Statement from Mayor Sendzik on Ministry of Environment’s air and water testing results for 282-285 Ontario St.
I want to thank the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks for sharing the results of the surface water and air monitoring related to the former automotive manufacturing site located at 282-285 Ontario St. with City Council.
The presentation from Ministry officials provides assurance to the community, showing typical – or less than typical – concentrations of metals, urban roadway runoff and urban stormwater concentrations of PCBs. It is reassuring to know the Ministry has also been monitoring conditions in the Twelve Mile Creek watershed since 2000 and has instructed the property owners to update stormwater controls as part of any work on the property.
From an air monitoring perspective, we are encouraged to learn that measurements were below regulated ministry standards for suspended particulate matter and metals, and that no asbestos was detected in air samples.
While Public Health has not detected any unusual health outcomes and believes there is no increased risk of adverse health to those living in the vicinity, I want to stress to our residents that this site remains a priority. The City will continue to work with the appropriate government officials to move forward on this issue. As it is a privately owned property, we continue to seek the Ministry’s guidance and leadership as many of the issues when it comes to health and safety remain under their jurisdiction. We are happy to have an involved partner at the Province to help move this issue along.
Thank you to City staff, who continue to dedicate a significant amount of resources to this issue. Council passed an action plan in late January that included a variety of different measures surrounding the site. This summer the City also expanded its powers under its waste by-law and staff are currently working to obtain compliance. The public will be informed with the respect to any outcomes of enforcement actions at the appropriate time while we ensure that any matter that may end up in court remain confidential.
City Council and staff remain committed to finding ways to move forward on realizing the potential of the site. The goal is to see it remediated and transformed in a way that benefits the community as a whole. Over the last two months, Council approved two significant planning policies that will support this, in the Community Improvement Plan and the Land Needs Assessment. It’s just the first step to a long-term revitalization effort, but one that will help facilitate redevelopment.
Thank you to Minister Jeff Yurek for his efforts to provide the City with testing results in a more expeditious manner, and for meeting recently with City officials and MPP Jennie Stevens. I would also like to thank MPP Stevens for stressing the importance of this issue at Queen’s Park, and ward Councillors Karrie Porter and Mat Siscoe for their ongoing efforts on this issue. Thank you to the community for your ongoing efforts and advocacy. Residents can keep up to date on the City’s efforts at www.stcatharines.ca/OntarioStreetActionPlan. The website includes the details presented to Council by the Ministry.
We look forward to continuing moving this issue forward as best we can under our authority, in tandem with government officials and other community partners. I assure you that City Council and staff are as anxious as our residents to move on toward the transformation of the property into something that will benefit our City for many years to come.