Nova Scotia

Asbestos, medical waste add $150K to demo job

A $2 million demolition project in the Halifax area is running over budget and behind schedule.

Cole Harbour Rehab centre project months behind schedule

Crews continued to work on parts of the site Monday. (CBC)

A $2-million demolition project in the Halifax area is running over budget and behind schedule.

The job at the former Rehabilitation Centre in Cole Harbour slowed when contractors discovered unexpected contaminants on the site, including asbestos, hydro-carbons and bio-medical waste.

"What they didn't anticipate was under the concrete slab on the south building was ash. That ash is a hazardous material. They also uncovered an underground [oil] tank. They have to deal with that as well," said Shaune MacKinlay, spokeswoman for Halifax Regional Municipality. 

"It's a considerable job. It will add to the time to deal with that site."

The city council will decide whether to spend another $150,000 on the project Tuesday.

The facility sits on a 50-acre site and operated from 1941 to 2002. It was set on fire in 2010.

MacKinlay said dealing with the hazardous material would add about four months to the project.

Waiting for Environment Department approval

According to a staff report prepared for council, the contractor JW Lindsay Enterprises and consultants Dillon Consulting say the complications have increased their costs for everything from site security to the removal of contaminated soil.

According to the report, the project has also been delayed awaiting approval from the provincial Environment Department.

A spokeswoman for the department said they are waiting for a plan to deal with "materials of concern" found on the site.

"We have had preliminary discussions. When we receive it, staff will evaluate their plan to ensure it meets guidelines for the disposal of hazardous materials," said Lori Errington.

The city intends to cap the contaminated area. It said trucking the hazardous material off site would cost another $500,000.