Residents near former Northstar factory in limbo
Published Wednesday, July 25, 2012 6:31PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, July 25, 2012 6:42PM EDT
People who live near the former Northstar Aerospace facility say they feel like they’re living in limbo as bankruptcy proceedings for the company continue.
Their main concern is backyard sheds installed by the company to shield homes from harmful vapours.
With Northstar bankrupt and selling off assets, homeowners are wondering if they’ll be stuck paying the hydro bills for that equipment.
About 450 homes are impacted, including that of Tracy Hipel.
He says the company installed the sheds to help protect indoor air quality from Tricholoroethylene or TCE contamination.
“Originally they told us five years, that’s what we were told, we’re going on seven now.”
Northstar has been responsible for paying its share of his hydro bill, but now with the bankrupt company selling assets to a U.S. firm, Hipel and his neighbours are worried they’ll be on the hook.
Recently Frieda Kroeker hasn’t seen any help from Northstar, she says “I don’t use the air conditioner, because I can’t afford it because the hydro is too high!”
The Ministry of the Environment has been supportive of homeowners in court.
But in a statement to CTV News, the ministry says “The court dismissed the ministry’s motion and decided that Northstar is not required to comply with ministry orders and can proceed with selling its assets without providing for future remediation costs. The ministry is reviewing the decision and is considering its legal options at this time.”
Not everyone is concerned about the bankruptcy though.
Chris Heise told CTV News he and his family knew what they were getting into when they moved in, and have been satisfied with how they’ve been treated.
But Hipel says he’s anxious for more answers, as in his original agreement the company agreed to compensate residents by adding 40 per cent to the annual estimated hydro cost.
“Somebody’s going to have to keep these sheds going, because basically we’re on a lifeline, and without the sheds going, we can’t live here.”
Northstar did not reply to requests for an interview.