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.
Sincerely, The Homeowners of River Valley Park.