Mayor Don McCormick is going to take a crack at a long-brewing issue at the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) meeting in Vancouver next week. The issue is the ability to get clearance from the Ministry of Environment for use of former industrial lands.
McCormick says there are several examples of this type of land in Kimberley; land that could be used if it could clear the environment ministry.
“We have the bench lands near the transfer station site,” McCormick said. “It’s a beautiful piece of property zoned commercial/residential/industrial. We can’t develop it because there is an underground stream that’s deemed contaminated. But whatever goes in there wouldn’t use the water. It would be all city services.
“But we can’t get an environmental certificate. It’s the same with the old Cominco garage site in Townsite. If you look at the land available for industrial development that we can’t do anything with…. Teck owns most of the land but can’t do anything. We want to develop an industrial base but we need land available for business to set up. Right now, we have none.”
McCormick says the City of Kimberley has been trying to get environmental certificates on these lands for 12 years. There are lots of communities in the province with similar problems, he says, but Kimberley can’t wait for a blanket policy that doesn’t seem to be forthcoming.
“We need to move forward on this. This is a big deal. It impacts our long term industrial development policy. Teck wants to work with us.
“I want to know what the action plan is, who do we need to deal with to make this happen.”
The goal, McCormick says, is to put the issue forward at his brief meeting with the Minister in Vancouver next week, with the hope that it will lead to an opportunity for a longer, more detailed meeting in Victoria with the Minister and staff.