Kimberley is built on top of the Sullivan Mine, a mountain flush with metals, says Mayor Don McCormick, which makes some of the criteria the Ministry of Environment puts on developing former industrial lands a bit unreasonable.
“Take a core sample anywhere in Kimberley, you’ll find something you don’t like,” McCormick said. “We’re built on the Sullivan Mine which was here for 100 years. We need something more reasonable for managing risk on former industrial lands.”
McCormick met with the provincial environment minister at the UBCM convention in Vancouver last month and was able to arrange a follow up meeting and workshop with ministry staff on obtaining certificates of compliance from the MOE.
McCormick is frustrated by the process, which he says is onerous for the city in terms of cost and staff time.
“The last certificate of compliance from the MOE was for light industrial lands in Marysville for a subdivision near Valley View. At that time, a covenant on the property referenced ground water contamination.
“But for some reason, with the more recent properties, such as the bench over Marysville and the old Cominco garage in Townsite, MOE staff changed the rules. The new rules are more onerous, a simple covenant is not good enough anymore. It’s hugely frustrating for planning staff. It’s taken ten years of onerous costs and process. Our goal at the meeting was to get a workshop with MOE staff to discuss reality and come up with a made in Kimberley solution.”
“We got a commitment that a date for the workshop will be set up. We also asked that the garage and bench lands be allowed a covenant. We will see.
“We’re talking about 65 acres of developable land. That’s our future with respect to industrial lands and it’s key to selling the idea of a Kimberley Cranbrook business corridor.
“The Minister and Deputy Minister were well briefed and understand the need for a made in Kimberley solution. But we can’t wait ten years for this. We’re just trying to look after ourselves, to make things happen on our own.”
McCormick says the city wants to involve Teck in coming up with this solution.