Ottawa-based Milestone Environmental Contracting Inc. has won a $5.3-million contract to remediate 70 years of paint factory contamination at Victoria Middle Harbour in British Columbia.
The British American Paint Company that operated near Laurel Point until 1974 damaged the surrounding sediments and threatened the health of marine wildlife. The upcoming remediation project, tendered by the federal government, is expected to involve dredging some 1,200 m3 of contaminated sediment from the harbour’s sea bed.
Dredging in the Victoria Harbour dates as far back as 1873, when the federal government removed Spence rock to improve navigation, and occurred as recently as 2014, when dredging began to remove muck and clay for the construction of the yet-to-be-opened $32-million Victoria International Marina.
The newly-announced remediation project for the harbour is already underway and expected to be completed by January 2018.
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“Undertaking the remediation of Victoria’s Middle Harbour demonstrates our government’s ongoing commitment to cleaning up contaminated sites and protecting the marine environment,” said Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport, in a statement. “This work is important for the well-being of the marine wildlife that call Victoria Harbour their home and feeding ground.”
After dredging the harbour’s contaminated sediment, it will be transported by barge to an approved facility for treatment and disposal. The harbour bed will then be backfilled with clean material, according to Transport Canada, which says it will monitor the project closely.
Transport Canada also stated that sections of the lower David Foster Pathway at Laurel Point Park may be closed to ensure public safety, but the upper pathway will remain open for the duration of the remediation project.
The Victoria Middle Harbour Remediation Project is funded through the Federal Contaminated Sites Action Plan, which is coordinated by Environment and Climate Change Canada and the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, and provides funding to assess and remediate federal contaminated sites.