Environmental assessment for potential aquatic centre site planned for next year

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Parksville council passed a motion to authorize a budget of up to $100,000 for staff to begin the consultation process and preparation for an environmental assessment of the former landfill site at 1040 and 1060 Industrial Way.

“It is a possible potential site for the aquatic centre, or other recreation facilities that are maybe needed for the City of Parksville. It would be an excellent location for that,” said Coun. Doug O’Brien, during council’s Oct. 4 regular meeting.

O’Brien initially made a motion to submit a funding application to the Green Municipal Fund for brownfield restoration — that motion was amended by Mayor Ed Mayne. Mayne said he believes it is better to determine exactly what degradation, if any, has occurred on the site before applying for the brownfield restoration grant.

“This could be leeching like crazy into the river — it might not be doing anything into the site. I don’t know and that’s what the problem is. If you don’t know what you don’t know, it’s a dangerous situation,” the mayor said.

Keeva Kehler, the city’s chief administrative officer, said the city has been monitoring the site sporadically over the years through a consultant firm. 

She added rather than the city put out a request for proposal, staff would likely come to council to request sole source approval to use the same firm the city has been working with for years on the site.

Based on the grant requirements, the city will need to pay for the initial site studies before applying, according to Kehler. Most of that work would be contracted out and is planned to begin next year.

Council voted to pause studies on the Despard Avenue site and look at alternative sites for the proposed Parksville Aquatic and Recreation Centre in July, after a verbal report on preliminary site findings by Golder-WSP. Council also moved to reallocate funding from further Despard site assessments to land site analysis and site condition assessments for alternative locations.

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