Transport Canada made two funding announcements Saturday morning, both affecting the City of Victoria.
Joyce Murray, parliamentary secretary to the president of the Treasury Board and Minister of Digital Government, represented Minister of Transport, Marc Garneau, in an announcement that Transport Canada awarded a $17.66 million contract to QM/JJM Contracting in a joint venture to remove contaminants from the ecosystem at Laurel Point Park.
The park was home to a paint factory from 1906 to 1975, causing the park’s soil is filled with pollutants like PCBs and metals which can leach into the harbour ecosystem.
“We know that Victoria Harbour is such an important facility for shipping, for recreational boating, for tourism and of course for the people that live in the neighbourhood,” Murray said. “But under the surface the Harbour is also a vital feeding ground for marine wildlife, and keeping it clean is essential for the survival of that wildlife.”
The clean up will begin at the end of September and run Mondays to Fridays from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., removing 35,000 cubic metres of soil which will be taken off-site and cleaned. The area will then be back-filled with new soil and planted with grass, with a target of being complete by late 2019.
No blasting will take place, and City staff said all work will be done to accomodate noise bylaws, as well as to have a minimal effect on guests staying at the Laurel Point Inn.
This is the second and final phase of Transport Canada’s Middle Harbour Remediation Project, the first phase of which included removing contaminated underwater sediments in the Harbour near Laurel Point in February 2018.
Murray also announced $31,346 in funding to remove six abandoned boats from B.C. waters.
This includes $19,685 towards the Salish Sea Industrial Services in Victoria, which City staff say are a retroactive payment for four boats which have already been removed from the Harbour.
$6,411 will go to the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority and $5,250 will go towards the Bowen Island Municipality.
These funds are a part of a total of the $6.5 million Abandoned Boats Program, under the Oceans Protection Plan, a $1.5 billion initiative which Transport Canada says is the largest investment ever made to protect Canada’s waterways. So far, over 100 boats have been removed across Canada.
“With the Abandoned Boats Program, the government of Canada has made a meaningful investment to help clean up local communities,” Murray said.