Questions raised about Allandale Station land
Barrie's Allandale station. BARRIE EXAMINER FILE
Peter Ramsay asked his questions about the state of Barrie's Allandale Station property, but didn't like the answers.
Ramsay, a city resident, made a deputation to city council Monday about his concerns for the health of Kempenfelt Bay. He detailed contaminants and chemicals on the Allandale land, at Lakeshore Drive and Tiffin Street, noting its proximity to the bay.
"There's a lot to be concerned about," Ramsay told council. "But the information we are getting is be happy, don't worry. That is not the answer we want to hear. We don't need bafflegab.
"That site is contaminated to hell."
But Mayor Jeff Lehman noted the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit is satisfied with how the city has handled the property, as is Ontario's Ministry of the Environment (MOE).
Ramsay left in a huff before all of his questions were answered.
"People have the right to their own opinions, but people don't have the right to their own facts," Lehman said later. "Look for facts."
The MOE has taken a position on the Allandale Station land.
“Based on the ministry's review of the information/reports that we received on the environmental conditions of the site, there is no indication that the soils are causing or are likely to cause an adverse effect to human health or the environment,” said Chris Hyde, district supervisor of the MOE's Barrie District Office.
“Ministry staff have made several site visits and did not identify conditions that would result in an adverse impact.”
John Kaasalainen, district engineer with the MOE Barrie District Office, says the ministry followed up on concerns related to soil management activities at the former train station that were raised in June 2012.
He said the MOE inspected the location to observe site conditions and met with city representatives.
The city provided ministry officials with reports on the environmental conditions of the soil and groundwater at the site that were completed prior to redevelopment.
“Based on the ministry’s review of the information/reports that we received on the environmental conditions of the site, ministry staff observations, and the city’s actions in addressing the site concerns related to sediment control and removal of soil stockpiles, no ongoing off-site adverse effects have been determined and no further action has been required at this time,” Kaasalainen said.
Leonard Borgdorff, the city's senior project engineer, says the health unit has stated in writing that it is 'confident that the soil or water contamination levels associated with the Allandale Station lands has been dealt with in accordance with MOE requirements and do not represent a risk to the health of the public.'
Borgdorff says a temporary stockpile of materials was first created on the Allandale Station land because the GO station and platform construction resulted in the creation of excess fill, which could not support the weight of the proposed bus/rail shelters and future station building.
The stockpile materials were tested and compared against MOE criteria, which refers to industrial, commercial and community property use.
"Although there were exceedances in several metals, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, the levels of contamination were such that the materials under MOE guidelines could be reused on site," Borgdorff said. "However, the bulk of these soils were removed and properly disposed of."
The metals found in the soil from the GO Station and platform construction are the same metals documented in the Golder reports posted on the city's website (link is: http://www.barrie.ca/Living/projects/Pages/AllandaleTrainStation.aspx).
A portion of the excess material, approximately 1,000 cubic metres, was relocated to another portion of the GO land, to the east of the Allandale Station land, and placed within a berm within a fenced area, and covered with topsoil and seed.
The remaining 2,500 cu. m. of excess material from the stockpile, was disposed of at the licensed facility, Green Soil Inc., North Facility, in Toronto.
The Allandale property is the subject of a multi-million-dollar lawsuit by Correct Group International (CGI) against the city.
CGI filed its original lawsuit in late 2011, claiming breach of contract and bad faith bargaining on the city's part in failed development talks for the old Allandal railway land, which is 9.1 acres in size.
Correct has also alleged breach of contract, of good faith, of trust, negligence, slander, damaging its reputation and fraudulent misrepresentation.
None of the allegations have been proven in court.
In May, 2012 CGI released portions of a confidential Nov. 29, 2010 city staff report which it says was filed with the courts. That staff report said there is mercury contamination on the property and it would cost more than $405,000 to clean it up and haul it away.
City officials countered that the mercury poses no public safety risk, and has been buried there for as long as a century.
Golder Associates, a ground engineering and environmental consulting services company hired by the city, provided a technical memorandum to city staff May 24, 2012 about the Allandale land.
“The mercury levels found in soil during the 2010 subsurface investigations are generally below or comparable to levels found in typical Ontario background soils,” said Theresa Repaso-Subang, Golder's senior risk assessor.
“The highest mercury concentration. . .reported in one surface soil sample. . .is approximately two times higher than typical Ontario background. This is considered to be within normal variability for metals that are found naturally in soils.
“Potential direct contact with the soils on site, including children, is not expected to cause harmful effects,” wrote Repaso-Subang.