Money in budget to expand Hopedale remediation assessment


Published on April 18, 2017

This map shows the area currently in the process of, or earmarked for remediation in the Hopedale area. The province recently set aside money in the budget to expand the assessment.

©Submitted

The former United States military site near Hopedale has been the subject of a lengthy remediation program that has cost upwards of $13 million so far.

The work isn’t done yet and the provincial government is also now looking to expand the assessment done at the sites.

To that end, $250,000 was allocated in the most recent provincial budget for the expanded assessment of the area; something Lake Melville MHA Perry Trimper said has was a priority for him when he was Minister of the Environment and Climate Change and remains a priority for the current minister, Eddie Joyce.

There are tens of thousands of contaminated sites across the country, Trimper said, and unfortunately, some of them are in our province. Work to date at the Hopedale site has included environmental testing, human health and ecological risk assessments, and remediation of PCB-impacted soil and tar.

“The challenge and unfortunate situation is that’s it’s always through some sort of negligence or corporate lapse that provincial and federal governments end up inheriting contaminated sites,” he said. “On the negligence side, and how that’s comes about in terms of what’s happening in Labrador, folks just weren’t aware of these hazards or the cost to clean up these sites was a poor estimate.”

He said the awareness of what some of these hazards can do regarding human health is so much more sophisticated now and when he was minister the provincial government had started a dialogue with the Minister of National Defense.

“What he (Joyce) hopefully can do is soon conclude a multi-million dollar agreement with DND and the federal government to continue to remediate sites that would have been in their responsibility,” he said. “The money is to expand the assessment, to help prepare the proposals and matching documents the federal governments will come to us with. Together the two jurisdictions will continue with the cleaning up of past historic contaminated sites.”

Trimper said this is part of the provincial governments’ commitment to leverage as much as possible any opportunity for funding that may be available through the federal government.