Trailer park residents face stinky situation

Dozens of residents are mired in sewage in the Leonard Estates trailer park, and they're getting desperate for answers and for help from the park's owners.

But as the weekend rolled by with no sign of the Leonard family, which owns the modular home site on G & M Road, anger reached a boiling point on Sunday.

"They should be moving all these people to a hotel until this is fixed," said Robert Araneda, who owns two modular homes in the affected area each occupied by a daughter, one of whom lives with her three-year-old girl.

"She hasn't been able to play in her own yard for a week," said Tasha Araneda of her child.

For nearly a week, more than a dozen homes in the Leonard Estates Block B have been dealing with backed-up sewage leading to septic tank seepage into yards and fields.

The problems were caused by high water due to heavy rains, the resident were told.

Wearing rubber boots and standing in stinking muck as liquid visibly bubbles up from a septic field, Robert Araneda demanded to know where the property owners were.

"Why are they just taking off for the weekend?" he asked. "They didn't even bring them any water as a nice gesture."

He believes property owners should be sucking up the toxic puddles and digging up and fixing the septic system.

The only thing park owners appear to have done to address the problem was to erect warning barricades and caution tape, and to post notices on residents' homes.

"Keep children and pets away from the water on the roadway and the septic fields and taped off areas," read a notice signed by park manager Debbi Leonard written in all capital letters and underlined.

"Drastically restrict . . . water use, especially laundry, bathing, showering. Health Canada has been on site and these are their advisements."

Calls to the G & M Trailer Park office, which manages Leonard Estates, and the G & M Trailer Park emergency line were not returned by press time. Health Canada also did not return calls by press time.

Interior Health Authority spokesperson Tracy Watson said her inquiries revealed that since the trailer park is on reserve land, the jurisdiction is federal.

Meanwhile, Steve Vrban's home is surrounded by sewage-drenched land that's been blocked off by temporary barriers and caution tape with only one gap - into his driveway.

He wonders how much longer he'll have to deal with the stench, the health hazard, the cost of buying bottled water and bathing and laundering his clothes away from home.

"I haven't heard of anything they're doing to fix this," said Vrban. "They said they were going to throw some lime down but they need the flow to stop first."

Tasha Araneda is afraid that if and when the immediate issues are addressed, residents will be left with damage to their homes.

"There's no way there's not water under there," she said.

"And you're going to have that smell under your trailer and the mould," added her father.

Resident Mario Milanese said he'd heard from park management that they're considering waiving the $275 pad rental for a few months.

Residents who spoke to The Daily News agreed that was unacceptable.

"But you won't hear too many complaints from lots of people here because they're low-income and afraid of getting kicked out," said Robert Araneda.

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