Dig’n up old gas tanks

The District of Vanderhoof has started a long-awaited restoration project at one of the most well-known brownfield sites in town

Digging at the old Kwik Save site in Vanderhoof

A restoration project is underway at the old Kwik Save station in Vanderhoof.

“But right now we’re just removing the tanks and any contaminated soil,” said Gerry Thiessen, mayor of Vanderhoof. “As we go along we will see how widespread the contamination is, if any, and we may end up having to spend more.”

During 2013 the District of Vanderhoof budgeted $85,000 towards the cleanup of the old Kwik Save site. They also set aside another $75,000 for demolition of the building but, the council decided in May that they would first like to assess the integrity of the building’s structure.

“The structure appears to be good. There’s a roof leak we will need to address and make sure there is no further deterioration, but all were doing right now is taking the tanks out of the ground.,” said Gerry Thiessen.

Once the contamination situation is clearer, the DOV will move forward and decide what they want what the building will be used for.  Since the building is thus far ‘structurally sound’, the demolition money will likely be rolled over to next year’s budget and used instead for additions and renovations to the building to get it into a ‘marketable state’, said Mr. Thiessen.

“It’s on the highway, and in my opinion, people of Vanderhoof want to see our highway be inviting to the community. We discussed in the Official Community Plan  adopted in September about having the Highway 16 corridor as a development permit area where any development in that area, we would have an understanding what it would look like. That it is inviting to people coming to town as a place they want to do business. Having brownfield sites up and down our main street doesn’t look good. I think the DOV as a landlord should set the bar on what we think that should look like. We have to make sure whatever we do there is consistent to what the community wants to see.”

Over the winter, council will discuss what they would like to see on the site which has sat vacant for years. Although the cleanup is being paid directly by Vanderhoof tax payers, the mayor has a plan to possibly see some of that money returned.

“We have been urged by the community to get this area cleaned up. Once we get there council will look at who the contaminator was and it is certainly my hope to go after them to help get it cleaned up,” mayor Gerry Thiessen. “The person responsible shouldn’t be able to just walk away.”

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