The proposed expansion of a Rivergrove trailer park is likely to draw significant opposition when a community committee votes on rezoning next week.
Planning documents submitted to the city show Guido Cerasani, who owns the Northgate Trailer Park on the 2600 block of Main Street, plans to erect 81 trailers, which would more than double the number of mobile homes on the property to 157.
Sue Green said she is one of many residents in the area who are opposed to the expansion and plan to go to city hall Tuesday to try to stop the rezoning.
"We’re hoping to have everybody from the neighbourhood there. We think there’s going to be a large crowd since there are a lot of people concerned. We hope the city won’t let this happen," Greene said.
"A year ago, I had booked the Red River Community Centre. I sent an email to Guido to sit and talk with us as a community and answer our questions and concerns. He said he didn’t have to talk to anyone. He declined to meet with us."
While a significant chunk of the 18-acre property has long been zoned for use as a residential mobile home park, the back section that extends to the Red River — and is needed for the expansion — is zoned for single-family use.
In a report to be tabled at Tuesday’s meeting of the East Kildonan-Transcona community committee, city bureaucrats recommend the rezoning be approved.
Cerasani said he believes opposition is largely being fuelled by misinformation about the development and a stigma about trailer parks.
"This is going to be a huge win for the neighbourhood. Everybody is entitled to their opinion, and with any type of development, you’re always going to have your naysayers. You’re always going to have people trying to stir the pot," Cerasani said.
"I think a lot of the stigma is the old trailer park stigma. They have to get over that. It’s not a trailer park anymore. It’s a mobile home park or a manufactured home park. I think if they get themselves educated, they’ll be pleasantly surprised."
He said he plans to rebrand the Northgate Trailer Park as Rivergrove Mobile Home Estates.
Area residents who spoke to the Free Press also expressed concern about a large retaining wall — which is 270 metres long, a metre wide and about 3.5 metres tall — that runs between the trailer park and the Rivergrove neighbourhood.
Stacey, who lives in the neighbourhood but asked that her last name not be published, said she’s concerned the wall, which is constructed of limestone and wiring, is an eyesore that will reduce property values.
"It’s basically big chunks of rock and it’s encased in chicken wire. We’re calling it the Trump wall. With this thing here, I’m going to be losing money on my house right away," Stacey said.
Cerasani said the wall had to be built because the city required the expansion to be raised to protect it from river flooding. He said he also plans to build a fence along the wall to address safety concerns and will also plant trees and shrubbery next to it.
"Once all of the greenery is in there, no one will even know that we’re here," Cerasani said. He also said 50 per cent of the new lots have been spoken for and he has a list of 1,000 more people who are interested in purchasing a unit.
Ryan Thorpe likes the pace of daily news, the feeling of a broadsheet in his hands and the stress of never-ending deadlines hanging over his head.
Updated on Friday, June 14, 2019 at 6:28 AM CDT: Corrects typo