Elkford brownfields to get renewal

A brownfield is an abandoned or underused industrial or commercial property, often contaminated and with strong redevelopment potential.

The B.C. Government is investing up to $96,000 to help clean up two brownfield sites in Elkford and Cranbrook and get them ready for redevelopment.

The City of Elkford is receiving $2,125 to help turn a decommissioned wastewater treatment facility into a community recreational area.

“We’re using these funds to get us through the final stage of environmental studies which will give us free title to the land,” said Curtis Helgeson, District of Elkford chief administrative officer.

Tembec Inc. in Cranbrook is receiving up to $94,288 to help redevelop the site of a closed sawmill.

This is part of a $1.5 million brownfield renewal-funding program, which supports 19 projects in 13 B.C. communities. It is helping to turn former industrial sites into usable property.

Since its creation in 2008, the Brownfield Renewal Program has provided close to $6 million for 101 projects in more than 50 communities. The funding is available to private property owners including local governments, First Nations, non-profit agencies and businesses. The program assists projects in their initial stages by funding site contamination studies and research, to develop options for site restoration and redevelopment.

A brownfield is an abandoned or underused industrial or commercial property, often contaminated and with strong redevelopment potential. Renewing brownfield properties can increase commercial space, create employment, improve safety, enhance green space and reduce pressure on existing land.

“Brownfield sites lower property values, provide minimal tax revenues, and impact the growth of communities. They can even pose health risks,” says Kootenay East MLA Bill Bennett. “This funding and the ensuing redevelopment is a step toward a healthier community, as well as economic spinoffs for the people of Cranbrook and Elkford.”

The Province estimates that there are between 4,000 and 6,000 brownfield sites, including urban, rural and waterfront locations across British Columbia.