BRUCE BUMSTEAD/BRANDON SUN
Kingsway Trailer Kort resident Colleen Weisbrodt shows a letter she read to council during Lisa Halter’s presentation on Monday evening at city hall. An informal meeting was held prior to Monday’s city council meeting for the public to voice their concerns over the evictions of residents from Kingsway Trailer Kort.
One evicted Kingsway Trailer Kort resident says she has no plans of leaving and will chain herself to her home if she is forced to.
Colleen Weisbrodt was one of eight Kingsway residents who spoke to Brandon City Council in a special informal meeting Monday night.
Weisbrodt said "bullying tactics" have been used in the eviction of some 140 people.
"I will be both embarrassed and ashamed if our city condones this type of behaviour," she said. Roughly 20 people came to the meeting, held prior to the regular city council meeting. It was held for residents to speak about their tenancy being terminated.
"City council and the City of Brandon has no jurisdiction in regard to the termination of your tenancy, but is prepared to allow you an opportunity to voice your concerns and ask questions," stated the public notice to Kingsway residents.
Residents received eviction notices from Brandon Evergreen Developments last summer that said they have to find a new place to live in 2014 after a Vancouver-based developer announced plans to build four apartment buildings and a number of townhouses on the land.
Elizabeth Bhugwandeen said residents have been "physically exhausted, emotionally shattered … and downright terrified" when dealing with the eviction and uncertain future.
"Please consider these people … these are our homes, they are affordable housing," she said. "Many within our community will be left homeless."
Another speaker told council that in a city with a "massive shortage" of affordable housing, getting rid of a trailer park simply does not make sense.
"This type of a trailer court is something that will never be replaced," Jim Affleck said. "If you allow this rezoning to go through you’re going to put 50 homes out of business that’ll never be replaced."
Weisbrodt said she hopes the passionate pleas from Kingsway residents sent a clear message to council.
"It’s imperative that they do not rezone the land, they leave it as commercial, they honour the grandfathering of our homes," she said. "Let them build residential somewhere else. We have affordable homes we can all live in, so why kick us out?"
A bylaw to rezone the land where Kingsway Kort is located (1640 Sycamore Drive and 21 Willowcrest Ave.) from commercial arterial zone to residential high density multiple family zone was on the city council agenda for second reading.
Brandon Planning Commission recently held a public hearing regarding Kingsway Kort, which brought out several people in opposition.
Under the Planning Act, if there has been opposition voiced, then city council can only go so far as second reading on the rezoning bylaw.
"(Council) must send a notice to those original objectors, giving them a right to file a further objection but this time with council," said city clerk Con Arvisais.
By press time, the Kingsway rezoning bylaw had not been addressed. Arvisais said one choice council had was to pass a motion that no further readings be given to this bylaw, which would effectively reject the application to rezone.
If council does give the bylaw a second reading, a public hearing on the subject could be held as early as Jan. 6.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition December 3, 2013