The former owner of River Valley Park Inc. had a very bad day on August 24th, 2018. After being found guilty under the Environmental Protection Act, (Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks) as well as the Ontario Resources Water Act, Mr. Harjeet Singh Dusanjh was ordered to pay fines totally $71,250.00. The provincial court in Sault Ste. Marie was where the case was heard.
The Environmental Protection Act is the primary pollution control legislation in Ontario and can be used interchangeably with the Water Resources Act. The legislation prohibits discharge of any contaminants in to the environment that cause or are likely to cause adverse effects. Amounts of approved contaminants must not exceed limits prescribed by the regulations. The Act also requires that spills of pollutants are reported and cleaned up promptly. The Environmental Protection Act also has the authority to establish liability on the party at fault. One section of the Act imposes a duty on corporate officers and directors to take all reasonable care to prevent the corporation from causing or permitting unlawful discharges of contaminants into the natural environment.
Mr. H. Dusanjh received a total fine of $65,000 for violations of the Environmental Protection Act, with dates of offences listed as occurring between December 21, 2015 and February 17, 2017.
The breakdown of fines is thusly – River Valley Park Inc. was found guilty of one violation under the Environmental Protection Act, was fined $60,000 plus a Victim Fine Surcharge of $15,000. On the same date River Valley Park Inc., was also found guilty of two violations under the Ontario Water Resources Act, was fined $5,000 plus a Victim Fine Surcharge of $1,250.
The Ontario Resources Water Act violations and subsequent conviction for River Valley Park Inc., Harjeet Singh Dusanjh, relate to failing to notify the Ministry (Environment, Conservation and Parks) of sewage spills from a failing septic system, and for failing to comply with ministry orders to develop written procedures for operation of the domestic sewage system, failing to provide copies of a service agreement with an approved Waste Management System – Hauled Sewage, failing to provide compliance updates to the provincial officer, and failure to submit a completed environmental compliance approval application.
The violations occurred between December 21, 2015 and February 17, 2017
“The incident was referred to the ministry’s Investigations and Enforcement Branch resulting in charges being laid and convictions in court.” said Lindsay Davidson, Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks in an email to Superior Media.
The Ontario Water Resources Act focuses on both groundwater and surface water throughout the province. The Water Resources Act regulates sewage disposal and “sewage works” and prohibits the discharge of polluting materials that may impair water quality. Permits to take more than 50,000 liters of water per day from ground or surface water sources are also regulated under the Water Resources Act. The Water Resources Act regulates well construction, operation and abandonment in addition to the approval, construction and operation of “water works”.
River Valley Park Inc. was given one year to pay all fine amounts, with the option to apply for an extension of time to pay. In addition, Mr. Harjeet Singh Dusanjh was convicted of two violations under the Ontario Resources Water Act, and received a suspended sentence on both counts.
Background on the whole mess.
- River Valley Park Inc. owns/operates a residential mobile home park located in the District of Algoma.
- At the time of the offences, Mr. Harjeet Singh Dusanjh was a director, and the president of the company.
- The site is serviced by a sewage system that is linked to a subsurface sewage treatment system.
- In August 2014, a pro-active sewage system inspection was conducted at the site, Ministry orders were issued to the company in September 2014 and October 2015 requiring that actions be taken to address sewage problems at the site. The company did not comply with those orders
- In July and December 2015, and again in March 2016, complaints were received by the ministry that the sewage system was overflowing to the ground surface.
- In December 2015, the ministry issued two additional orders requiring that specific measures to be taken to address the sewage problems at the site and to submit a completed environmental approval application. The owner did not comply with these orders and the discharge of sewage to ground surface persisted.
The stress of living at River Valley Park has taken its toll on pretty much everyone. Some of the homeowners recently banded together to get the pump house up and running again when a switch was blown to the pump feeding water to the park. The homeowners have been without water for several days – for a second time in less than two months. The first power outage was on July 22nd, 2018.
Speculation as to the cause of the most recent power shut off to the pump house lies potentially in an extension cord laying exposed across the main roadway at River Valley Park in the lower portion of the community. The cord in question is feeding power to people in two or three separate mobile homes, as well as a 5th wheel trailer in one of the yards. Superior Media was told by sources who wish to remain anonymous that at least one of the mobile homes where power is being fed via the power cord are not even registered homeowners with River Valley Park Inc.
“They are essentially squatting there. They moved in sometime around the July long weekend. The 5th wheel trailer arrived at the same time on a transport style tow truck. The tow truck was probably not even supposed to be on the roads in RVP as there is a one ton load maximum allowance for RVP. I presume someone abandoned their mobile home and these people just moved on in.” said a homeowner who asked to have name withheld.
“The power to the water, pump house, had been shut off due to a power outage at one of the main inlets, which also left approx 5 homeowners without power and all of the homeowners without water for 48hrs. The (RVP) owners abandoned the homeowners telling one that they have no money to pay for repairs and to go bankrupt. He had no concern or empathy whatsoever. Some of the tenants rallied together to repair the problem and everything is working as before.” said one of the homeowners.
“Not one time – not even one time has MPP Ross Romano or MP Terry Sheehan ever been here. To see what we are dealing with. Yes – Michael Mantha (MPP) has been here many times, but what can he do at this point – he’s in the official opposition. We need somebody in government to get out here and (expletive) intervene in this mess.”
“Yes – we are in Aweres unorganized township but surely to God someone can intervene to save us all from losing everything. I still have a mortgage on this place – what in the hell am I supposed to do? I have no money to organize first and last months rent somewhere – This is my home and I’m staying put.”
With the current owner, Mr. Jasbir Dusanjh all but giving up on maintaining the park, homeowners truly are being left to their own devices at the mobile home community in Aweres township. To this day, Mr. Dusanjh has not filed the proper paperwork to legally evict anyone at RVP. The registered letters he sent with the October 30th deadline aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on.
Mr. Dusanjh has yet to file N13 forms for each homeowner at RVP, which are required by the province of Ontario.
Under the Landlord Tenant Act there can be up to 12 months notification given to each of the homeowners upon an eviction notice.
Further to the provisions made with respect to Mobile Home Park, each homeowner should be given a separate N13 Form at roughly a total cost of $6,000 to be paid by RVP Inc. and registered with the province.
Under The Ontario Residential Tenancies Act, landlords are responsible for maintaining a residential complex (such as a mobile home park) in a good state of repair and fit for habitation, and for complying with health, safety, housing and maintenance standards. Tenants who believe that the landlord has breached their responsibilities under the RTA can apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board for a remedy. This could include applying for compensation for costs incurred as a result of the landlord failing to comply with maintenance responsibilities, such as relocation costs.
In fact, in May, 2018, River Valley Park Inc. was ordered by the Province to undertake badly needed repairs to the roads. The documentation submitted lists Mr. Harjeet Dusanjh as the owner of RVP.
Superior Media was also told by several homeowners that Beaumont Water testers have not been there for about 2 months. Superior Media has not yet confirmed this.