BC and Ontario housing developers fined for mismanaging sewage systems

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A British Columbia property developer and an Ontario mobile home company are both facing provincial fines for separate and unrelated instances where they improperly managed sewage systems. 

In B.C., the province’s Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy says Vintage Views Developments Ltd. director and owner, Johnny Aantjes, is alleged to have repeatedly failed to comply with requirements to report on and maintain a wastewater system built for 120 luxury homes on an 18-acre development near Okanagan Falls. 

The complex nine-year saga between the province and the developer has led to a series of administrative penalties that total nearly $200,000 over Municipal Wastewater Regulation violations and pollution prevention orders.

In a B.C. Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy penalty assessment report, officials say that from 2013 to 2022 they conducted nine facility inspections at the housing development and issued two advisories, four warnings and four administrative penalty referrals for contraventions. These include failure to monitor, failure to submit reports, effluent exceedances, failure to report non-compliance, failing to follow-operating plan, and failure to have a capital replacement fund.

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Among the many issues found at the housing development was domestic well water that exceeded provincial and federal guidelines for nitrates and coliform. In some instances, the province said that fecal coliforms in tested effluent samples exceeded limits by more than 24,700%. 

Additionally, effluent had surfaced from breaks in the drain field caused by the surface leaseholder removing an orchard and installing a vineyard over top of the drain field. 

The province also noted that the B.C. housing development project did not have a qualified operator to manage the property’s effluent. 

Management also failed to submit quarterly groundwater level reports.

A study is currently underway to determine more details about the property and the potential cost of it being taken over by the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen.

The province put a stop to any new homes connecting to the sewage system in 2019.

Ontario

In Ontario, a mobile home company and its director have been fined $8,500 for Ontario Water Resources Act violations that relate to wastewater mismanagement in Sudbury. 

Terry Wong and 2586415 Ontario Ltd. were convicted of four violations in March and April 2023 for sewage works on their Sudbury mobile home site that did not have ministry approval, were beyond a reasonable service life, or had failed, according to the Ontario Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks. Many of the sewage works did not have an environmental compliance approval, nor was an application submitted for approval, according to a court bulletin.

The ministry issued several orders to the mobile home company from 2018 to 2020, prior to Wong selling the company in early 2021. Wong and the company failed to meet the requirements set out by the 2020 Order by the deadline, according to the Ontario Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks.

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