Letter: Mass Evacuation of 100 Homeowners in River Valley Park – Please Help!


My name is Faith Hackney and I am one of 30-35 homeowners left in River Valley Park in the unorganized township of Aweres.  We are facing evacuation and ultimately, eviction from our homes due to the failing septic system.

There is a lengthy history of this Park, previously known as Shetland Park, with the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change(MOECC) and the Algoma Public Health(APH).

I feel that the previous owners, Engineer, and the MOECC are at fault for the position we are in as there was a sewage leak in the spring of 2014, just prior to the sale of then, Shetland Park, to the new owners, now under the name of River Valley Park.

There were Orders issued by the MOECC for Shetland Park to repair the failed leaching bed under a “like for like” replacement, alleviating the requirement of an Environmental Compliance Approval Application. There is no documentation on file with the MOECC that the repairs were done “like for like” nor was there a re-inspection of the system once said repairs were complete, as per Mr. Ron Dorscht, B.E.S. Supervisor, Sault Ste. Marie Area Office, MOECC.   They were also never required to have a Financial Assurance under the Environmental Protection Act, Ontario Water Resources Act, or Planning Act.

Once re-inspection of the system occurred in August 2014, after new ownership, the MOECC had found that the system had been altered, which had been done by the previous owners, and couldn’t continue to function the way it was.  The MOECC Ordered the new owner to repair or replace the system, which is a lengthy and costly process, in which the previous owners did not have to do.

Throughout this process we have been faced with many unnecessary roadblocks put up, from what I believe, the MOECC, utilizing the APH, in order to exhaust the owners finances and inevitably close the Park.  The MOECC and the APH claim they are looking out for the health of the public which I feel is not their priority, as there were leaks here before new ownership and they weren’t concerned about us then.  They weren’t concerned with the 15 plus years there was a boil water advisory due to the previous owners not fixing the water system.

The new owners were ordered to have an Environmental Capacity Assessment completed, in which they were charged  $10,000 over what the actual cost was, and have been Ordered to give the MOECC approximately $90,000 for a Financial Assurance, which is what is holding up the process of getting the repairs done.

I have been in contact with the SSM Mayor- Christian Provenzano, MPP- Michael Mantha, MP- Ross Romano, Premier Wynne, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Local Services Boards, and every Ministry that I felt would be of assistance with little to no reply and no assistance other than talk.

As it stands the City of Sault Ste. Marie has nothing for the approximate 100 people who are going to be displaced along with our pets, in the coming months.  They have offered us homeless shelters as an interim which means that the 70-80 year old seniors who have invested their life savings into their homes and each other,  will have to be separated, men going to men’s shelter and women going to women’s shelter and our animals will have to go to the local Humane Society.  They have no funding available for first and last months rent and it takes years to get a place through the housing corporation.

I am begging you for your help as we only have a month left.  The homeowners have no where to go and no funds to do so either.

We are trying to raise $30,000 of the Financial Assurance that the MOECC are requiring from the owner.  The owner has been prepared to repair the failed system and has put all steps in place but is not able to start the work until the MOECC has the Financial Assurance.  In the event the MOECC decide to wave the FA then the funds raised will go towards the repairs of the sewage system.


There has to be a better way then having 100 plus people become homeless.

Please help.
Sincerely, The Homeowners of River Valley Park.


  1. right or wrong has nothing to do with all your current situation.. unfortunately, how ever what your going to do to get out of that health hazard is. Dont get me wrong, my heart goes out to al those effected, it just plain sucks, but liability falls on whoever, the fact is, your all in risk of health, your children are at risk and sitting there doing the blame game doesnt fix that. you all need to get out and do what ever it takes to do that. if that means cut your losses then thats what you must do, its never to late to have charges laid and compensation taken care of, so do that after your in a safe environment, I beg you all to get your priorities straight and then go after the blame game, thanks

  2. Here a kicker!!! The previous owner has a sister who is on the Green Party trying to close the park. Coincidence, I think not!!! She obviously knew the situation of the park for many years. If I was a lawyer I would be looking into that also. Also where did the money go for the sale of the park, obviously not the previous owner since he passed away. There is so much info being left out. Very sad to see these family’s which my mother and two sisters who live there plus myself at one point being thrown out with the garbage from a declining trailer park.The park was at one point the cleanest and full with families and children out of all the parks in the area.

  3. This is a sad situation. If there are 30-35 families left then maybe they could chip in a thousand each to raise the $30,000.00 necessary. The owner could then give them a break on their rent until it is paid back.

  4. I agree with anonymous there was a fast one pulled by the people who sold the park and some digging will show that APH had a part in this by conveniently closing their eyes to the infractions until after the sale was done. Why is it that very shortly after the sale APH were on the new owner like flies on sh*t? This is just a little too convenient.
    No one should have to donate anything. The people who sold the park and APH should be sued and pay any and all costs to do with this including an entire new septic system as well as a decent sum of money to every mobile home owner for the stress and inconvenience caused. In the mean time they should be paying to pump the tanks daily if that is what is required until they are found guilty and held accountable to foot the bill for all required repairs.

  5. There were leaks of this septic system well over 20 years ago, it was quite common to see the red light on at the septic field, and I remember hearing that no one in the area was familiar with that system and were not even qualified to diagnose it, service or maintain it. The former owners ‘got away with murder’ selling the park while all the while this system was in violation of the law. They should be hauled into court along with the local health board, the moecc for turning a blind eye to let the sale happen and ordered to pay the entire cost of a new system. Heads need to roll here, this sale was done crookedly and underhandedly. I hope the owner has been pursuing this for the last few months to get some justice.

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