Environmental site assessment work is set to begin by the Government of the Northwest Territories this summer on four properties formerly owned by the former Northern Transportation Company (NTCL).

The properties in question, located adjacent to the Poison Graphics shop on the highway near the intersection with 107 Street, had been transferred to the Town of Hay River in June 2019 by the GNWT. As part of that transfer the territorial government had agreed to conduct an environmental site assessment and remediate the land to industrial standards.

According to the Department of Infrastructure, the properties had been owned by NTCL since the early 1970s.

Senior administrative officer Glenn Smith said during the July 20 town council meeting that the town had a meeting earlier this month with GNWT officials on needed environmental assessment work on the properties.

“It sounds like things have been approved from a dollars perspective from the GNWT and they will work toward Phase 1 this summer,” he said.

“I expect to have a coordination meeting with those departments to talk about any preparation needed on our front and other aspects of completing that work.”

According to the department, a work plan is currently being developed for the first phase of the assessment.

“The first stage of the work involves environmental site assessments of the properties, in accordance with the practices and principles established by the Canadian Standards Association,” stated Sonia Idir, spokesperson for the Department of Infrastructure in a July 23 email.

“The purpose of the environmental site assessments will be to research the historical activities and events at the sites and neighbouring properties to understand the likelihood for environmental risk, assess the surface and subsurface of the sites to evaluate and confirm the presence and types of contamination.”

Upon completion of the assessment, the department will be able to conduct further investigative work or develop a remediation plan, she added.

While the GNWT will take the lead, Idir said the Town could provide assistance in terms of helping to understand the historical use of the sites.

“As landlord of the properties, they may also assist with site access,” she said.

Idir said that a budget hasn’t yet been established but will be determined after the initial findings of the investigative work.

Simon Whitehouse

Simon Whitehouse came to Yellowknife to work with Northern News Services in 2011. Simon obtained his journalism education at Algonquin College and the University of Ottawa. Simon can be reached at...

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