Spardell Mobile Home owner fined, given extension as 5-year water pipe debacle continues

Spardell Mobile Home owner fined, given extension as 5-year water pipe debacle continues

Interior Health has given Rick Pater an extra month to fix the pipes at Spardell Mobile Home park

The boil water advisory for half of Spardell Mobile Home Park is set to stay for the time being.

The deadline for owner Rick Pater to fix leaky and insufficient water lines has come and gone, and the park is still not in compliance with Interior Health (IH) orders that were given years ago.

Pater, who is a prominent Sparwood businessman and real estate agent, had been given five years by IH to bring the pipes at the Spardell Mobile Home park up to code, but residents say he failed to do the work, and up to half the park remains on a boil water advisory that has been in place since at least 2015.

The deadline to upgrade the pipes to standard pressure levels was Sept. 30.

An inspector from Interior Health visited the park on Oct. 6 “and determined the operator remains out of compliance with the order to upgrade the water distribution system so it operates at an acceptable pressure,” said a health authority spokesperson.

Pater was fined $1,150, and the health agency has now given him until Nov. 6 to make the upgrades “or further action will be taken.”

The water pipes are unable to hold pressure which, according to IH, means there is a risk of contamination to the water, hence the boil-water notice. The pipes often break, leaving tenants without running water at all.

Pater, who had previously told The Free Press that it was too expensive to fix the piping, said that his engineers had submitted repair plans this week.

Pater pointed a finger at government bureaucracy for causing delays.

“It’s been a bit of a bureaucratic nightmare,” he said, adding that pipe upgrades could completed within the new deadline “depending on how quickly we get approval.”

He also blamed the government for making it difficult to pass along the cost of replacing the pipes, saying he had spent $100,000 already and would need to spend another $50,000-$60,000.

“I would have replaced all the water lines by now if the government hadn’t removed the old guidelines whereby I could pass on the increase on a pro-rated basis over 15 years. But the government took that away, so I am no longer in a position to upgrade or replace the water lines.”

However, residents in the park who have been in contact with The Free Press, said Pater offered excuses, describing instances of being without water for extended periods of time.

One resident, who requested anonymity out of fear of retribution, described Pater as seemingly uncaring.

“I’ve never in my life been treated the way I’ve been treated,” one said. Others have stayed quiet, feeling intimidated.

“We have single parents in the park; we have elderly in the park; we have low-income families in the park. A lot of them are scared to speak up.”

They said they’ve gone without water over half a dozen times for three to five days at a stretch, and all without any communication.

Another resident, who also requested anonymity, said Pater offered no compensation for being without potable water.

“It’s so unbelievably frustrating that this is my home – and I have worked so hard for what I have here – and I have a terrible water supply. I paid decent money. And I am considering relocating due to this issue.

“It just makes me sad that there’s so many others in this park that will not speak up due to fear of being evicted.”

When the question of eviction and fear of speaking out was put to Pater, he said, “Anything I do adheres to the residential tenancy act,” adding that anyone could speak “as long as their concerns are legitimate.”

On the legitimacy of tenants’ concerns about the safety of the water, Pater said it was fine, while admitting the pipes were older.

“I’ve never had a bacterial issue with the water. So is it healthy to drink? I would drink it, absolutely. Can I remove the boil water advisory? Not according to the rules.”

READ MORE: Spardell Trailer Park residents left without running water for three days



scott.tibballs@thefreepress.ca
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Drinking water

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A dose of COVID-19 vaccine is prepared at a vaccination clinic in Montreal’s Olympic Stadium on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
39 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health region

The total number of cases in the region since the pandemic began is now at 7,334

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
Suspect arrested after armed robbery in downtown Castlegar

Victim was allegedly threatened with knife and bear spray

The Skinny Genes Foundation is raising awareness and funds for a rare genetic disorder that claimed both his father and uncle.
NHL players, local businesses help Kootenay man raise funds and awareness for rare genetic disease

Signed NHL jerseys and local business donations up for auction in Skinny Genes Foundation fundraiser

(file photo)
Nomination packages available for Castlegar byelection

The mayor’s seat and one council seat will be on the ballot

Columbia Avenue Redevelopment — Phase 2 will begin in February. Image: City of Castlegar
Construction on the Columbia Avenue Redevelopment Project beginning March 1

Crews will be clearing brush and trees and removing asphalt

Dr. Bonnie Henry leaves the podium after talking about the next steps in B.C.’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
COVID: 589 new cases in B.C., and 7 new deaths

No new outbreaks being reported Feb. 26

Staff from the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, passersby, RCMP and Nanaimo Fire Rescue carried a sick 300-kilogram steller sea lion up the steep bluff at Invermere Beach in north Nanaimo in an attempt to save the animal’s life Thursday. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Rescue Centre)
300-kilogram sea lion muscled up from B.C. beach in rescue attempt

Animal dies despite efforts of Nanaimo marine mammal rescue team, emergency personnel and bystanders

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Gina Adams as she works on her latest piece titled ‘Undying Love’. (Submitted photo)
‘Toothless’ the kitty inspires B.C. wood carver to break out the chainsaw

Inspired by plight of a toothless cat, Gina Adams offers proceeds from her artwork to help animals

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson presents bill to delay B.C.’s budget as late as April 30, and allow further spending before that, B.C. legislature, Dec. 8, 2020. (Hansard TV)
How big is B.C.’s COVID-19 deficit? We’ll find out April 20

More borrowing expected as pandemic enters second year

The first of 11 Dash 8 Q400 aircraft's have arrived in Abbotsford. Conair Group Inc. will soon transform them into firefighting airtankers. (Submitted)
Abbotsford’s Conair begins airtanker transformation

Aerial firefighting company creating Q400AT airtanker in advance of local forest fire season

Arrow Lakes Caribou Society said the new caribou pen near the Nakusp Hotsprings is close to completion. (Submitted)
Maternity caribou pen near Nakusp inches closer to fruition

While Nakusp recently approved the project’s lease, caribou captures are delayed due to COVID-19

The Canada Revenue Agency says there were 32 tax fraud convictions across the country between April 2019 and March 2020. (Pixabay)
Vancouver man sentenced to 29 months, fined $645K for tax evasion, forgery

Michael Sholz reportedly forged documents to support ineligible tax credits linked to homeownership

Then-Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson looks on as MLA Shirley Bond answers questions during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria. (Chad Hipolito / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
B.C. Liberal party to choose next leader in February 2022

Candidates have until Nov. 30 to declare whether they are running

Most Read