EMC hasn’t been done much of anything on Bells Corners since Rick’s Lloyd Francis Boulevard fiasco, but Metroland veteran journalist Nevil Hunt of OttawaThisWeek has done a good job lately, with stories on Bell High School’s 50th reunion, Elizabeth May’s visit to Bells Corners for the Ecofair and the push to cleanse Bells Corners of trailer park residents.
Trailer park residents shocked by termination notices
Bells Corners tenants must buy insurance: owner
The owner of a Bells Corners trailer park has sent up to 42 early termination notices to tenants.
Parkbridge Lifestyle Communities owns the Bellwood Estates trailer park and rents spaces to about 250 mobile home owners.
The termination notices all appear to be directed to trailer owners who use oil to heat their trailer homes. The landlord says all tenants must show proof of insurance covering the cost of cleaning up an oil leak from their oil holding tanks.
The termination notices were delivered in late October, and those provided to Ottawa This Week by tenants say the trailer owners “must move out” by Nov. 15. The documents say the tenant has “substantially interfered with…a lawful right, privilege or interest of the landlord.”
While Parkbridge may have intended the notices for trailer owners who have oil tanks, some appear to have been sent in error. One tenant – who asked not to be identified – said a termination notice was sent to a tenant whose trailer has never had oil heat, and is heated by electricity only.
“She cried like a baby,” the unidentified tenant said of the recipient of the termination.
He added that the lady told to move out was scheduled for surgery in mid-November and “had no idea what to do,” about the mistaken termination notice.
Christine Poirier, Parkbridge’s regional manager in charge of Bellwood, said the number of termination notices was less than 42, but wouldn’t provide a specific number or the reason for sending them.
“It’s not something Parkbridge wants,” Poirier said, adding residents had a year’s notice and two prior written notices in relation to a common issue.
Poirier called termination notices “a warning,” adding it is still possible to for residents to fix the problem and stay as tenants.
Parkbridge chief operating officer Bill Wells later confirmed the notices were sent out to people with oil tanks and no proof of insurance. He said the lease agreements signed by tenants make it clear they must prove they carry insurance in case of an oil leak. He also confirmed that Bellwood residents who received the forms can still conform and remain on their lots.
“I’m aware of two oil leaks at Bellwood,” Wells said from his office in Wasaga Beach, Ont. “(The tenants’) insurance paid for those, although one of the cleanups took almost a year.”
He added that cleaning up a spill can cost more than $300,000.
Wells estimated there are still 10 to 20 Bellwood residents who have not provided proof of insurance to Parkbridge. Wells said it’s unusual for the company to send out so many termination notices, in part because most mobile home owners use natural gas or propane.
He said the best-case scenario is if the owners convert from oil to gas or propane, but if people choose to stick with their oil furnace, they must show proof that they are covered in the event of an oil leak in the park.
The bill for cleaning up a spill “could cost them everything they own,” he said.
A Bellwood resident told Ottawa This Week that converting from oil to gas or propane costs about $4,000.