May 24, 2004

Ottawa to spend $175M to clean up high-priority contaminated sites on federal land

The federal government will spend $175 million to help clean up 57 priority contaminated sites under federal responsibility at various locations across Canada. This is a prelude to the larger commitment, made in the 2004 federal budget, of more than $3.5 billion in long-term funding for remediation of contaminated sites on federal lands.

Federal Environment Minister David Anderson announced the funding allocation at the Harvey Barracks site in Calgary. The former Canadian Forces Base is one of ten urban sites assigned high priority for remediation under the Federal Contaminated Sites Accelerated Action Plan. The government is also working with 47 rural and northern communities across Canada on similar initiatives to reduce the environmental and health risks posed by contaminants.

"As the largest property owner in the country, the Government of Canada has a responsibility to ensure that past contamination of sites under federal responsibility are addressed, and that human health and the environment is protected for all Canadians," Anderson said.

Over the past decade, the federal government has spent $72 million to clean up the Harvey Barracks site; this figure includes more than $6 million allocated in 2003-04 under the accelerated program. The additional $900,000 this year from the accelerated program will enable the final work to be completed so that the land can be returned to the Tsuu T'ina Nation.

National Defence Minister David Pratt noted that "the environmental remediation of the former CFB Calgary has been a success, not only from a remediation perspective, but also because the project has led to the development of new technology and expertise for both the Department of National Defence and the Tsuu T'ina Nation."

The accelerated program, announced in the 2003 federal budget, will provide more than $126 million between April 2003 and March 2005 for cleanup activities at 47 priority sites in rural and northern Canada. Among them are the Faro Mine in Yukon, the Colomac Mine in the Northwest Territories, various Distant Early Warning line sites, Resolution Island, the Suffield Canadian Forces base in Alberta and Canadian Forces Base Greenwood in Nova Scotia.

The 2004 federal budget investment of $3.5 billion over ten years will ensure continuation of remedial work on these and upwards of 3,800 federal contaminated sites. It also committed $500 million for shared responsibility sites, such as Sydney Tar Ponds which recently received $280 million from this program (ELW May 17).

More information on the federal Contaminated Sites Inventory is available on the Treasury Board Secretariat Web site, www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/dfrp-rbif/cs-sc/location40.asp?Language=EN.

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