Jonathan Wilson, Hawkesbury’s director of public works, provided council with a verbal report February 27 on the situation involving the site where the Catholic elementary school once stood. The Town of Hawkesbury now owns the property after purchasing the land from the Conseil scolaire de district catholique de l’Est Ontario (CSDCEO) several years ago after the school was closed.
The building wss demolished and the town did an environmental assessment study (EA) of the grounds as part of preliminary preparations for listing it for sale to any interested developer. The EA report noted signs of some soil contamination by subsurface oil and other materials but confirmed that the school building that once stood on the site was not the source of the contamination.
A decision on the future of the property has been on hold since the first EA report. Wilson’s report to council Monday night was in response to a request from Councillor Yves Paquette for an update on the status of the Christ-Roi property.
The public works director told council that the original EA report had recommended a second environmental assessment study to determine the source of the contamination indicated in the first study. He also observed that a second EA would also help with determining the possible value of the property when the town does put it on the market for sale. He noted that any potential buyer would need to know all specifics about the land, including the sources of any contamination, to help determine what kind of protection might be needed in a development design to safeguard the site from any future problems.
Several members of council also expressed interest in having the source of contamination to the property confirmed and also an update on the amount of money that the town has spent so far on the property since it was acquired from the CSDCEO.
Director Wilson and his staff will now prepare a more detailed report on the status of the Christ-Roi property, including a summary of the municipality’s expenses to date on the land, and an estimated cost for a second and more detailed EA study. Wilson indicated during a later interview that his department should have the report ready for council in April.