Residents of the Crown Villa mobile home park in Vernon, B.C. are worried they might end up losing their homes because of an ongoing wastewater leak.
The park’s owner has been fined over the issue but says she doesn’t have the money to fix the problem and is appealing for help.
The leak from a failed septic system is sending wastewater onto a road in the mobile home park.
“The smell is disgusting. It is almost worse than the sewage plant itself,” said Crown Villa resident Lisa Cantafio.
“It is not great because I take care of kids so we can’t play outside when that smell is as horrible as it is.”
Carolyn Goldstone, the longtime owner of the mobile home park property, agrees the problem needs to be fixed but says she doesn’t have the means to fix the aging, over-taxed system.
“I don’t have the funding to fix something of this magnitude. I’ve supplied very low rent so the people can keep their homes here and I just don’t have the funds to redevelop a whole mobile home park,” said Goldstone.
Residents say, currently, multiple mobile homes share each tank.
Interior Health said it issued an order on Jan. 31 that the failed septic system be repaired.
However, as the wastewater leaked has not been fixed, Goldstone was fined $345 on Wednesday by Interior Health for maintaining a sewage system in a manner that causes a health hazard.
Goldstone said without the funds to fix the problem, she and the mobile home residents are in need of help.
“I don’t have the money so then it is a matter of I need some kind of government funding to put this through,” said Goldstone.
The provincial ministry responsible for housing and the City of Vernon both said they don’t have programs that provide grants for mobile home park owners to do repairs.
“The owner of a manufactured home park, in their capacity as a landlord, must maintain the park in a reasonable state of repair, which includes compliance with health, safety, and housing standards and local by-laws, to ensure the site is suitable for occupancy. There is no current program in place to provide grants or loans to owners of manufactured home parks,” the province said in a statement.
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The City of Vernon said there is also no sanitary sewer infrastructure in that area so it wouldn’t be possible to connect the park to the city’s sewer system.
Cantafio and her partner are now worried they might be forced out of their home and thrown into the area’s challenging housing market.
“This is affordable for us. Going out of this park and trying to find something else is almost mission impossible. We’ve looked,” said Cantafio.
“We don’t want to lose our homes. We want this to be fixed so we can stay.”