The City of Terrace says positive progress has been made so far this year with regards to the development of a number of brownfield sites.
Two city-owned parcels, the former Skeena Cellulose sawmill at Kenney Street and Keith Avenue and the former co-op site downtown, have nearly completed the environmental studies necessary to move forward with redevelopment, according to a release from the city last month on economic developments in Terrace.
Brownfield sites are classified as abandoned or underused commercial or industrial property that has the potential for redevelopment.
Due to past industrial or commercial activity, brownfield sites often contain perceived or actual contamination and B.C.’s Ministry of Environment estimates there are between 4,000 to 6,000 of these sites around the province.
Five acres of the 20-acre brownfield site at Kenney Street and Keith Avenue has already been sold to a private developer for the construction of a new Toyota dealership.
In March of this year, the city hired Active Earth Engineering to perform an environmental investigation at the site to determine if it was ready for redevelopment. The city is now seeking clearance from the ministry to redevelop the remaining 15-acres.
Terrace’s economic development manager Danielle Myles said there is currently no active purchaser in mind for the remaining 15-acres.
“We have been approached by many interested proponents but need to complete this work as a first step,” Myles said. “Getting approval from the Ministry of Environment to develop the property is a necessary first step.”
The city’s Keith Estates Neighbourhood Concept Plan outlines a vision for the area that focuses on light industry and commercial businesses.
The four acre former co-op brownfield site on Greig Avenue has had most of its environmental work completed, Myles said.
Due to a sales agreement with Superior Lodging, a hotel developer hoping to purchase three of the four acres, the city received clearance from the Ministry of Environment to subdivide the property.
“We expect that a current sales agreement for nearly three acres will be able to close in the near future,” Myles said about the Superior deal.
Myles added a detailed site investigation, most of which has already been completed, is required in order to receive final approval.
The city has no specific plans or details about what will happen to the remaining one acre strip on the eastern end of the property. But Myles said council does have a vision for “a community space for at least part of it.”
The one acre eastern portion of the property will also require a certificate of compliance from the ministry, meaning any possible contamination on the property and the handling of it for the purpose of redevelopment will be monitored by the provincial government.
Although the city has a sales agreement with Superior Lodging, Alberta-based Pomeroy Lodging has also expressed interested in the four acre property. The company has proposed building a new convention centre, hotel and casino, effectively absorbing Chances gaming centre here and expanding the number of slot machines.
Pomeroy representatives were supposed to present to city council May 24 but were unable to attend. They did, however, offer the city their report, which included a site plan that demonstrated the company’s desire to make full use of the property’s four acre size, save for the northwest corner that’s already owned by the Skeena Brewing Company.
Pomeroy’s interest in the site can’t void the city’s sales agreement with Superior Lodging, but Myles said the city has shared information about the property and a possible timeline for redevelopment with any proponent that has expressed interest.
“I can’t speak to elements of the Pomeroy project, pertaining to that property, as we have yet to begin those discussions,” Myles said.
Elsewhere, there are two other privately-owned brownfield sites in Terrace, one along the south side of Keith Avenue and another at the former Shell bulk station on Keith Avenue near the Sande overpass.
According to the economic update release from the city, the former Shell bulk station site has received clearance from the Ministry of Environment to redevelop and the city is currently in discussion with the landowner about plans for a new development.
The landowner of another site on the south side of Keith Avenue has indicated wanting to develop a motel there. Clearance has been received from the ministry to rezone and subdivide the property.
However, final clearance from the province is still required.