Yellowknife plans to turn Con Mine site into recreation area
Some residents concerned about potential damage to barriers covering tailings ponds
The City of Yellowknife wants to turn the old Con Mine site into a recreation area, but some residents have concerns about kicking around a soccer ball on top of a tailings pond.
Mayor Mark Heyck says the remediated mine site would be ideal for outdoor activities.
"You do have these wide open spaces in and around where the tailing ponds are, and we're looking at the possibility of building or opening up a large outdoor recreational complex so you might have soccer pitches, baseball fields, skateboard parks," he said.
The area is being remediated for light recreational use, which means motorized vehicles such as ATVs and dirt bikes will not be allowed. Those types of vehicles could damage the barriers that cover the tailings ponds, resulting in people or animals coming into contact with contaminated material, such as arsenic.
Kevin O'Reilly, a former city councillor who lives in the mine's area, says he's worried people won't obey the rules.
"If there are motorized vehicles running around along trails or heavy use of an area, they start to kick up some of the rock and the material becomes exposed again," he said.
Heyck says the city is still a few years away from completing the plan, but it has talked about putting up fences to discourage the use of vehicles.