Canyon Creek man fed up with sewer issues

Pearl Lorentzen
Lakeside Leader

Cliff Peddle is fed up with the municipal bylaw officer and the sewer system.

On May 8, 2024, this Canyon Creek man spoke to M.D. of Lesser Slave River council at their regular meeting. He came to council after two unsuccessful meetings with CAO Barry Kolenosky, which came up a few times.

“I’ve got two issues,” Peddle told council.

First of all, he’s very upset with one of the M.D. bylaw officers for driving on his land when it was muddy with a bylaw ticket for dumping waste on public land.

“I was not told I couldn’t do it,” he said.

“This officer was out of control and unprofessional in front of me and my son,” added Peddle, at another point in the meeting. “He never approached me. He sat and watched me dump. He never told me anything.”

Peddle has paid the $300 ticket in court, but doesn’t consider the matter settled. He has entered a complaint with the M.D., has reached out to a provincial peace officers organization, and is talking to a lawyer about litigation.

The other issue is the sewer.

“That’s the one that’s got me very upset,” he said.

Canyon Creek is on the south shore of Lesser Slave Lake. All south shore lots must be connected to the M.D. sewer system, which includes a septic tank because of the high water table.

The system has been dug up four times and still doesn’t work, said Peddle. The cost for the installation and other investigations is $35,000, he said.

“It has never worked,” he said. “I’m not paying for it.”

Ground water gets into the system, so the pump runs very often. Peddle is scared to use the line from his trailer to the tank, so hauls the sewage from the trailer to the tank. Peddle wants to sell the land and leave the area, but realtors won’t look at it because it has sewer issues.

Councillor Brad Pearson lives in Canyon Creek and is very familiar with the various sewer issues which plague the area.

With the high water table, a low pressure system is the only option, he said. In the 1980s, you couldn’t walk down the street because of the sewerage would leak get into the water table.

Despite their best efforts, Peddle and council couldn’t get on the same page about what the issue might be with the sewer system.

“The next step is litigation,” said Peddle. He then asked council to send someone to look at the system.
“Can someone inspect it?” asked Councillor Lana Spencer.

“That’s the idea to go on site,” said Rudolf Liebenberg, operational director of planning, utilities, and protective services.

“We tried that,” said Peddle.

Administration sent someone twice, said Kolenosky.

Peddle only acknowledged one of these times, which was part of the problem. That day, the staff member was accompanied by the bylaw officer who Peddle is potentially suing. In response, Peddle put up a sign which says ‘No M.D. of Lesser Slave River employees allowed.’

“It has to be identified where it’s leaking from,” said Councillor Pearson. For that, M.D. staff need to go on the land.

“Nobody on my property without me there,” responded Peddle.

Liebenberg asked Peddle, if he could come onto the land to inspect the sewer.

If I’m there, said Peddle.

Council also confirmed that once the problem is identified, someone would be allowed on the land to fix the sewer, which Peddle agreed to.

“We’ve got the message,” said Reeve Murray Kerik, “we’ll dig into it.”

He told Peddle that going forward he’d be his contact.

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