday to clear the air.
"We’re coming into a city where the last thing we want to do is come in and look like we’re strong-arming people," Dubois said.
The developer, representing Brandon Evergreen Developments, requested the chance to speak to council to address the termination of tenancy affecting Kingsway Kort residents. He also addressed residents claims of using "bullying tactics."
"Their interpretation of us bullying them is providing them with compensation packages," he said. "We’re bullying them by offering them early notice of the park closing and offering them multiple compensation packages."
Dubois argues that most trailers in Kingsway Kort (1640 Sycamore Drive and 21 Willowcrest Ave.) are in a "bad state of repair" and the site requires maintenance and is no longer self-sufficient.
Last summer, the Vancouver-based developer announced plans to build four apartment buildings and a number of townhouses on the land. Dubois said he has developed "hundreds and hundreds" of units in Vancouver and these new complexes will bring "something new to Brandon that’s never been done before."
"The standard of living in Vancouver is somewhat higher than here and we’re excited to bring that standard."
Mayor Shari Decter Hirst called an informal session of city council to be held for 45 minutes prior to council’s regular scheduled meeting giving councillors an opportunity to ask questions.
Councillors questioned Dubois about the company’s business plan, its treatment of Kingsway residents as well as the multiple compensation packages being offered and the eviction notice process.
Out of the 73 tenants, 60 have already agreed to a compensation package, Dubois said, adding it’s the "best possible" scenario for tenants.
"I actually had tenants who accepted the compensation package say they would talk in favour of us."
Tenants have been offered two compensation packages. Both packages included $500 for moving expenses.
When asked why 13 residents had yet to accept one of the packages, Dubois said it could be that they are waiting for the eviction notice to be made final by the province’s Residential Tenancies Branch.
RTB still needs to deem the eviction notice valid but Brandon Evergreen Developments issued eviction notices last summer. The notice informed residents they would have until Dec. 31, 2014 to find a new place to live.
Among those in attendance, one Kingsway resident said he didn’t find the informal meeting useful.
"It’s amazing how someone can speak so long without saying anything," said Quinn Halter, who currently lives in a home in Kingsway Kort.
"He’s just making it sound one way outwardly so people will change their perceptions of what’s really going on."
Halter added he will be the "last Kingsway resident" to leave.
At an earlier informal council meeting held this month, roughly 20 residents were in attendance to speak about their tenancy being terminated.
Dubois declined an interview with media following his presentation to city council.
He has also declined previous interview requests from the Sun.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition December 17, 2013