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Details of Calgary councillor's secret offer to Midfield residents revealed

Jeromy Farkas wants to give evicted residents of trailer park more compensation

Jeromy Farkas said he wants to get back to talking about issues, instead of focusing on mud slinging.

Helen Pike / Metro Order this photo

Jeromy Farkas said he wants to get back to talking about issues, instead of focusing on mud slinging.

To make things right with Midfield, Coun. Jeromy Farkas will ask councillors to support more cash to cover legal fees and immediate placement in Calgary Housing, Metro has learned.

On Friday, Coun. Jeromy Farkas gathered media to share his plan on how to make things right with Midfield residents, but upon arrival, he informed reporters his motion was being held in confidence and he wasn't at liberty to share it.

"I wish I could tell you more about the details,” he said to reporters. "Part of it is to shed a light on the culture of secrecy that has taken hold of city hall.”

In an email obtained by Metro, the details of his plan were similar to what he was alluding to during the press conference.

Farkas will test council's will to give past and present Midfield residents additional compensation to supplement the current program.

He wants to bring forward an allowance for the buy-out program and legal fee reimbursement for those tenants who took legal action against the city.

For those who may face homelessness, he's asking the city continue to hold, or immediately place tenants into Calgary Housing Company units so no one faces homelessness.

Finally, the councillor wishes to immediately release the city's plans for the parcel where Midfield sat.

Metro contacted Farkas with questions on Sunday. He said he was taking time with family and preparing for Monday's council meeting, so he could not comment.

In 2014 council decided the mobile park needed to be shut down because of safety concerns stemming from the aging infrastructure built underneath the parcel of land.

Residents were given three years' notice and were eligible for up to $10,000 compensation to move or remove the homes, $10,000 in tenant closure payment and up to $500 of legal fee reimbursements according to the city's web page.

The city was challeneged in court on the legality of its eviction, but the court ruled on Dec. 8 it had been a legal eviction.

After the ruling, the city committed to keep assisting residents.

"The city recognizes that this remains a challenging time for the remaining Midfield tenants and will continue to compassionately support these tenants in their efforts to secure new accommodations," read a statment from the city.

The mobile home park is located in Coun. Druh Farrell's ward. She said she doesn't begrudge any member of council wanting to revisit an item and bring a fresh perspective, but added there is much on the file that has already been dealt with.

"Let's help the residents move on," said Farrell. "No resident will be homeless, no resident will be out on the street and continuing that redirect is fear mongering."

In the Friday press conference, Farkas said he hadn't met with any of the Midfield residents, but felt although the City of Calgary was found to be acting legally, that didn't mean what residents were offered and how they were treated was fair.

Farkas held his press conference on Friday at noon, while the Calgary Municipal Land Corporation held its annual shareholder meeting.

Coun. Evan Woolley was critical of the rookie councillor for missing much of that meeting to hold his press conference.

"Showing up an hour late for a shareholder meeting where items of critical importance to his ward were being discussed is not doing his job and not representing his constituents," said Woolley.

The Ward 8 councillor said he had not been approached by Farkas on Midfield.

“Councillor Farkas doesn’t seem to have a very good understanding of the difference between an election campaign and government,” said Woolley.

Farrell was also critical of Farkas' tardiness at the meeting.

"CMLC is responsible for the planning and redevelopment in Victoria Park, which is in Ward 11," she said. "Attending the CMLC shareholder meeting would, to me, be of interest to the ward councillor."

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