Alberta Court Order Closes Half Moon Lake Resort
Jack Purdy is fuming.
After eight years of running the Half Moon Lake Resort near Sherwood Park, Alberta, Purdy, the owner, has been ordered by a Court of Queen’s Bench justice to shut down his popular campground due to health issues surrounding bacteria in the well water, the Edmonton Sun reported.
But Purdy maintains there’s nothing wrong with the water and said his business is now destroyed.
“I’m furious. We put a fortune into making it a wonderful place, cleaning it up and making it a really good family business,” said Purdy. “This place is lovely and it’s clean, it’s nice and organized. We have beautiful water.”
According to Alberta Health Services (AHS) lawyer Rob O’Neill, health inspectors found e-coli, arsenic and coliforms in the well water the past two summers, along with overflowing sewers.
Last November, AHS sent the resort an order, stating they had to address the water and sewer problems, then report back with the findings and fix any deficiencies.
On April 27, Alberta Environment became involved and made an order that the resort could not use the wells or sewage system as they had never been improved.
O’Neill said inspectors went to the resort on the May long weekend and found it was still open for business even though the work wasn’t done. Tests done again on May 21 found levels of arsenic.
The campground has now been ordered to remain closed until the work is completed and has approval from AHS to reopen.
Purdy believes the order is a result of improper, inconsistent sampling and is ready to take legal action if need be.
Since January, Purdy said there has been 22 water samples taken, with all those reports showing the well water is high quality —except for one incident which showed low levels of e-coli when the business was in the process of cleaning the well.
The most recent samples, taken June 23, showed a minute trace of arsenic in the water, but Purdy said it was within the acceptable guidelines and normal for the water in Strathcona County.
Purdy is willing to do whatever it takes to get his campground back up and running, but feels he isn’t getting the cooperation he needs from AHS.
“We believe we are in complete compliance with the orders that were given. We’ve never had a sick person here,” said Purdy, who noted the campground has been open for 55 years. “There is nothing life-threatening going on here. If there is little trace elements, we are going to have to put a treatment system in.”
Half Moon Lake Resort is located on 139 acres 15 minutes southeast of Sherwood Park. The campground has 216 sites and about 50 leaseholders who call the location their summer home.
This isn’t the first time the resort has faced health violations.
In 2004, a public health inspector found problems with its ice cream service, wading pool and toilets. The campground quickly compiled with all of the orders issued by Capital Health.
The campground is also in the process of licensing its wells with Alberta Environment, along with licensing and retrofitting its own waste water lagoon.