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Brandon Sun - PRINT EDITION

Kingsway Kort clash nears end

We hope that the sad saga of Kingsway Kort is finally drawing to its close.

Now that the residents and the developer have each had an opportunity to speak their piece to city council, the wheels of democracy can continue to turn.

The next step is a public hearing on the rezoning of the trailer court land, which will likely be on Jan. 6. That is the last chance for dedicated residents to stop the land’s designation from changing to residential high-density multiple-family zone, which would accommodate Brandon Evergreen Developments’ plans for a high-end condo-apartment complex on the land.

But Vancouver-based Evergreen has made it clear that the trailer court will close — and all residents forced to leave — whether or not the rezoning passes.

Although some still seem willing to press Evergreen all the way to the last day, it seems clear to us that, one way or the other, the trailer court is finished.

That is a crushing blow to what sounds like was once a tight-knit community.

With a tight housing market in Westman, and near-zero vacancies in other trailer courts, we can’t blame the residents for kicking up a fuss.

But neither can we blame the developer for trying to take a low-density trailer park and turn it into a high-density — and high-profit — development.

In the end, it comes down to who has the right to the land. And although some Kingsway Kort residents may have put down decades worth of roots in the park, it’s the owner who has ultimate say.

With just 10 holdout households reportedly remaining in Kingsway, it’s clear that most residents have accepted that reality, sad though it may make them.

But we still feel that the whole episode could have been better handled right from the start.

Evergreen has consistently declined to give its side of the story to media, and the company has seemed reluctant to respond to the very real concerns of the residents who have the unenviable job of finding a new place to live.

That attitude was in evidence again on Monday, at an informal meeting of city council called at the request of the developer, who broke months of silence. There, their representative suggested to council that the development’s plans were of a better class than this city was used to.

“The standard of living in Vancouver is somewhat higher than here,” developer Aaron Dubois told councillors.

With due respect to Dubois and the city of Vancouver, it’s not in Brandon where the term “Skid Row” originated.

Now, we’re looking very much forward to seeing shovels hit the ground for the proposed developments. Evergreen’s architectural plans, which were presented to council in August, look appropriate for the area, particularly in light of other nearby retail developments that are in the pipeline.

But at first blush, they don’t appear to be, as Dubois suggests, something that’s never before been seen in Brandon.

As the controversy around resident evictions begins to wind down, we expect that hyperbole on both sides will wind down with it.

It is our hope that Evergreen will find fertile territory for this development and for future residential developments.

Goodness knows, this city can use all the housing it can get.

Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition December 18, 2013

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We hope that the sad saga of Kingsway Kort is finally drawing to its close.

Now that the residents and the developer have each had an opportunity to speak their piece to city council, the wheels of democracy can continue to turn.

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We hope that the sad saga of Kingsway Kort is finally drawing to its close.

Now that the residents and the developer have each had an opportunity to speak their piece to city council, the wheels of democracy can continue to turn.

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