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Sudbury entices developers to clean up contaminated sites

A new strategy for redeveloping contaminated sites like former gas stations gets its first test before Sudbury city councillors at meeting Monday night.

Sudbury aims to woo property owners and developers to rehabilitate polluted sites and use them again

One reason why the former Kingsway hotel couldn't be sold was because of contamination from two former gas stations on the property. Now that the building is down, the removal of that contaminated soil is expected to begin shortly, and the city of Sudbury is hoping to sell the land for a profit. (Erik White/CBC)

A new strategy for redeveloping contaminated sites like former gas stations gets its first test before Sudbury city councillors at meeting Monday night.

The city’s planning committee will vote on a $45,000 tax incentive that may encourage a developer to turn an old welding shop in into a four-unit apartment complex.

And Greater Sudbury is hoping to entice more developers with grants and tax incentives like these to rehabilitate these so-called brownfields.

“When I look at [these properties], I see their potential,” said city planner Jason Ferrigan.

“[These projects have the] potential to complete our streets and gateways into neighbourhoods and their potential to create new life for the city."

As crews clean up the pollution from an old service station at the former Kingsway Hotel, it is hoped the remediated land will draw interest from developers. The city stepped in because the land is contaminated with gas from two service stations that disappeared decades ago.

Meanwhile, as the cleanup continues on that former site continues, one of Sudbury’s first new gas stations in years is almost ready to open.

CBC News asked the Canadian Fuels Association if, a few decades from now, a clean-up will be needed on this Lasalle Boulevard location as well.

Spokesperson Eric Bristow said the the two sites aren't comparable, because all stations today have double-walled tanks and other safety measures.

"So all of these things really provide the environmental and human health protection,” he said.

Bristow, whose members include big gas retailers like Petro Canada, Shell, Imperial Oil and others, said they have remediated about 700 old gas station sites across Canada in the last four years — and another 200 or so that have been used for something temporary, like a parking lot.

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