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Contamination restricts use

Contamination of city-owned land at the northwest end of the airport means no subdivision or extension of leases beyond three years can take place until the contamination is addressed.

Kevin Pearson, the city’s manager of development services, explains that beneath the soil is garbage that was dumped there in the 1970s.

“It was an informal former landfill,” he said. “People were just dumping garbage on site and covering it with top soil.”

After a lot was subdivided off in the early 2000s, “the Ministry of Environment advised us it can’t be subdivided any further until we address the contaminated sites issue,” Pearson said.

A phase one review recently completed determined the city must do a secondary assessment.

That assessment will determine the scope and expense of remediation.

The property was included in a staff budget memo to council, noting that $15,000 will be put towards the phase two assessment, which will be added to $10,000 in reserve, for a total of $25,000.

The assessment will cost $45,000. If grant funds are not secured, further money will be required from the 2015 budget.

Because the city’s airport committee and the Economic Development Society have suggested a  bigger role for the airport in the city’s economic future, the land could potentially be used for airport-related businesses, once it can be legally subdivided.

Writes Monica Dalziel, the city’s chief financial officer, in her 2014 budget memo:

“The Ministry of Environment (MOE) has indicated that the city is unable to subdivide this land, including extending land leases of more than three years less a day, until MOE receives the necessary information and confirms that the site’s status is in compliance with the Environmental Management Act.”

 

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