A huge hurdle in cost and safety has been overcome for a much-maligned Midland waterfront development.
At the most recent Midland Bay Landing Development Corporation (MBLDC) directors’ meeting, the announcement that a Notice of Risk Assessment approved by the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) for Midland Bay Landing was well received by those in attendance.
Andy Campbell, director of environment and infrastructure for the town of Midland, spoke at the meeting about the significance of the outcome.
“We’ve been going through the risk assessment process for the past three years,” said Campbell, “and that risk assessment has been looking at the contamination of the site given it is an old industrial site with railways, a coal yard and a glass factory.
“This approval from the MECP is saying that the reports that were written and the analysis that was done is acceptable and correct, and that they have approved the risk assessment.”
As a result of the approval, according to Campbell, “the contamination on the site does not have to be reduced. The contamination doesn’t have to be moved off-site; it will be managed on-site.
“Buildings will need active or passive ventilation under the foundations of them; parking lots, asphalt is covering and will cap the contaminated soils; and where asphalt or concrete is not taking place then we will have to put a half-metre geotextile cap over those areas,” said Campbell.
The MECP approval provided standard risk assessment measures required for Midland Bay Landing as a whole without getting into specific zoning issues. In addition, the MECP issued the town a draft certificate of property use (CPU) incorporating the risk management plan and additional conditions proposed by the ministry director.
Campbell claimed it was good news that the conditions being asked of the town were standard, and that dealing with contamination on-site is “a huge cost-saving effort.”
“There were 46 pages of conditions in that which we have to digest, review, and comment back to the ministry, and then that CPU will be posted on the MECP’s registry (Environmental Registry of Ontario) for public comment,” said Campbell.
Following a 30-day period of public comments received, the MECP director will make a decision on the CPU, which will also be posted on the registry.
“There is no further technical evaluation; all the technical evaluation has been completed,” Campbell affirmed.
MBLDC board member Zachary Douglas asked Campbell about work done on the site that had been undertaken without notifying the board, which was a concern also raised by Midland councillor Bill Gordon earlier in the week.
Campbell responded that preparations for the roughly 700-foot cruise ships anticipated to dock at the approximately 300-foot length of Midland Bay Landing promenade, currently a demonstration of what’s to come, required town staff to clear trip hazards for a safe work environment as weather permitted before winter shut down operations for the season.
Mayor Stewart Strathearn added that the anticipation of cruise ships meant that site preparations had been budgeted earlier in the year, and “there was a conversation around harmonizing the efforts” to work on the site as needed while also providing access to the demonstration promenade.
A deadline of December 23 was given by the MECP to receive comments and evaluations regarding the CPU.
The MECP risk assessment letter can be read through the Midland Bay Landing Development Corporation agenda on the Town of Midland website.
Further information regarding the project can be found on the Midland Bay Landing page of the Town of Midland website.
Derek Howard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, MidlandToday.ca