District of Clearwater should renew its efforts to get brownfield funding for the former planer mill on the Flats, according to Dr. Bob Mackenzie.
“I’ve been trying to do something as an individual and getting nowhere,” the retired physician told town council on Aug. 20. “The planer mill site and the road from Station Road to the confluence of the Clearwater and North Thompson rivers have great potential value to the community.”
The planer mill site could be the location of a festival ground, community garden, greenhouse, and other facilities for local residents and tourists. The area around the road near the confluence could be flattened and used as an interpretive center for the keekwillies or pit-houses in the nearby section of North Thompson Provincial Park.
The site has been unused since about 1986, when the former Clearwater Timber Products (CTP) shut down.
Slocan took over CTP in about 1987 and Mackenzie showed his proposal to develop the site to the then local Slocan manager.
The manager was quite enthusiastic but the proposal got nowhere, apparently because of concerns from company headquarters about possible pollution of the site.
A similar situation developed after Canfor bought out Slocan in 2004. There was support for the proposal from local company representatives and opposition from head office.
Locals tell him the soil at the site has been contaminated by wood preservatives and transformers, Mackenzie said.
“It needs to be handled. It’s criminal not to,” he said. “The law says that if you don’t disturb the land you don’t need to look at it, which is kind of peculiar, when you think about it.”
Mayor John Harwood noted that councillor Ken Kjenstad has looked into getting funding through BC Brownfield Renewal, but so far without success.
Thompson-Nicola Regional District obtained brownfield funding to remediate CTP’s former Camp Two sawmill before building the new eco-depot there, the mayor noted.
District of Clearwater has applied to Canfor to put a road through the property to access its sewage treatment lagoons, Harwood said.