Environmental regulations changes will provide an opportunity to restore Chatham-Kent brownfield sites for business use.
Municipal officials say on December 4, 2019, the Government of Ontario announced changes to a number of regulations regarding the redevelopment of brownfield sites and the management of excess soils generated during construction.
“The goal of these changes is to help communities such as Chatham-Kent redevelop valuable prime land and ensure it is not wasted,” stated Gabriel Clarke, Environmental Planner with Chatham-Kent Planning Services, in a press release.
“There is an opportunity for our developers and property owners to now be able to clean up and redevelop vacant lands thanks to the removal of several barriers.”
Clarke added: “By making the land available again, it can be used to help grow our local economy which will create new jobs.”
The management of excess soils during the construction of large development projects in Ontario currently accounts for approximately 14% of the overall construction cost, which is a significant expense that drives up real estate prices.
The new regulations will make it easier to reuse high quality excess soil locally, reduce greenhouse gas emissions generated by trucking excess soils and prevent good excess soils from being disposed in landfills.
The regulations also requires developers to create excess soil management plans and to determine soil quality for certain types of construction projects before any soil is allowed to leave the project area.
“It’s important to point out though that not all of the changes are in effect immediately and will be phased in over the next few years,” said Bruce McAllister, Director of Planning Services, in a media release.
“For example, the landfilling of excess soil requirement does not come into effect until Jan 1, 2025 and others come into effect later in 2020 and in 2022.”
Ontario is also streamlining the process for redeveloping brownfields, which are sites that were formerly used for industrial or commercial purposes and are likely to have been contaminated as a result of previous activities.
The new rules will make it easier to clean up and redevelop brownfield sites which will provide more certainty to developers while also benefiting the neighbourhood and the wider community.
“The changes that have been implemented will benefit Chatham-Kent directly by reducing the costs of construction and opening up new possibilities to redevelop brownfield sites in our community, some of which are located in highly desirable areas,” stated Stuart McFadden, Director of Economic Development for Chatham-Kent, in a press release.
“This is another opportunity for our development community to explore as we look to grow in 2020 and beyond.”
Additional information on the new regulations can be found here: https://ero.ontario.ca/notice/013-5000#decision-details .