A walk along the David Foster Harbour Pathway in Laurel Point Park is a popular tourist attraction. While the sights are breathtaking, the soil and ground water in the area, pictured in 2017, was contaminated with high levels of metal and petroleum hydrocarbons. After a 10-month remediation process the soil is now clean. (Black Press File photo)

Contaminant removal wraps up at Laurel Point Park in Victoria

Over 70,000 tonnes of contaminated soil was removed in 10 months of cleanup

The Laurel Point Park remediation process is complete after 10 months of contaminant clean up.

For nearly 70 years the site was the home of a paint factory, which leached heavy metals, Polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) and other dangerous chemicals into the surrounding ground and waterway.

In October 2018 the federal Ministry of Transportation announced a $17 million investment into remediation of the site.

Since then over 70,000 metric tonnes of contaminated soil were removed and processed off-site, while new soil was back filled into the area.

READ MORE: Transport Canada announces $17M for pollutant clean up in Victoria Park, removal of abandoned boats

“Renowned for its natural beauty, the Victoria Harbour is a hub for shipping, recreational boaters and tourism,” said Minster of Transport Marc Garneau. “Its clean up was important to reduce threats to the harbour’s ecosystems and to protect the environment.”

Now, the federal government will monitor the site for one year to confirm that all pollutants were captured. After this, Transport Canada will transfer the two-acre plot to the City of Victoria.

“It’s not everyday that a federal government, or any government, hands two acres of waterfront land to a municipality,” said Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps. “So I want to say how grateful we are to the federal government of this gift to the City of Victoria of clean, remediated lands.”

ALSO READ: Victoria’s Inner Harbour most polluted waterway in B.C.

The City plans on transforming the grassy space into a waterfront park space for residents and tourists alike. Priorities will likely include, Helps said, pedestrian creativity, play space and local wildlife support.

The City will launch a six-month park design phase in September, which will include opportunities for the public to share ideas.

In the meantime, the David Foster Pathway will remain open on an interim basis, beginning in the next couple weeks after new grass has started to grow.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com


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