Township given ultimatum on Shell property

BARRY’S BAY – The Township of Madawaska Valley will be voluntarily conducting further soil testing at the former Shell property to see if there is a potential for offsite contamination.
The decision was made at the December 2 council meeting, where staff reviewed emails between Operations Manager Hilary Kutchkoskie and Lance Larkin, senior environmental officer for the Ministry of the Environment (MOE.) 
In one of the final emails, Larkin said he is prepared to issue a Preventative Measures Order if council does not wish to proceed with testing voluntarily. 
Council decided earlier this year that it would not continue to test the soil, despite Geo-Logic’s warning that neighbouring residential property could be impacted. Geo-Logic, a company based in Pembroke, tested the soil during tank removal and cleanup. 
 “I’ve tried to get a hold of [Larkin] for what he means with all of this and I haven’t gotten [anything] back from him,” Kutchkoskie said at the latest council meeting.
“There is really no reason behind it,” Mayor David Shulist said. “We never got an explanation.”
“I would really like to know what they are basing their demand on,” Neuman added. “Is it based on because a neighbour has complained to MOE enough…?” 
Kutchkoskie said the MOE reviewed Geo-Logic’s report. Essentially, the MOE sided with Geo-Logic, saying further environmental investigations should be conducted at the site. This will likely determine the potential for soil contamination to nearby properties. 
“I would appreciate it if the municipality would be willing to work with the ministry on a voluntary basis,” Larkin wrote in an email to Kutchkoskie. 
If it didn’t, the township would be issued a Preventative Measures Order. There is an appeal process, Larkin outlined, but that could potentially cost the municipality in legal fees and consultants.
“You will have to go to an environmental review tribunal in Toronto and that is a no-no,” Councillor Carl Bromwich said. “They have never yet sided with an opponent.”
The township had until December 2 to make a decision on the matter. The cost estimate for added test holes at the property is around $13,500. 
Read more in the December 4, 2013 issue of The Valley Gazette.