Clean up of Victoria's Rock Bay toxic site nearly complete
First Nations set to purchase land where Rock Bay gasification plant once operated
The federal government's remediation of one of B.C.'s most contaminated sites is wrapping up.
The Rock Bay property in Victoria, which will now be sold to local First Nations, operated on Victoria's upper harbour until 1952.
In its early days, the coal gasification plant helped to power Victoria.
Millions spent on clean up
Work on cleaning up the land where the plant was has taken more than a decade.
Canada's Minister of Transport Marc Garneau toured the site Monday.
"In those days, people were not as conscious about environmental factors. Over that time, there was a lot of toxic material that got into the soil, that got into the groundwater, that got into the water."
Ian Chatwell, a project manager with the cleanup said wildlife is returning to the area.
"We have what, I believe, is a resident blue heron already making its nest in our planting beds."
First Nations to purchase land
Once final monitoring of the land is complete, the Songees and Esquimalt First Nations plan on purchasing the property, which is located on the edge of downtown Victoria.
"We have an opportunity to be able to grow economically and be part of the economy," said Andy Thomas, a hereditary chief of the Esquimalt First Nation.
BC Hydro has also spent $90 million over the past 20 years to to clean up its section of the site.
With files from Megan Thomas