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Dunrovin Cabins owners frustrated with Service NL

Rod Penney says that he and his wife want their issues with Service NL resolved quickly so that they can move on with their business.
Rod Penney says that he and his wife want their issues with Service NL resolved quickly so that they can move on with their business. - Mark Squibb


LETHBRIDGE, NL— There are some eye-catching characters along Route 230 near Lethbridge.

A weathered old sea captain, a quirky moose, and a friendly, pint sized bear are some of the sculptures that visitors pose and take photos with at Dunrovin Cabins.

But owners say that the business has been getting plenty of unwanted attention over the past three years.

"Since we've started, we've had nothing only issues with Service NL," said Rod Penney, who owns the establishment with his wife Gerri.

The couple purchased the property three years ago, and have added to the original cabin building a service station, take-out restaurant, and RV park.

They say that they have had numerous conflicts with Service NL over the years, dating back to the architectural drawings.

Now, one of those conflicts has landed the business in court.

Court information shows that, on or between Dec. 9 of 2016 and April 20, 2017, Gerri's Enterprise Limited, operating as Dunrovin Cabins, failed to complied with the order of an inspector.

Under the offense, as outlined in the Building Accessibility Act, a corporation found guilty is liable to a fine of no less than $1,000 and no more than $25,000.

Rod says the issue comes from a handicap seat situated in one of the cabin's washrooms.

Penney says that Service NL has asked him to screw the seat into place.

However doing so would be considered doctoring with the original product, says Penney.

He also says that many guests prefer to bring their own seat, in which case they simply move the seat provided by the facility.

The Building Accessibility Act requires a shower to be "equipped with a hinged seat that is not spring loaded or a fixed seat." That fixed seat is to be mounted 430 millimeters to 480 millimeters above the floor.

Penney says he and wife have gone above and beyond to make the building wheelchair accessible, and that many-handicapped guess have applauded the facilities provided.

Rod noted that each of the cabin doors is 36 inches wide, as opposed to 32 inches, to help accommodate for people with disabilities.

The Penney's say that they are frustrated.

"I don’t need this to make a living. I enjoy doing this and I believe in investing back to the community and the province," said Penney, who noted that the facility is an employer of 23 local residents, a number that he hopes to increase over the years.

"Why is, in this province, where they advertise that government supports small business and tourism and all that stuff, and they make everything so far out of reach?"

He says that after lawyer's fees and fines, the whole affair could cost up $10,000.

The case will appear in Clarenville provincial court Thursday, Nov. 23.



Safety rail a concern

The Penney's also noted that they had difficulty getting Service NL to approve the rail along the wheelchair ramp attached to the main cabin building.

Rod claims that Service NL originally approved the rails on the take out building, which are the same design as the rail on the cabin, which had been approved.

He says that a Service NL representative later said that the rail was not up to standard, and needed another railing added. They claim that after they inserted the extra railing, Service NL asked that yet another railing be added, which was done. The rail was denied again On Mon. Oct. 16, Penney claimed that Service NL the rail needed to be another 12 to 14 inches higher.

He says that the extra height poses an even greater safety risk.

"They're creating a risk for kids to really hurt themselves. Because if they can fall from the elevation an that’s there now, why do they [Service NL] want me to put it 12 to 14 inches higher, so that if a kid climbs it, they got further to fall?"

"We take pride in what we do," said Penney, "and I'm not doing any of this to cause trouble. I just wants this resolved, so we can move forward."

Service NL approved the newly modified ramp Monday, Oct. 30

In response to an inquiry from The Packet, Service NL stated that they could not speak to the specifics of an individual situation, and that railings on wheelchair ramps are required to meet the specifications set out in the legislation.

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