MacKay announces $300M to clean up Labrador airbase
The federal government will spend $300 million over the next decade to clean up toxic waste left on a Labrador airbase during the Cold War when it was in use by the United States Air Force, Defence Minister Peter MacKay announced Sunday.
The contamination in areas of 5 Wing Goose Bay has been attributed to storage and handling practices of certain materials, including heavy metals, PCBs, hydrocarbons and pesticides.
"This significant investment benefits the Wing, contributes to the economic foundation of the community and mitigates risk to human health and the environment," MacKay, who visited the base Sunday, said in a news release.
The base cleanup was initially expected to cost $100 million in 2001.
Work is continuing to determine the extent of the contamination at various sites on the base and develop a cleanup strategy. The remediation project, which should be completed by 2020, includes cleaning up soil and groundwater that's been contaminated.
However, it was not the injection of cash Happy Valley-Goose Bay was hoping for the military base.
Liberal critic sees broken promise
Critics including Labrador Liberal MP Todd Russell said the Conservatives have not followed through on their election promise in the 2005, 2006 and 2008 elections to station 650 troops and unmanned aerial vehicles or drones in Labrador as a rapid response battalion.
Mackay said that can't happen because of troop commitments in Afghanistan and that the Conservatives would look at the promise again in 2012.
"I don't believe they have any intention of fulfilling these promises," Russell said.
Russell said the Liberals are still working on their promise to revitalize the Goose Bay airbase, which has been dormant since NATO air forces stopped jet fighter training there in 2005.
MacKay said the remediation project will benefit the local economy.
As part of the $300 million, a $4.5-million contract was recently awarded to AMEC, an environment service firm with an office in Happy Valley-Goose Bay.
With files from The Canadian Press