Transport Canada completes the Victoria Middle Harbour Remediation Project and transfers land to the City of Victoria

News release

July 24, 2019 – Victoria

A clean Victoria harbour is an area enjoyed by residents and tourists now and for generations to come. It is also essential for the well-being of local marine wildlife, as it is an important feeding ground and source of food.

Today, the Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport, announced completion of the Middle Harbour Remediation Project to remove contaminants from the local Victoria harbour ecosystem. He also announced an agreement in principle to transfer ownership of Laurel Point Park from Transport Canada to the City of Victoria.

Laurel Point Park was home to a paint factory from 1906 until the early 1970s. Industrial activities left contaminants in the soil. While these contaminants did not pose a risk to residents and park users, they did threaten the environment and marine life. Transport Canada partnered with the City of Victoria to remediate the contaminated soil on both City and federal property.

The Laurel Point Park cleanup was the final phase of the project. The first phase successfully removed and addressed contaminated underwater sediment in Victoria harbour. The second and final phase removed and addressed contaminated soil at Laurel Point Park, backfilling of the area with clean soil and re-turfing the park.

With the project complete, Transport Canada will transfer approximately 1.91 acres of federally owned land to the City of Victoria. The land transfer agreement is pending a minimum year-long post-remediation review, which includes environmental sampling of soil and groundwater. The agreement also requires that all parties are satisfied with the monitoring results before transferring ownership.

Quotes

“The Government of Canada takes its responsibility to clean up federal contaminated sites like Victoria’s Middle Harbour seriously. Today’s announcement demonstrates concrete action and illustrates our ongoing commitment to protecting Canada’s marine environment and residents."

The Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport

“We are committed to cleaning up the environment while investing in communities and creating good middle-class jobs. I am proud of the work accomplished as part of the local Victoria harbour remediation project and the enduring benefits of this work for residents, visitors and marine life.”

The Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Public Services and Procurement and Accessibility

"We have a great partnership with Transport Canada on this project. We’re cleaning up the contamination of the past to create a safer environment for the future.  I would like to thank the federal government for transferring their lands to the people of Victoria so we can combine them with ours to create a spectacular new waterfront park. Neighbours, the Songhees and Esquimalt Nations, and the entire community will help us create a vision for this natural jewel steeped in history at the edge of our spectacular harbour.”

Mayor Lisa Helps, City of Victoria

Quick facts

  • The Middle Harbour Remediation Project was funded through Canada’s Federal Contaminated Sites Action Plan (FCSAP). FCSAP provides funding to assess and remediate federal contaminated sites and is coordinated by Environment and Climate Change Canada and the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat.

  • In all, 3,000 tonnes of contaminated sediment were removed from Victoria harbour and 75,000 tonnes of contaminated soil (52 barge loads) were removed from Laurel Point Park.

  • The land where Laurel Point Park is situated is the last major surplus property owned by Transport Canada to be divested in Victoria harbour. Over the past 23 years, Transport Canada has divested department-owned land around the harbour to the Province of British Columbia, local municipalities, the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority, First Nations, regional government, and other federal government departments and private interests.

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Contacts

Delphine Denis
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Marc Garneau
Minister of Transport, Ottawa
613-991-0700
delphine.denis@tc.gc.ca

Media Relations
Transport Canada, Ottawa
613-993-0055
media@tc.gc.ca
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