Village of Belcarra hopes to offload mouldy trailer at public auction

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The Village of Belcarra is set to avoid liability by putting its 12-year-old travel trailer on the auction block.

The municipality bought the 2011 Coachmen Catalina in 2015 for $14,199, according to a staff report. The 20-foot trailer was used as a multipurpose space (office, lunch room and shelter) at the village’s Waste and Recycle Depot.

The trailer was taken out of service last fall for further testing after mould was smelled.

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Test results confirmed mould in the trailer and it was recommended that staff not use the Coachmen Catalina anymore, said Stewart Novak, public works and emergency preparedness coordinator for the village of Belcarra, at a village council meeting on Feb. 6.

“The trailer was becoming a workplace safety issue,” he said. “The cost of remediation outweighed the value of the trailer.”

Because of the mould, the village is looking to dispose of the trailer by public auction. Rather than taking the trailer to the dump or scrapyard, the policy allows the CAO and the Superintendent of Public Works to choose to dispose of unrequired village assets “by way of sale at a public auction, sale by public offer, trade in allowance, by donation to a non-profit organization, or by alternate method at the discretion of the CAO.”

Public auction was viewed as the best option.

“We want to make sure the municipality is detached from it, because there is a problem, issue that it has,” Novak said. “So we see it as the best way to dispose of it.”

Coun. Carolina Clark questioned why the trailer couldn’t be sold publicly on a platform like Craiglist.

“Perhaps we’ll make a few extra bucks by selling it instead,” she said.

It comes down to liability, said Mayor Jamie Ross.

“There is mould in there so part of our ability to not only detach, but be very clear in a public auction about what the liability is. I don’t spend a lot of time on Craigslist, but if you put it up on Craigslist, and you’ve got someone who’s 21 years old who wants to go surfing who comes back to you later,” he said. “I think that’s why we’re doing this.”

Novak agreed.

“It’s a matter of detaching the municipality from whoever wants to purchase it,” Novak said. “This way, there’s no favouritism. It’s legally being sold to the public auction, and then literally anybody can buy it from them.”

Village staff are set to work with a local public auction house to list the trailer. Once a date is set, village residents will either be told by email or by a notice in the community newspaper, The Belcarra Barnacle.

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