Two brownfield sites in Nanaimo can begin the process of recovery and redevelopment after receiving financial help from the province.
Through the provincial government’s Brownfield Renewal Funding Program, the city will receive $50,750 to clean up land on Boxwood Road. The work will prepare it for an ambitious project connecting Boxwood Road to Dufferin Crescent in the south and Rosstown Road to the north to address traffic congestion in the busy passenger vehicle and industrial corridor.
Remediation of the site, which contains pollution from coal mining and debris dumping, is required before roadwork can begin.
Bob Prokopenko, manager for engineering services for the city, said a traffic light at Northfield and Boxwood roads will be installed later this year to help set up the larger project that is expected to take up to five years to complete.
Brownfields are abandoned, vacant, derelict or underutilized commercial and industrial properties where past usage has resulted in the likelihood of pollution.
Nanaimo Shipyards Limited on Stewart Avenue will also benefit from the announcement. It will receive $47,776 to determine the state of that site and start remediation planning.
The location was used for decades as an industrial site and must be cleaned up before it is transformed into a planned mixed-use residential and commercial waterfront development.
Steve Thomson, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, said the province is committed to cleaning up sites across the province to renew them for improved use.
“The Brownfield Renewal Funding Program is designed to encourage more brownfield redevelopment in communities,” he said in a press release. “Sites like these two in Nanaimo have great potential for redevelopment when the issue of contamination is addressed.”
On Thursday, 16 sites provincewide were given a total of $730,000. Since 2007, the program has provided more than $4.2 million for 75 projects in 44 communities in B.C.
Redeveloping brownfields increases local tax revenue while encouraging more effective and environmentally friendly use of land.