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Learn more about Cobourg's tannery site at Wednesday meeting

Cecilia Nasmith

By Cecilia Nasmith, Northumberland Today

Cobourg Mayor Gil Brocanier overlooks  the former tannery site, where testing will begin soon.

Cobourg Mayor Gil Brocanier overlooks the former tannery site, where testing will begin soon.


Members of the public interested in knowing the fate of Cobourg's former tannery property are invited to a public meeting Wednesday evening to learn more.

The 7 p.m. meeting at Victoria Hall will offer a formal presentation by town staff and Genivar Inc., the environmental consultants on the project, with Ministry of Environment representatives in attendance and a question-and-answer session afterwards.

The six-acre property at 96 Alice St., which operated as a tannery until the 1990s, is the subject of the Tannery District Community Improvement Plan, a project that aims to ensure the site's safe redevelopment and to promote future economic opportunities following removal of the buildings in 2007.

The site is private, which would make it the responsibility of the owner. However, it was put up for tax sale by the town in August with no bids received.

The town decided to take the opportunity to review current site conditions and, due to the nature of the tannery industry, called upon Genivar Inc. to conduct a Phase II Environmental Assessment Plan. Testing results indicated some low-level contaminants that were in excess of ministry standards, but they also indicated that the level of contamination was low enough that it bordered on acceptable levels.

Recognizing that the location of contaminated areas may not be fully documented, the town has begun working on behalf of the community to ensure surrounding neighbourhoods are monitored. Partnering again with Genivar Inc., a Contamination Delineation Program was established to be accomplished in two phases.

• In the drilling-and-testing phase, technicians will drill two new monitoring wells on the tannery site and up to five off-site monitoring wells in nearby public areas. This will permit further analysis of both on-site and off-site groundwater impacts.

• The further analysis of results from the drilling-and-testing phase may include additional monitoring wells on affected private properties.

“The town’s highest priority remains ensuring that Cobourg residents have full disclosure when it comes to their community,” Mayor Gil Brocanier said.

“Any concerns of the neighbourhood and eventual redevelopment of the tannery site is of utmost importance, and we will continue to keep residents informed.”

The meeting at Victoria Hall (55 King St. W.) will highlight current site conditions, review any existing test results, explain the phases of the investigation in more detail and answer any additional questions.


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