Toxic Soil Remediation Factory

with 4 comments

The Situation at 2220 Kingsway

In early January 2015, the City of Vancouver appears to have handed over a large strip of public property to developer Westbank for a stated period of one year. This action was taken with no notification to surrounding area residents.

     1 — East Side of Gladstone Ceded to Westbank for One Year

The entire east side of Gladstone Street between Kingsway and East 30th Avenue has been fenced off with a second fence. This includes actual street area. Most of the area consists of grassed boulevard with trees. Protective fencing for the trees went up in late 2014. Even with this measure in place, one tree is already being directly impacted by a large tank.

Even more disturbing than the takeover of public property is its apparent intended use: a location for a remediation factory to process the construction site’s contaminated soil. This massive amount of equipment has suddenly appeared in the neighborhood with no communication to surrounding area residents.

     2 — Toxic Soil Remediation Factory

Lots of Questions

Here is a set of initial questions that is being directed to the City of Vancouver. It would be appropriate for the City of Vancouver to schedule a public meeting in Norquay to discuss this situation with area residents.

1. How can a densely populated area zoned only for residential and commercial uses permit this distinct hazardous industrial use?

2. Why would the City of Vancouver allow processing of toxic soil in a particularly high-traffic area (KFC Chicken across Gladstone to west, Dollarama across Kingsway to north), situated along a designated bicycle route and a major foot-traffic route for students who attend Gladstone Secondary?

3. Why is contaminated soil from the Canadian Tire site not being straightaway trucked off-site for processing in an industrial area?

4. Is developer Westbank trying to cut corners and save money by setting up a toxic soil remediation factory in Norquay?

5. What are the precedents for a Vancouver neighborhood to be subjected to installation of a developer’s toxic soil remediation factory? Would this ever happen west of Main Street?

6. Why is the largest remediation tank allowed to push into [photo 7] one of the mature boulevard trees? What impacts would long-term presence of this equipment have on the boulevard trees (shading, vapors, excretions, pressure on soil and root systems)?

7. What is the nature of the 2220 Kingsway Canadian Tire site contamination? Hydrocarbons? Heavy metals? What else?

8. Is the large coiled drain hose [photo 8] expected to discharge effluent into the city sewer system? What assurance would the City of Vancouver have that the wastewater would be as pure as the rainwater that the system is designed to receive? Would the City of Vancouver itself undertake effective monitoring of the water quality?

9. Since site contamination likely includes hydrocarbons, what additional and uncontrollable impact on air quality could on-site processing produce, and how might that affect area residents?

10. How would the extracted, refined, and therefore significantly more toxic elements be handled? How much leakage and spillage [photo 3] would attend physical transfer of the material? What would be the potential for on-site accident with a large quantity of a concentrated toxic substance?

11. If the processing is not relocated off-site, what noise impacts could be expected from the pumping and processing?

12. What payment is the City of Vancouver receiving for this large appropriation of public property, which includes crucial street parking?

13. What recompense could the local neighborhood expect to see for loss of use of existing community green space and on-street parking? This area clearly is not required for access to the construction site.

A Little Backstory

On 27 October 2014 some unusual activity was observed and photographed at the rear of the Canadian Tire building.

     3 — Waste Spillage Occurred on 27 October 2014

It appears that wastewater collected from on-site environmental test drilling had been collected in barrels and was being removed from the barrels by a tanker truck. Note the spillage occurring in this small operation.

Two years earlier, a never-explained burst of activity in the same area was reported at Eye on Norquay as Stealth Remediation?.

     4 — Massive Soil Replacement Occurred in October 2012

As I recall, a City of Vancouver inspector eventually told me that I might be able to get additional detail on what he had concluded by doing an FOI, but that he himself could not tell me anything about what had been going on.

More Photos

     5 — Toxic Soil Remediation Factory — North End View

     6 — Toxic Soil Remediation Factory — South End View

     7 — Toxic Soil Remediation Factory Tank Impacts Boulevard Tree

     8 — Coiled Drain Hose = Contaminated Water into City Sewer?


Written by eyeonnorquay

19 January 2015 at 6:25 pm

4 Responses

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  1. Reblogged this on CityHallWatch: Tools to engage in Vancouver city decisions and commented:
    From Eye on Norquay:


    19 January 2015 at 11:22 pm

  2. Excellent work on exposing city hall shenanigans as well as issues like this one.
    But.. what can we do to support you? How to effectively put pressure on the Mayor & his gang?
    I wonder if any of the cab drivers who voted as a Bloc for Robertson because he promised to keep Uber out or any of the city unionized employees who also voted for Robertson because he promised no contracting out live in this area of Gladstone & Kingsway.

    Jane Bern

    20 January 2015 at 11:09 am

  3. I would like some more information regarding the impact to the trees. I know I feel quite anxious when a stranger leans up against me. Is this how the tree feels to have the factory touching one of its branches? *shudder*

    Do you think they are extracting and purifying the toxins for a profit? They could probably make a lot of money selling pure toxic elements on the black market. Shouldn’t we as a community be compensated with a share of the profits? Can you ask?

    Have you asked for a tour of the factory? I wonder what it looks like inside. I would like to see pictures of that. The structure looks kind of small; I’ll bet there are umpa-lumpas inside.

    Speaking of the toxic soil remediation factory, it reminds me sooo much of a groundwater treatment system it is almost eerie. Do you think the remediation factory was designed by a groundwater treatment system manufacturer and they were cutting corners by making it look identical to a groundwater treatment system?

    And where is the actual groundwater treatment system?? They are probably using that large coiled drain hose to pump untreated groundwater directly into the sewer system. I highly doubt it is as pure as rainwater which is the only thing I ever flush down the toilet into the sewer system.

    I really hope someone attends to this tenuous situation (umpa-lumpas can spread like the plague!).


    21 January 2015 at 3:03 pm

  4. If people’s health is actually being put at risk this sounds more like a police matter. You should Twitter @911 ASAP!!


    21 January 2015 at 10:01 pm

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