Trees are being removed from a former industrial site on Huron Street to make room for condominiums.
Earlier this month, the City of Guelph announced that it had approved a permit to remove 700 trees from the site in order to clean up contaminated soil there.
Mitchell Fasken of Kimshaw Holdings, the property’s owner, tells the Mercury Tribune that the work is being done to make room for a residential development at the site, including cleaning up and renovating the former four-storey Uniroyal plant on the site for condos.
“The balance of the site will be redeveloped for probably for condominium townhomes, I expect,” Fasken says, adding Kimshaw is currently in the process of finalizing its submission to the city for rezoning the land for the development.
Other buildings on the site, including a single-storey shed and a two-storey building that used to serve as office space for the plant, will be torn down, he adds.
Fasken says the decision was made to remove the 700 trees on the south end of the property due to contamination from the site’s industrial past.
“Part of our site remediation requires an extensive characterization of the entire site of not only the portion of the site that is occupied by the plant and the little single-storey warehouse and a two-storey office, but also of all the entire woodlot,” he says.
“What we found is throughout that woodlot, that old fill material had levels of metals and other impacts that exceed the (provincial) standards for residential or industrial/commercial land use.”
Fasken added that what is now trees had originally been an above ground quarry from the turn of the 20th century up until the early 1950s. Twenty years later, in the 1970s, fill was brought into the area, the fill that is now being removed.
The developer had two options for cleaning up the site: remove all of the soil and take it to landfill for disposal, or remove all of the high-level contamination and place a soil cap — a layer of clean soil — on top of the remainder. Either way, Fasken says, the trees would have to be cut down.
As for when the development will get underway, Fasken says it depends on site approvals from the city, as well as approvals from the province.
“We expect that we should be through that process by the end of next year … and we expect we can begin renovations to the main building by the fall of 2018, but with the majority of the work to be undertaken, in terms of new construction, in early 2018.”