Williams Lake City Council received a report regarding the Federal Government's reclamation of contaminated soils associated with the old fire training area at the Williams Lake Regional Airport. On July 5, 1996, the City entered into an 'Agreement to Transfer' with the Federal Government for transfer of the Williams Lake Airport to the City.
The formal transfer was executed on December 12, 1996 through a lease arrangement, followed by transfer in Fee Simple on December 31, 1998.
As part of the transfer process, Transport Canada engaged the services of UMA Environmental Limited (UAM) to conduct an Environmental Baseline Study (EBS) of the Williams Lake Airport. The purpose of the EBS was to conduct a site environmental audit update, conduct field screening and detailed contaminated site investigations, prepare a baseline study summary and prepare a remedial action plan for the priority one and two items identified. One of the issues identified and confirmed by the EBS was soil contamination at the fire training areas. As a result, Transport Canada confirmed in a November 29, 1996 letter to the City Administrator (attachment A) that they would undertake to perform the required remediation of these hazardous substances in accordance with applicable provincial environmental laws including remediating contaminated ground water and surficial soil contamination at the existing fire training area and remediating deep soil contamination at the existing and former fire training areas. Public Works Canada
contracted a private environmental engineering firm in 2005 to undertake the necessary remediation work and that work has been ongoing since that time.
In recent months, similar contamination issues were identified at the Hamilton Airport and media from the Hamilton area has been inquiring as to the status of the Williams Lake Airport contamination. Government's responsibility to address two of the identified areas of high priority, including the fire training areas.
The City has had no involvement in the remediation process other than to be informed of the progress on an annual basis and to provide access to the site.
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