In rental now, homeowner hopes offer on sewage-sodden Paradise property coming soon

After years of struggling with a Paradise property plagued with plumbing problems, Jim Clarke says he's grateful to finally be put up in a rental property, while a more permanent solution is being worked on.

Clarke's property abuts the town's largest sewage lift station, and he says he didn't know when he bought the property what he was signing up for.

Since 2006, Clarke said, he's had multiple sewage backups in his basement, as well as flooding on his property. A few weeks ago was the worst, when he went outside to see the state of construction being done at the station, when he was sprayed with sewage.

Now, he and his family are in a rental, being paid for by the Town of Paradise.

"It's fantastic. Just to smell fresh air instead of smelling that sewer station," Clarke said of his accommodations, without the noise of the pump station and construction right next door.

"It was just nice to sit at the dining room table and speak to one another and stop for a second and notice the silence. It's great."

Clarke said town council is paying the rent and utilities, as well as footing the bill for the cost of the move, since he still has to pay the mortgage on his property.

Hopefully they'll take into account everything we've been through and offer us a fair price based on all of that. - Jim Clarke

The town confirmed Clarke is being put up in a rental property while the purchase of his property is worked out, but won't speak to specifics, citing privacy concerns, until the deal is completed.

However, Clarke hopes an appraisal process currently underway will get him good value for the property, so he can afford to move his family to a home where they don't have to worry about regular sewage spills.

Ryan Cooke/CBC

"The appraisal process is supposed to be non-biased, so they're supposed to look at the land and the house as if it was anywhere else besides the lift station," he told CBC's St. John's Morning Show.

"Hopefully they'll take into account everything we've been through and offer us a fair price based on all of that."

Clarke said the provincial Department of Municipal Affairs has already approved the case for a buyout from the town.

Peace and quiet

After an appraisal, the town council will have a private meeting to discuss an offer, before taking it to a public meeting.

Until that happens, Clarke said, he'll continue to enjoy the peace and cleanliness of the rental property.

"We're hoping for sooner so that we can just get on with our lives completely and just be rid of it totally."

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