Despite a few setbacks, remediation work on the land around the Old Fort Hotel is expected to be completed by the fall.

Part of the delay stems from the fact the City had put out an expression of interest to have a developer purchase the land and conduct the necessary remediation, says Fort St. John Mayor Bruce Lantz. However, Lantz says no company appeared willing to buy the property, as well as take on the work.

So, he says the City will now be taking on the task of cleaning up the site itself and will then sell the land. The City had allocated $250,000 in its 2010 budget, which has been rolled over into the 2011 budget.

Once the remediation work is complete, he says the City will sell the land to a developer that has an idea which fits in with the downtown revitalization plan.

The City had applied for grants to help offset some of the costs, but Lantz says while grants would help save the City some money, even if none are received, it will still go forward with the remediation.

A tender was sent out for the work, which closed on Friday, and barring any significant problems he says the remediation work should take between four and six weeks once a contractor is selected.

The City took over the property after its previous owner failed to pay three years worth of taxes.

The property is contaminated with asbestos, which was commonly used in building construction up until the early 1980s. Thus, whichever company is chosen to clean up the property must be qualified to deal with potentially hazardous materials.