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This article was published 8/3/2019 (225 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Residents of Sprucewood Mobile Home Park dealing with sewage backup for a month say they still haven’t been told when the issue will be resolved.
It was in early February when Jami Neeve, a homeowner in Sprucewood Mobile Home Park, said they first noticed something wasn’t right.
"My partner said ‘Hey, we have a problem, there’s sewage in the bathtub,’" Neeve said. "He sent me pictures, and the tub and the toilet were filled to the top with raw sewage.’"
The problem has yet to be fixed, she said, and they haven’t been given a timeline of when it will be.
The park is managed by Multiplex Property Management, a Brandon-based company. Sprucewood Mobile Home Park — Lot 65 in the RM of Cornwallis — is owned by 4261135 Manitoba Ltd., according to an RM of Cornwallis map and confirmed by the municipality.
Government of Manitoba files confirm this numbered company is owned by Trevor Edmunds and Nicoleen Maduke.
Court documents filed in civil court in Brandon also confirm 4261135 Manitoba Ltd. is owned by Edmunds and Maduke.
According to court documents filed in civil court in Brandon, Multiplex Property Management was appointed as manager of the property in May, to exercise control over the collection of all revenues and rents and to pay bills and disbursements on the owners’ behalf. Maduke and Edmunds were entitled to request and receive monthly reports from Multiplex.
When reached for comment, a spokesperson with the management company said there isn’t enough money to rectify the situation.
"There’s no funds in the account and the owners don’t want to put any more in to address this issue," said Kit Harrison, owner of Multiplex. "So we have no other alternative but to advise the people who are affected to find other accommodations until we review this in the summer. We are trying to do the best we can to accommodate those in the park, (but) we’re not an ATM, we don’t have endless funds."
There are seven trailers affected, he said, but without monetary contribution from the owners, their hands are tied.
It was the owner’s responsibility to make sure the sewer line was in working order, he said, and they were negligent in keeping up their end of the bargain.
The mobile home park’s co-owner, Edmunds, declined to speak to The Sun on the record. Edmunds also called The Sun Wednesday evening claiming there was a publication ban on the court documents that barred the newspaper from printing his name. The Sun confirmed through the courts the following morning there was no such ban.
Fellow co-owner Maduke did not respond to an inquiry sent by email.
According to the Residential Tenancies Act "Obligation to Repair" section, it is the landlord’s responsibility to keep things in working order.
"During a tenancy, a landlord shall provide and maintain the rental unit and the residential complex; and the services and facilities expressly or impliedly promised by the landlord, whether or not included in a written tenancy agreement; in a good state of repair, fit for habitation and in a state that complies with health, building and maintenance and occupancy standards required by law."
"Residential complex" is defined in the act as including mobile home parks and "all common areas and services and facilities available for the use of residents of the building or buildings or park."
There are three separate service lines for the park, Harrison said, and one of them is frozen solid, which is causing the tenants issues.
Because the line isn’t far enough under the ground, even if they thawed it today he said it would be frozen tomorrow.
"It’s a catch-22," he said.
In the meantime, residents of the park have been living in unsanitary conditions. Tenant Jennifer Pohl told The Sun said that the problem got worse when she tried to do the laundry.
"My tub, you would watch it fill up it was filling up so fast," Pohl said. "I’ve never seen water come through a drain that fast. It made me think my tub was going to overflow."
She was dying her hair one evening when she said she made the mistake of flushing the toilet, and she saw it start to come up again.
"Then I thought ‘Great, I have to wash this hair dye out,’ so then I’m washing the hair dye out on top of everyone’s human fecal matter," she said.
There were maybe two or three days where she was able to do dishes last month, she said.
Luckily, she has been offered alternate accommodations in a vacated trailer across the street, she said, and was in the process of moving everything out on Monday. However, some tenants were still living in affected trailers.
The future for those trailers is uncertain, Harrison said. They’ll have to wait until summer to see if they should keep the lots open or close them permanently.
According to a emailed statement sent to The Sun by a government spokesperson, "The province confirms health hazard orders have been issued regarding water and sewer issues at Spruce Woods Mobile Home Park. At this moment, the timing of necessary repairs are subject to issues with freezing and reports that suggest that restoration of full services may not be possible until spring. The parties have seven days to appeal the orders to Court of Queen’s Bench, and appeals would be reviewed in consultation with Manitoba Justice."
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