Monday, November 18, 2019


Shannondale Developments out of Toronto are the new owners of the long abandoned and dilapidated site. Local real estate agent and landlord Andrew Spylo owned the site since 1998 and allowed it to fall further into disrepair. So much for local ownership being beneficial and more likely to respond to either city or neighbours concerns and complaints. The story was in last Friday's Waterloo Region Record and titled "Toronto developer buys former Electrohome site".

The crumbling 121 year old building will be demolished early next year " that cleanup of the contaminated soil beneath the building can begin...". Really? Has anyone, from the MOE/MECP, to the city, to neighbours ever suggested that cleanup had to wait for the building to be torn down? There are a myriad of technologies that could have and should have been employed DECADES AGO to both contain and remediate the contaminated groundwater and soil around this building. "The site is contaminated with some metals, petroleum hydrocarbons and volatile organic compounds, including trichlororethylene, an industrial degreaser.". Also "The studies of the site's contamination are more than 10 years old and will need to be redone.".

Indeed they will as these contaminants can migrate both as liquids in the groundwater as well as vapours in the soil. Trichloroethylene (TCE) is an infamous DNAPL (dense non aqueous phase liquid) chemical known to cause death and disease in humans. Famous cases include Woburn Massachusetts ("A Civil Trial"- starring John Travolta) and our own Bishop St. community in Cambridge, Ontario.

The real issue here and throughout Ontario are the loopholes and exceptions/exemptions which allow owners of contaminated sites to successfully avoid doing any remediation for decades. Local cities, the Region (Waterloo), and the province all prefer to wait until a property changes hands before remediation of the property is initiated. Part of the pretense likely includes the feeble hope that the contamination does not spread to adjacent properties. Rest assured that's most likely what's happened here and in many more cases. Whether the original studies optimistically suggested that the contamination either hadn't already spread or was unlikely to, that is precisely what all political parties wanted to hear and the lack of followup studies is simply to maintain credible deniability as to the extent, spread, or dissolution of the contamination throughout the aquifers and soils.

No comments:

Post a Comment