Nfld. & Labrador

Smell ya later: Paradise homeowner 'ecstatic' after council agrees to buy sewage-sodden property

Plagued by a sewage problem, Jim Clarke and his family will be able to say goodbye to their Paradise property after council approved $430,000 to buy them out.

'An absolute huge relief,' says Jim Clarke of news that $430K approved

Jim Clarke says he's elated with news the Town of Paradise has approved the purchase of his home, which neighbours the sewage lift station. (Ryan Cooke/CBC)

Plagued by sewage problems, Jim Clarke and his family will be able to say goodbye to their Paradise property — three oversized lots totalling over 1.5 acres — after council approved $430,000 to buy them out.

"We're ecstatic over it," said Clarke.

During Tuesday night's meeting, the Town of Paradise approved the purchase of the property for $430,000 as part of its 2020 budget.

Clarke's home is next to the lift station handling the largest volume of the town's sewage waste. This summer, the station had a major equipment failure. 

When Clarke and his family went outside to investigate a loud noise, he found sewage spewing everywhere — including into his face.

"It was pretty terrible. It was absolutely horrible," Clarke said. "But we got through it and it all panned out in the end."

Since September, the town has been paying for a rental property for the Clarke family, while his property was appraised, and the review submitted to council.

This is a look at Jim Clarke's lawn in early September, after sewage started spraying into the air and flooding his lawn. (Submitted by Wendy Clarke)

He got word Tuesday night the deal was done and only needed the mayor's signature.

"An absolute huge relief. We just, our bodies just kind of crumpled," Clarke told CBC's St. John's Morning Show.

"It was just, 15 years going through that, it was amazing, the feeling. Amazing."

That 15-year experience caused numerous headaches for Clarke.

"They gotta tear up your whole downstairs every time. My insurance stopped covering me for it. So then the council's insurance took over. You could never use your downstairs, because you didn't know when it was gonna happen," he said.

Clarke said council will keep paying for the rental property through the end of January, "so we're not rushed out," and then will pay for moving costs to get them into a new home.

The $430,000 will go a long way, Clarke said.

"That will cover paying off the house that we're in and it'll be a huge down payment for a new house that we have picked out," Clarke said, adding that while he's been waiting for the deal, he is happy with how things worked out with council.

"They've been absolutely fantastic to us," he said.

"This council was much better than the rest, because we've asked several times to be bought out and it was on deaf ears,… I think what made a difference was that we went public with it."

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

With files from The St. John's Morning Show


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