The province is taking over the cleanup of the former Gas Plus station site in Bowness.

The area was contaminated when 9,000 litres of gasoline spilled into the surrounding soil from an undeground tank at the former service station in northwest Calgary in 2010. A number of houses and businesses in the area were affected. 

Since then Gas Plus has “consistently failed to remediate” the property as required under an Environmental Protection Order.

“In the interest of the public, the province will now exercise its authority to carry out the necessary work on and off-site,” the province said in a release.

Gas Plus Inc., which still owns the land, will still be liable for all cleanup costs and “remain fully responsible for the release of the hydrocarbons,” the province said. 

In a statement released Tuesday afternoon, Gas Plus officials say the allegations aren't true. 

"[The company] is ready to complete the remediation of their northwest Calgary gas station site and the surrounding area to the remedial standards set by the province through an Environmental Protection Order. However Gas Plus Inc./Handle Transport (Northern) Ltd. are not permitted to complete the final remediation until the written consent of the director of environmental and sustainable resource development has been received, which to date, has not been provided."

Mayor applauds move

The province says it will go to court if necessary to get GasPlus to give it access to the site.

Mayor Naheed Nenshi has been watching the situation in frustration since he was sworn into office in 2010. 

"I am thrilled that the province is finally going to take over this cleanup," he said. "This has been four years. This is ridiculous. These people deserve the land to be cleaned. We all deserve it. It's so close to the river and I'm absolutely thrilled that the province has now exhausted its various legal and bureaucratic issues and is now doing it."

Nenshi said the city had always understood the nature of the problem, but under the current legislation it could not enter the land and Alberta Environment had a lot of red tape they had to go through. 

"And frankly, [the city] doesn't have the capacity ... to be able to manage complex files like this, so we have been pushing successive ministers of the environment on this for some time and I'm so happy that the province has finally agreed to do the right thing."