Approximately 30 residents attended a meeting, hosted by Algoma Community Legal Clinic (ACLC) on Wednesday evening at The Delta Waterfront. With homelessness in 7 days as a real deadline – residents of River Valley Park were invited to attend a Community Information Session.
Presentations were made by Wendy Bird (ACLC), Kara Flannigan (Algoma Public Health), Jill Hewgill (ACLC); MPP Bud Wildman (Algoma – 1975-1999); Kevin Reid (John Howard Society); Joanne Pearson – Tenant Support/Homelessness Coordinator (DSSMSSAB); and Sherry McCarthy (United Way).
Immediately following the first half of the evening which included panelists taking questions from residents, Algoma Community Legal Clinic invited residents to attend a closed door meeting. The closed session offered residents an opportunity to understand and process where they are – insofar as their legal rights are concerned.
Bud Wildman commended the organization for organizing the Community Information Session, and attended on behalf of MPP Michael Mantha, who was in Manitouwadge, advocating for the hospital in that community.
The former MPP for (then) Algoma Riding, brought an entire history lesson of River Valley Park with him. He’s well acquainted with the issues that now seek to implode the lives of almost 40 people. River Valley Park was called by another name not so long ago – Shetland Park. Today – it is 7 days from a closure order which is to take effect August 31st, 2017.
Kara Flannigan, Public Health Inspector with Algoma Public Health (APH) fielded questions from residents, concerned about the process and August 31st deadline.
Flannigan led residents through a ‘411’ on various processes related to septic systems, explaining that in 2017, current regulations – including those of the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change – play a role in how and why the septic system at River Valley can’t be simply fixed or amended.
“The whole system needs to be completely replaced.” She said. “The standards of the 1980’s are not the standards of today. Extra studies are required in today’s regulatory framework.”
Residents are hoping for an extension of the August 31st, 2017 deadline.
Judy Lewis, resident of River Valley Park spoke with Superior Media.
“I am 72 yrs. old and my husband is 80 yrs.” she said. “We’ve lived in the park for over 21 years. We’re seniors – my neighbor is 94 yrs old. She is the oldest person in the park. I can tell you that we aren’t going anywhere. In fact, there really isn’t anywhere to go.”
The video below is a snapshot of the first half of the Community Information Session. No representative from The Ministry of Environment and Climate Change was in attendance.
An oral hearing was held on August 10, 2017 in Toronto, Ontario. The hearing was before the provincial Health Services Appeal and Review Board.
Harjeet Dusanjh testified for the Appellants (HARJEET SINGH DUSANJH, JASBIR SINGH DUSANJH AND RIVER VALLEY PARK INC.).
Kara Flannigan (APH), Kira Fry (Ministry of Environment and Climate Change or MOECC) and Jonathon Boumo (APH) testified for the Respondent.
On August 16, 2017, The Appeal Board upheld the Order, dated June 8, 2017, made by Kara Flannigan, Algoma Public Health.
Hard Copies of the Health Services Appeal and Review Board decision were made available to residents in attendance on Wednesday evening. To read online go here: http://www.algomapublichealth.com/media/2444/river-valley-park-appeal-board-decision.pdf
APH Inspection Reports are posted publically here: http://www.algomapublichealth.com/inspections-environment/