Garden Village retirement park in Abbotsford to close

Tenants paid out by property company and given until Jan. 15 to vacate.

The elderly residents of Garden Village Mobile Home Park have been given until Jan. 15, 2013 to vacate, as the 55-year-old trailer court is closing.

Garden Village, located at 1881 McCallum Rd. near the Highway 1 overpass, was in the media in March as the 55-and-over residents complained about losing their homes and investments to redevelopment plans for the 13-acre site.

Some seniors had moved there in recent years, purchasing trailers and spending thousands more on their homes, and they feared their funds would essentially be lost.

Many found it difficult to sell their aging mobile homes.

Property owner Karen Matty clarified that although the site has great development potential for commercial/retail properties, there are no firm plans.

Rather, she is closing the site because the aging infrastructure would need to be rebuilt. At the heart of the problem is the original water main.

“For the past year and a half we have been assessing the condition of the infrastructure in our aging park and inspections have confirmed that many of the service lines are rapidly deteriorating,” said a letter to park residents. “There is a great concern that the water main will not last through the winter.”

Park manager Paul Hague told the News the water supply is the prime concern.

“I’ve been battling with it for four years,” he said. “Let’s just say, it’s not what they would build today.”

He said the tenants have been warned for more than 18 months that they should find another place to live. Each has been contacted individually. He has been assisting residents to sell their homes or relocate.

If Matty had a plan before council to redevelop the site, the tenants would require either two years notice or two years worth of pad rent.

This situation, however, is that “we’re shutting down the business,” explained Hague.

Tenancies have been ended by signed mutual agreements, and residents compensated with 24 months worth of pad rent – approximately $12,000 for many residents. In addition, tenants who have sold or moved their mobile homes from the park have been given another $4,000.

However, they are not being given the option of staying for two years with free pad rent.

In March about one-third of the occupants had left, and now only a minority remain.

“Everyone seems really motivated. There are only a few people left,” said Hague.