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History - Millstream Meadows is located approximately 10km north-northwest of Victoria in the District of Highlands. Millstream Meadows is a 32 acre site used as an unregulated landfill for septic discharge dating from approximately 1941 to closure in 1985. The site was privately owned from early 1941 until 1972. The Province acquired, owned and operated the site for a brief time in 1974, and then transferred ownership to the Capital Regional District (CRD) in 1984.
The CRD and the provincial government, as potentially responsible persons, initiated site remediation in 2008 after monitoring results identified contamination on-site but downgradient of the former waste lagoons. The remediation work involved excavating most of the contaminated soils, disposing the material at permitted offsite facilities, backfilling the excavation with clean material and installing a groundwater recovery well. Prior to remediation, the site was deemed contaminated with the metals, hydrocarbons, household debris, construction refuse, auto parts, PCBs, sewage, and oily waste. Site conditions have improved since remediation commenced in 2008.
In 2007, as a precautionary measure that ensures public safety, the CRD instituted routine domestic well sampling and drinking water provision to residents near the site. Results have consistently shown that domestic well water quality is clean. These proactive safety measures continue to date.
Provincial Partnership - The Province, the CRD and the District of Highlands have worked cooperatively on this brownfields project to return the property to public use. The CRD is taking the lead in the remediation program and costs are being shared in a 61%/39% split with the provincial government.
Environmental Planning - Currently, the Millstream Meadows project is in the active remediation phase, which includes ongoing environmental investigations and monitoring as required by the B.C. Ministry of Environment (MOE). Next steps include additional investigations of groundwater and vapour and revisions to the conceptual site model. The results of the current investigations will inform the scope and estimated timeline for project completion.
The CRD plans to obtain a Certificate of Compliance from the MOE to confirm full protection of human health and the environment and then sell the property. The preliminary timeline to complete full remediation and prepare the site for sale is approximately four years (i.e. 2020). The approach is being vetted through the MOE and is in accordance with the Environmental Management Act and Contaminated Sites Regulation.
Future Land Use Planning - In 2015, the CRD initiated re-zoning to Commercial Industrial Land Use. The current zoning is Greenbelt 2 and permits one (1) residential house to be constructed on the lot. The re-zoning is in accordance with the District of Highlands Official Community Plan and is supported by the Province. If the re-zoning is successful, the CRD will consider short term rental of parts of the site to offset the costs of the remediation. It is anticipated that the property will eventually be available for re-development as new commercial or light industrial lands.
Recent Activities - In 2016, the CRD procured SNC-Lavalin Inc. to provide environmental consulting services in support of project goals. The next stage of investigation commenced in November 2016 and investigations are expected to continue through 2017.
© Image courtesy of Minette Layne