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Government Dock partially open to public
City still negotiating lease with federal government

Svjetlana Mlinarevic
Northern News Services
Published Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Government Dock is finally clean and clear and open to the public - sort of.

NNSL photo/graphic

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans has finished cleaning up Government Dock in Old Town. The city is still contemplating what to put there once it completes its negotiations with the federal department, but it will likely be some sort of park space. - Svjetlana Mlinarevic/NNSL photo

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) completed its clean-up and remediation of the site on Nov. 9 according to Warren Ford, senior divestiture officer for the DFO real property management branch. However, it has limited access to the public.

According to Jeff Humble, director of planning and development for the city, the area will be open to pedestrians and patrons of T.J.'s Nut Hut and the workshop next door.

"Generally speaking, it's a public wharf and is designed for certain uses so things like commercial mooring and activities that occur in the summer time don't typically occur in the winter time. If there are things that typically occur we will allow access for that to happen but I don't see that as being necessary. There are signs on site for no authorized parking or mooring, so generally speaking, we're kind of upholding that position," said Humble, who noted the signs will stay up until the city completes lease negotiations and consults with the public about the site.

"The DFO is awaiting the final report from their contractor who did the work and the city is waiting to see that report before we sign the lease," said Mayor Mark Heyck.

According to Ford, the contractor's report will take about a month before it's submitted to the DFO and the city.

"There weren't plans per say (as to what was going to be done with the site) other than to create a public space out of it. The next step is that once the report is complete and the lease is signed, is to engage with the community and the neighbourhood to determine what people would like to see in that space."

Residents have long used the area to park vehicles, boats and other items - some of them for years - before the city ordered the property to be removed ahead of the cleanup.

Approximately 250 cubic metres of soil was removed from the site, Ford said.

The contaminated soil contained high levels of copper and petroleum hydrocarbons from maintenance work and fuel spillages over the years. The soil has been shipped to Fort Nelson, B.C., for disposal.

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