By Tim Petruk
Kamloops This Week
A B.C. Supreme Court judge has found a North Thompson homeowner in contempt of court for failing to properly fix a six-foot-deep hole into which she and her husband had been — and perhaps still are — dumping raw sewage.
Gloria Pearson and her husband, Paul, appeared in B.C. Supreme Court in Kamloops on Tuesday, Oct. 14.
The couple’s Vinsulla property has been the subject of ongoing court proceedings since 2013 when, following a hearing, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Dev Dley ordered the Pearsons to install a proper septic system.
The issue has also been brought forward by at least one neighbour.
Court heard the couple had its indoor plumbing hooked up to a pipe that ran into a six-foot open pit on the property.
Paul Pearson claimed the couple has not used toilets in their home for three years, but the Interior Health Authority (IHA) claims that’s not true.
IHA lawyer Kristen Morley said an investigator visited the property as recently as this past summer and noted a “scum layer” in the pit that appeared to be human waste.
“This is a health hazard,” Morley said.
“There’s open sewage draining into this pit. It’s simply not safe to have sewage discharging into an open pit.”
Morley said the Pearsons have lived on the property for three years and have never had a working septic system.
“There are people who live in this area,” she said. “There are other residents who have made complaints. There are people with ground-water wells in the area. The area is a floodplain. This is a serious health concern.”
Paul Pearson said he doesn’t have the money to get a septic system up and running on the property — but Dley came up with a work-around.
In addition to levying a $5,000 fine for being found in contempt of court, Dley also ordered the IHA to pay for the work on the septic system to be brought up to code.
That money will be repaid out of equity the Pearsons claim to have in the property, which is listed for sale as part of a separate proceeding.
The only hiccup might come if more liens are found on the home.
Dley gave Morley until Friday, Oct. 17, to determine whether the Pearsons have sufficient equity to pay for the septic upgrades.
Instead of paying for the repairs, the IHA wanted Dley to order that water be turned off on the Pearsons’ property or that they be ordered evicted.
Dley, however, ruled that ordering the IHA to fix the system is the only way to ensure it will be done properly and in a timely manner.
Paul Pearson is a convicted fraudster.
Four years ago, RCMP in Alberta investigated Pearson after businesses in the Red Deer area complained he charged for space at a series of trade shows he never intended to operate.
Refunds were not given.
Police identified more than 80 victims who were defrauded more than $200,000.
Pearson was given a 20-month conditional sentence for 17 counts of fraud.
A B.C. Supreme Court justice also ordered he repay $158,000 to victims, an order by which he was able to abide.
Last year, the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs warned members to stay away from a talent contest promoted by Pearson, according to a CBC report.