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

Environment Canada has issued a snow warning for the Kootenays on Friday. File photo
Environment Canada issues snow warning for Friday

Two-to-10 centimetres is expected to fall

Brody Peterson told The Gazette he intends to dispute tickets issued by Grand Forks RCMP at his backyard “house warming” Saturday, Oct. 10. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Homeowner intends to dispute COVID tickets after backyard party near Danville crossing .

Brody Peterson said bands that played at his home shut down before the 11 o’clock cut off

A glimpse of some of the 480 (approx) cars written off as a result of the acid spills along the Trail highway in 2018. Photo: Trail Times
Trail Ford dealer’s frustration grows with ICBC

Trail AM Ford owner Dan Ashman says he just wants fair compensation from ICBC

The fire department will train five more members in the coming months. Photo: Ootischenia Fire Department
New faces coming to the Ootischenia Fire Department

The department has already received numerous firefighting applications

sign
Expect traffic delays Thursday as city works on smoothing Columbia Avenue railroad crossing

The Columbia Ave. and 17th Street railroad crossing has frustrated drivers for quite some time

FILE – People wait in line at a COVID-19 testing facility in Burnaby, B.C., on Thursday, August 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
167 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death recorded as B.C. enters 2nd wave

Three new healthcare outbreaks also announced

Rio Tinto Alcan’s aluminum smelter at Kitimat competes against producers in the Middle East and Russia that have no carbon tax. (Rio Tinto)
B.C. carbon tax highest in Canada, export industries unprotected

B.C. NDP, B.C. Liberals say they’re looking at exemptions

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

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

(Pixabay)
Vancouver teacher suspended after swearing, touching students and complimenting underwear

McCabe touched students, including rubbing their backs and necks, touching their hair and hugging them

Jack Vellutini, 100, is still making sweet music. Photo: Submitted
Music stirs memories as Trail serenader nears 101st birthday

Jack Vellutini gave his brass instruments to Trail up-and-comers so the legacy of music can live on

BC ELECTION
B.C. political leaders reflect on rural health care as election looms

NDP leader John Horgan, BC Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson talk health care priorities in the Kootenays

Mail-in ballot from Elections BC (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)
At least 26% of eligible voters have already cast their ballot, Elections BC says

Voters can cast a ballot until 8 p.m PST on Election Day

A 2018 decision to fly a rainbow flag ended up costing the City of Langley $62,000 in legal fees (Langley Advance Times file)
Human rights win in rainbow flag fight cost B.C. city $62,000

“Lengthy and involved” process provoked by complaint

Most Read