Service Alberta Minister Nate Glubish visited the town of Hinton on Aug. 28 to hear what residents had to say about their experience living in local mobile home parks.
Glubish deemed the meeting productive, with a great turnout and stated that he received passionate feedback from residents.
This visit is part of his Alberta wide tour to address three main issues, one being the Mobile Home Sites Tenancies Act (MHSTA).
In speaking to the media following the meeting, Glubish stated that the biggest issue brought up by residents was regarding enforcement of the legislation in mobile home parks.
“There’s a lot of frustration over what is fair treatment between the landlord and the tennant. Frustration over what they do when there’s a dispute, and that’s something we’re going to figure out what makes sense to ensure there is fair treatment,” he said. “What are the rules, who’s responsible for the rules, and are those rules being enforced properly?”
Going forward, Glubish said they will look at the legislation and rules at all levels of government that apply to mobile home residents in order to find the next steps.
“It’s premature for me to speculate on any changes that we might make. Right now we’re on an information gathering exercise and that’s why this tour is so important across the entire province and meet with as many folks as possible. It’s a lot of information to gather, stay tuned and we will have more to say on this in the months to come,” he said.
With four months into a new government and as a new minister, Glubish hopes that residents feel the government is listening to their concerns, but some residents outside of the meeting didn’t speak positively about what just happened inside.
“The town isn’t doing anything, nothing. We pay our taxes, and there’s garbage left sitting there,” said mobile home park resident, Tammy Walker.
She added that fire hydrants are non-existent, police don’t enforce the law within the park, and that a cap needs to be put on the rent until something gets done.
In her opinion, the town needs to be held accountable.
Another local mobile home resident, Calvin Labiuk, told the Voice that nothing would change until there is some accountability and hopes for change in the management of infrastructure.
Yellowhead MLA, Martin Long, stated that the biggest take-away for him was that the deeply concerning stories people shared were similar to stories he has heard since the beginning of his role in other communities.
“There were a number of concerning things discussed from drainage issues to plumbing backups – the most concerning, I think is that many of the residents feel as though no one is doing anything to help,” he said.
The next step for him is to work with various ministers towards solutions and he encourages people to continue reaching out.
According to Glubish, this is the first time in over five years that a minister of service Alberta has left Edmonton to go tour across Alberta and listen to the challenges faced by rural residents.
“I can tell you that this is how I want to do business, I want to go out and talk to albertans about the issues that matter to them and that are relevant to my portfolio so we can make decisions that bring about improvements for all Albertans,” said Glubish.
Coun. JoAnn Race announced the meeting with Mr. Glubish at a regular council meeting on Aug. 20. The Hinton Voice was officially invited by press secretary Tricia Velthuizen to speak with Mr. Glubish after the meeting on Aug. 28, but that the meeting itself was not open to the public.
“We’ve been working collaboratively with local MLAs to set up the meetings and determine who needs to be at the table for a first meeting,” read the email.
A few invited residents extended that invite to others as well as to The Voice staff, which created a great turnout for the meeting.
Velthuizen later explained that media was not invited to the actual meeting as they didn’t want to hinder or discourage residents to speak up.