The Ministry of Environment is promoting new and innovative land remediation in B.C. along with some of its success stories as part of a two-day conference in Vancouver beginning today.
Over 50 speakers from across Canada and the United States will make presentations to the over 250 people in attendance, ranging from best practices in both B.C. and other jurisdictions to environmental benefits of redevelopment to remediation challenges, opportunities, and innovative solutions.
Speakers have a wide range of experience from across industry and include local government representatives, environmental lawyers, policy makers, brownfields experts, technical experts in remediation, regulators from other jurisdictions, lenders, insurers, and senior representatives of key stakeholder groups such as industry associations.
The conference is organized into three learning streams - regulatory, technical and brownfields - allowing participants to choose to attend the sessions of most interest to them. Participants include First Nations, local government, industry, developers, consultants, students and members of both public- and private-sector organizations.
In 2011-12, 673 contaminated sites were successfully remediated meaning almost two sites per day were returned to a more natural condition and made available to support economic development. Over the past 15 years, 4290 contaminated sites have been successfully remediated by the ministry and its partners.
The Vancouver waterfront is another stellar example of contaminated lands that have been remediated and developed to become a jewel of the city. From Canada Place to the Bayshore, this whole stretch of waterfront consists of former industrial sites that were cleaned up through B.C.'s land remediation process and standards. False Creek and the Olympic Village are also former industrial sites.
The Vancouver Convention Centre - the site of the Land Remediation conference - is itself a former industrial site. In addition to remediation of contaminated sediments, the conference centre expansion incorporated innovative fish habitat, green roof and compensation features that helped it earn LEED Platinum certification.
- Brownfields are defined as "abandoned, vacant, derelict or underutilized commercial and industrial properties where past actions have resulted in actual or perceived contamination and where there is an active potential for redevelopment".
- Brownfields can include decommissioned refineries, former railway yards, old industrial waterfronts and riverbanks, abandoned gas stations and former drycleaners.
- Another recent example of land remediation is Westminster Pier Park, which opened in June 2012 after three years of highly technical and complicated remediation to address long-standing contamination from a number of former industrial operations on the site.
- In 2012, Westminster Pier Park received the Sustainable Communities Award in the brownfield category from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.
Ministry of Environment Communications