The Government of the Northwest Territories stated that soil contamination cleanup at the former Yk Day Care Association was completed on Nov 6.
The GNWT owns the 5019 51 Street site, where a daycare building and a former RCMP structure once stood.
Work began on Oct. 12 by contractor KBL Environmental Ltd. to remove soil contaminated by a fuel tank leak, according to Agata Gutkowska, spokesperson for the GNWT Department of Infrastructure.
Work was originally expected to be completed by the end of October, but the timeline was extended by another week.
NNSL Media sent initial inquiries to the City of Yellowknife and GNWT Department of Infrastructure on Oct. 23 about digging at the site. On Oct. 26, the municipality responded by saying there were no permits issued on site.
“There are no current permits associated with this location,” stated Debbie Gillard, city clerk. “The city is following up with the contractor on site.”
On Nov. 5, the GNWT stated that KBL Environmental obtained a demolition permit on Oct. 26 “after receiving direction from the City of Yellowknife’s Planning Division.”
Gutkowska stated that the department had expected that there would be need for soil contamination cleanup after an environmental site assessment took place two years ago.
“A site investigation concluded that a possible leak occurred onsite, and a consultant assessed the contamination (in Sept. 2018),” stated Gutkowska.
“It was determined that the underground leak was not a health or safety risk due to its location underground, but it was GNWT’s responsibility to have the contaminants removed, as the building site is owned by the Government of Northwest Territories.
“This (Sept. 2018) finding warranted further testing. Test pits were installed underground and monitored over the course of 12 months. The extent of the fuel leak, which accumulated throughout the lifetime of the building’s operation, was identified.”
In October 2019 the building was demolished.
The department estimates that the cost of the cleanup will be between $130,000 and $150,000, which will come from the GNWT Liability Fund.
The GNWT’s future plans for the site are unclear.
There has been much speculation recently as to where a day shelter structure could be located in Yellowknife, given demand for space has led to the GNWT seeking temporary locations until a solution is found.
According to the 2020-21 Capital Estimates announced last April, the GNWT is planning to have a permanent shelter – a Yellowknife Vulnerable Persons Shelter – built in Yellowknife with a completion date of 2022-23.
Damien Healy, media spokesperson with the Department of Health and Social Services, said no site has yet been selected as the structure is only in its planning stages.
“I can confirm there are no permits or applications filed with the City of Yellowknife on the permanent Wellness and Recovery Centre,” Healy stated in a Nov. 9 email. “At this stage, we are simply confirming the preferred programs to be offered in a new facility based on lessons learned from existing centres.
“We will engage stakeholders when practical while adhering to CPHO (chief public health officer) guidelines.”
NNSL Media contacted KBL Environmental Ltd. but vice-president John Oldfield referred questions to the GNWT.