By Gagandeep Ghuman
Published: Jan. 6, 2013
A local business owner says the district has effectively managed to shut down his business because of his outspoken nature, and because it’s in direct competition with him.
Following a massive leak, the district has cut water services to McRae’s business, Triack Resources, which operates out of the formerly Interfor mill site.
Sewer service to the site has also been affected as the district waits for a private main to be reconnected to the district’s outlet sewer.
McRae says the lack of services means he will have to vacate the site, resulting in losses at his company.
“The district is trying to put the screws on me,” he said.
“It’s hugely personal.”
The district has strongly denied these allegations.
District spokesperson Christina Moore said the water service to the site is privately owned, and was leaking significantly.
The leak was such that it was adding stress to the district’s ability to supply water to the overall distribution system, she said.
She said the district informed the landowner and the tenant the water services would be shut off after attempts to fix the leak proved fruitless.
“Once the private water service is repaired by the landowner, the district can turn the water back on,” she said.
Historically, the water line was paid for by the mill.
McRae said the district is using that historical data to shirk their responsibility of providing services to a business that contributes thousands of dollars in taxes.
“They say historically the mill paid for it, but there is no mill here,” said an exasperated McRae.
According to McRae, a similar scenario unfolded with sewer services.
A few months ago, the district discovered the private force main was not connected to the district’s outlet gravity sewer, resulting in sewage being pumped directly into the ground.
McRae said once the district crews found Kiewit had plugged the sewer pipe along the main line, they refused to deal with it.
“They said we are not paying for this, we are just going to shut your sewer off,” McRae said.
Moore, however, said the sewage disposal from the site can be restored when the private force main is reconnected to the district’s outlet sewer by the landowner.
“This would be the responsibility of the landowner,” she emphasized.
McRae feels all of this is happening because he is outspoken, and more importantly, because the district is in a direct business competition with him.
The district, he said, started recycling wood waste at the landfill since July, taking away almost 30 per cent of his business.
“For every cubic metres of woodwaste I will not receive, it goes directly to the landfill,” he added.
He sees the water and sewer problems as a dirty trick by the district to assimilate his business.
“They have always wanted me out of business.”
McRae said he has been given few more weeks by the owner to sort the water or sewer issue or face eviction.
“I have nowhere to go now,” he said.
Meanwhile, the district remains steadfast in denying these allegations.
“McRae’s assertion of personal bias towards him and his business is factually incorrect,” Moore said.