Sewage issue could force trailer park residents out

Mobile homes at the North Bay Mobile Home Park. Arthur White-Crummey/Daily Herald

Last week, Marie Ratte got a letter. It said she might be homeless in September.

Ratte had just moved into the North Bay Mobile Home Park in July. She used all of her family’s savings – about $50,000 – to buy a junky trailer and fix it up. She lives there with her seven grandchildren.

But then the letter came. Her landlord said residents might have to remove their trailers by September 30. The park had lost its permit for pumping sewage into a nearby lagoon, and a push for access to the city wastewater system had fallen through.

“When I got that letter I was like, oh my god, I’m not safe,” she said. Reading it was “shocking.”

Ratte said she doesn’t have enough money to move her trailer. It’s not clear that it would even survive the trip.

“I’m on disability. There’s no way. We’re stuck again. We’re panicking,” she said. “I mean, holy smokes.”

Ratte’s family is one of more than 50 households that might be facing eviction this fall. Casualties of aging sewage infrastructure, they blame a system where no one seems willing to take responsibility for their plight.

Patrick Boyle, of the province’s Water Security Agency, said the three-stage sewage system in the lagoon was built in 1969. About 1,500,000 litres of raw sewage flows into it each month. The agency believes the waste is at risk of leaking into a nearby aquifer, contaminating the water supply for neighbouring farms.

For more on this story, see the April 27 print or e-edition of the Daily Herald.