Soiled ground threatens Fort Nelson rec centre


Photo: This is an artist’s rendering of what the new recreation centre would look like, if the town received funding.

Some dirty soil is posing problems for developers of the new Fort Nelson Rec Centre.

When workers were digging the foundation for the new building, they found evidence of contamination, and didn’t know what it was.

So, samples were sent out for analysis.

The results indicated that a part of the land was contaminated with hydrocarbons. Northern Rockies Regional Municipality Chief Administrative Officer Randy Mclean says this could have been caused by diesel fuel.

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Mclean says the contamination wasn’t found when the recreation centre was first constructed 35 years ago, because there weren’t as many environmental regulations in place.

On April 9th, 2007, the building collapsed as a result of heavy snow and ice buildup. Earlier this year, the town announced that a new complex would be built on the same property. The town had applied for a $10 million dollar grant under the Build Canada Grant Program.

That funding is set to be announced at the end of this month.

Mclean says the recreation centre is already facing a lot of competition for the grant, and says the contamination announcement could jeopardize that funding.

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But, Mclean reiterates the contamination isn’t severe, and it can legally be dumped at the municipal landfill. Right now, the contaminated soil has been gathered into one pile on-site, and is covered with a tarp.

The town is waiting to hear back from the Ministry of Environment on whether the soil can be shipped to the local landfill.

Mclean says if the grant is denied, officials are going back to the drawing board, to develop a revised plan on what the building will look like.


Photo: The Fort Nelson recreation centre collapsed on April 9th, 2007- submitted