A magistrate gave Elton Leonard, the owner of U.P.’s Cineplex and Bobby’s Supermarket, two more months to comply with government orders to clean up the ghuts adjacent to both businesses.

Mr. Leonard’s attorney, Susan Demers, told Senior Magistrate Valerie Stephens that the business owner had been delayed by inclement weather in recent weeks. The attorney said she had spoken to prosecutors, who had agreed to a temporary adjournment, particularly because the clean-up efforts require work from the Water and Sewerage Department.

“My instructions are [WSD workers] are very, very backed up due to the storm,” Ms. Demers said.

Ms. Stephens granted the 60-day extension and scheduled the matter to return to court on Jan. 19.

Not guilty plea

Mr. Leonard pleaded not guilty Aug. 26 to two counts of failing to comply with an abatement order under the Public Health Nuisance Regulations (1977).

He was ordered by Ms. Stephens to comply with an order to remove all debris inside manholes near his businesses; properly fit and cover all sewer manholes; clean up all garbage and trash along the west side of the Cineplex; and notify the Environmental Health Division when the work was completed.

The criminal charges were brought after a Jan. 19 inspection of both businesses by the EHD, during which officials “observed discharges of wastewater into sewers that contravened regulation,” Crown Counsel Valston Graham said in August.

“This resulted in clogs to sewage lines and posed a health risk in terms of odour to neighbours and businesses,” Mr. Graham said.

Subsequent EHD inspections found that wastewater, including grease, was still being discharged by both businesses into nearby ghuts, according to the Crown counsel.

In August, Ms. Demers said her client had previously complied with the orders but had failed to notify the EHD that the work had been completed. Mr. Leonard, also speaking in August, said the unpleasant odour sometimes present in the ghut near U.P.’s was exacerbated by discharge from several other businesses, residences and government.

“It’s in the ghut; it’s nothing related to my business,” he said. “People have complained that the ghut smells, but it doesn’t mean that U.P.’s is the culprit.”


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