By Timothy Schafer, The Nelson Daily
Although by definition one area of the Nelson Landing waterfront development is a brown field, approving a development on the land isn’t as big of a gamble as it may seem, says the City’s senior planner.
With the former Kootenay Forest Products mill once occupying the waterfront site now owned by Nelson Landing Development Corp. — in line for a proposed 190- to 205-unit housing development — there will have to be some work done to make that site habitable, said Dave Wahn.
However, the Province, the City and the property owner all have an interest to make sure it is developed accordingly, he said.
What there is on that property is an agreement in principle, subject to certain conditions, that could allow it to be developed for residential purposes, Wahn said. And, effectively, that means capping the existing land with fill.
“If you look at Sorensen’s proposal he is not looking at putting in basements, it’s all slab on grade,” said Wahn.
As long as the developers meet certain capping requirements they can move forward to build with the Certificate of Compliance from the Province in hand.
Unlike in the case of Kutenai Landing — where the developers were going to put in full basements with underground parking — the Nelson Landing developer will be building on the surface of the land and any contaminants (likely wood debris) will be safely capped, said Wahn.
If you look at most of the City’s waterfront on the waterside of the CP railway tracks, most of that is land that has been created, filled in, over the years.
Where the Chahko Mika Mall now resides was a lake, said Wahn, so to where the soccer fields now sit.
“Most of the waterfront has been filled in, like the airport, filled in over time,” said Wahn. “And we’ve created parcels of land based on that.”
Buildings will be developed in accordance
Nelson Landing Development Corp. is fully aware of what building construction will entail on the former Kootenay Forest Products site, said Wahn.
They want to effectively float these buildings on top of the ground and protect and insulate the residential side from the contamination down below, he said.
There is some documentation on the contamination, Wahn said, and it is mostly wood chips, sawdust and woody debris with soil and rock.
“In Nelson Landing they know what is there, they know the requirements for All Safe Standards, and they should get a Certificate of Compliance if they do all things required (in the agreement in principle),” he said.
Most fill cavities are built with a dike of compacted rocks and soil. After lining the middle with heavy plastic, waste is dumped into the middle. When the space fills it is covered with a heavy clay soil to form a seal.