As the construction season comes to a close, CNL’s Port Hope team is reiterating that they are taking feedback from Port Hope residents about the cleanup very seriously. Addressing concerns about the cleanup taking too long, the loss of trees and “chasing arsenic” was the main theme of the quarterly PHAI update to the Municipality of Port Hope Council on December 3. While Scott Parnell, General Manager at CNL’s Port Hope office started the presentation by providing a status update on the current projects including work at the Port Hope Harbour and at the West Beach area, it was the remediation of about 40 properties that was the main focus.
CNL has received considerable feedback from the community about the project, and staff is listening, said Parnell. He then explained that CNL will not be starting exterior clean-up work on additional private properties until spring 2020 and will use the time between now and then to develop ways to address the concerns.
Community feedback has suggested making changes to the PHAI Clean-up Criteria to eliminate “chasing arsenic.” This term refers to the continued excavation of soil on a property to remove very low levels of arsenic, long after the radiological components have been cleaned up, in order to verify that a property meets clean-up criteria. However, changing the criteria may be a lengthy regulatory process, Parnell explained, so CNL is also evaluating different methods of verifying that waste has been removed from a property that will shorten the time required to clean up a property.
In highlighting work being done at the Port Hope waterfront sites, Parnell indicated that about one million tonnes of waste have already been placed into long-term storage at the mound. He also reported that work on the site near the West Beach has speeded up as record high lake levels have dropped, with shoring and sheet piling measures being used to control the water. Parnell also indicated that work is expected to move from the West Beach to the Mill Street site in the spring.
With regard to giving residents owners more choice about the extent of cleanup on their properties, Parnell stated that CNL has been engaging with property owners through focus groups, resident group meetings and a public information session. The feedback is that people want the opportunity to make choices about what happens on their property, and CNL is looking at ways to make that happen, said Parnell.
Mayor Sanderson thanked CNL for the presentation and added that CNL continues to have the support of the municipality, and that the two parties are working together to address concerns expressed by the public.