Dunvegan Gardens has responded after being handed multiple orders under the Safety Codes Act.
On April 12th, officers inspected the area and found evidence of contaminated water in their greenhouse.
Acting Director of Planning and Development Brad McMurdo says the potable water was contaminated with animal feces, plant fertilizers, groundwater, and other unknown contaminants at this time.
“The water supply to the public restrooms as well as the staff shower facility, kitchen facility, and the system in the greenhouse are a risk to human health and safety,” McMurdo said.
Officers also found hazards when it came to the electric system in the greenhouse as well as the coal-fired boiler and propane systems.
In a release, Dunvegan VP of Operations Brad Friesen says the findings came as a shock and says they’d rectified most of the concerns – before being ordered to do so.
“Serving our community well is our top priority,” said Brad Friesen, president and CEO of Dunvegan Gardens Fort McMurray. “We were surprised by some of the findings, especially since we have been inspected so many times before. Safety for our Fort McMurray families is also a priority for us and that is why we did take immediate action to rectify most of the concerns prior to being ordered to do so by RMWB on April 13th.”
Friesen notes that DVG uses a cistern to collect rain and surface water to water the plants in their greenhouse – which is the same system used to flush toilets.
According to Dunvegan, a seal was broken causing potential for a greenhouse water to drain back into the cistern from overwatered plants.
DVG has since installed a new potable water system to ensure the public’s safety and comply with the Regional Municipality.
He adds that shutting off all heat and watering systems at the greenhouse would be catastrophic for the gardens and would destroy hundreds of thousands of dollars in vegetation.
Under the orders, Dunvegan must disable the water system and greenhouse electric and heating systems immediately, and can’t have any public access to the greenhouse.
If these steps are taken, staff will still be allowed to enter the area to take care of their animals and plants.
“Depending on how the next few days progress, there is the option to allow the retail component to continue – provided that the washrooms are closed down, the greenhouse is closed down, and other options for in terms of washrooms and sanitary facilities are brought in,” said McMurdo.
DVG will be holding a press conference at 2 p.m. to further address these concerns.
All this comes before the public hearing and the looming decision for council to amend the land use bylaw for the property scheduled for next month.