The old Home Hardware Building Centre on 51 St. was before council on Dec. 13, after administration received a letter from Alberta Environment and Parks regarding reclamation and soil testing. (Kevin Sabo/Castor Advance)

The old Home Hardware Building Centre on 51 St. was before council on Dec. 13, after administration received a letter from Alberta Environment and Parks regarding reclamation and soil testing. (Kevin Sabo/Castor Advance)

Updated: Town of Castor on the hook for remediation and testing of old Home Hardware site

Robblee: ‘I’ll go with the cheapest of three companies, but I’m not going to piecemeal this.’

An old property in Castor is coming back to haunt the current council, as they found out during their Dec. 13, 2021, regular council meeting.

The site of the old Home Hardware on 51 St. has been flagged by Alberta Environment and Parks as having been non-satisfactorily reclaimed.

Old documents referred to by the Alberta Environment and Parks letter in the council information package indicate the previous presence of hydrocarbons and lead on the site.

Additionally, the letter also makes reference to the soil that was used to back-fill the property, and the lack of documentation surrounding where it came from.

According to the letter, when the back-fill was done, the soil was purchased, but not tested for contaminants, before it was put in and because the location the soil was taken from cannot be verified, the town may be required to pull it out and replace it with new material to ensure it conforms to legislated guidelines.

Chief administrative officer Christopher Robblee informed council that costs to meet the obligations demanded in the letter could be anywhere from $20,000 to $60,000 based on preliminary estimates.

Robblee also highlighted that this letter was not a request, and that the work must be done by qualified individuals.

In addition to the remediation work, the town is also required to put forward a ground water testing program to monitor for pollutants at the site.

“Groundwater testing is $5,000 a shot,” said Robblee.

“Only certain people can do the testing.”

The town has been given until Feb. 28, 2022, to forward a plan to Alberta Environment and Parks.

In the preliminary research that Robblee has done so far, he has only found three companies capable of doing the work.

“I don’t intend to do this (work) as cheap as possible,” said Robblee.

“I’ll go with the cheapest of three companies, but I’m not going to piecemeal this.”

The last time any testing or work had been done on that site was in January, 2018, when a Phase 3 Environmental Site Assessment was completed.

The old Home Hardware site was first established as a lumber yard in 1909 by O. W. Colley as Acorn Lumber Co. Ltd.

Colley retained ownership of the business until 1956 when he sold it to Revelstoke Lumber Co.

The business was then purchased by Home Hardware Canada and re-branded as a Home Hardware Building Centre in 1987, operated by local managers.

Deciding that more space was needed, construction began on a new, more modern, building at the west end of Main Street in 2005.

The new Home Hardware Building Centre opened in 2009 and the Town of Castor eventually gained possession of the old site.

Editors note: This story has been updated to remove incorrect information regarding the ownership of both the old and new Home Hardware sites. Both sites are owned by Home Hardware Canada, and leased by local operators.

See also: Castor town council hears old retail lot may never be fully cleaned

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