A Morrin senior couple may soon be able to get rid of a port-a-potty they’ve been forced to use as village council, this week, decided to take a closer look at a sewer lateral blockage issue.
The decision was made at a special meeting of council Jan. 31.
Morrin village Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Annette Plachner contacted the ECA Review a few minutes after the council meeting adjourned Monday morning to provide an update on the situation facing Morrin residents, Howard and Lynn Helton.
The ECA Review published a detailed story in Sept. 2021 detailing how the Heltons were using a port-a-potty in their yard because a blockage had caused a sewer back-up into their home.
Howard presented the ECA Review at that time with a video he had made showing a blockage on the village side of the sewer system; he and Lynn chose to use the port-a-potty to ensure they suffered no more back-ups until the situation was resolved.
It looks like a resolution may be coming soon.
Plachner stated councillors passed a unanimous resolution Jan. 31 to proceed with using a camera to examine the Helton’s underground lateral and to authorize staff to use a “sewer snake” to ensure the Helton lateral is free of any debris.
The CAO stated this was the only item of business on this special meeting’s agenda and that the work is to be started as soon as possible.
Contacted Jan. 31, Helton stated he and Lynn would be able to get rid of the port-a-potty as soon as the village established the line will stay free of blockage.
Helton also stated the resolution and the work should have been approved a year ago.
Helton, a former mayor of Morrin, also added that even if the lateral is snaked and cleared out, that’s probably only a short-term solution. “It’s 70 years old,” said Helton, referring to the infrastructure.
Further, Helton stated he requested to speak as a delegation to council at their next meeting, but was denied for the same reason that Helton’s faced for months: he hired legal representation. But the former mayor noted that’s no longer the case.
In a statement emailed to the ECA Review Jan. 28 Helton noted, “Due to financial constraints we have discontinued our dispute with the village.
“As you know, we were compelled to engage a lawyer as the official administrator and now the current village council had refused to enter into direct dialogue with us.
“The village is steadfast in their position that they will do nothing to address the problem in their sewer lateral from our property despite having very clear evidence of the compromised infrastructure.
“Further, they informed us that we are responsible to ensure that we do not further aggravate the problem so as to mitigate another backup.
“They add that should another backup occur they will evaluate their position at that time. However, we will still have to use the portable toilet due to the fact that solids cannot be sent into our sewer.
“As council has abrogated their responsibility to ensure that we are able to use their infrastructure, we are not holding out much hope for the compensation for the expenses that continue to accumulate.
“In closing I would just like to note that when I was mayor the Peloquins, Howards and Hamptons experienced sewer lateral issues and council resolved to maintain the integrity of those property owners’ laterals until repairs were completed.”
Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative reporter