Building Gold on Contaminated Ground?

By  | March 5, 2012 | 13 Comments | Filed under: Editorial, Enbridge

The city is building Green Buildings on shaky ground, and trying to fool everyone with a fog of green smoke surrounded by gold mirrors. Silver isn’t good enough, our council wants Cambridge to be the greenest city in Canada.

We already have the “greenest” city hall in Canada, and as of March 5 all new municipal buildings must be certified “gold” under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design standards. Taxpayers will pay higher costs for meeting the gold requirements on new city buildings over 5,400 square feet. Earning the gold rating can raise construction costs by as much as 10 per cent, compared to seven per cent for silver.

Staff recommended silver be the minimum standard until Councillors opted to “go for gold” by a vote of 6-2. Karl Kiefer and Ben Tucci, supported the minimum silver target for new buildings.

As council debates green smoke and expensive mirrors to fool the rest of the world, Cambridge residents know the truth. The city is replete with pockets of contaminated soil, and the groundwater is in danger from the aging pipeline that runs through the area, but titles are more important than actually doing something.

Although the city claims it doesn’t have a comprehensive list of “Brownfields” you don’t have to look far in any area of the city to find one.

In fact, right by the “greenest” city hall in Canada is one of the most contaminated sites in the city. Go to the City Hall Parking Lot on Wellington St. and you can see a large empty lot across Mill Creek on Shade St, the site of the former Malibu Iron Foundry.

Prime Real Estate, the soil is too contaminated to entice a developer to pay the cost of soil reclamation. For years, many factories were in the habit of dumping waste chemicals anywhere and everywhere that was convenient with no forethought for the environment. . Similar lots can be seen throughout the city.

In between the Riverbank Restaurant and the Waterscape Condos.  The former Mandell’s at Bruce and Ainslie. The former 7/11 on King St. in Preston. Silknit/Dominion Woolens. Joy Manufacturing. Kanmet. Challenger Motor Freight.. The list goes on, I’m sure Citizen Readers could fill this page.

And of course, there is the Enbridge Oil Line that runs right outside town. Mayor Craig refuses to acknowledge the potential problem, and is seem not at all concerned that the “Emergency Plan” Enbridge has on file here is over a decade old.

Like the ceremonial title of “Groundwater Guardian of Waterloo Region” this gold standard is nothing but another expensive bauble in Mayor Craig’s Crown. Instead of seeking pretentious titles for non-existent buildings if council wants to do something for the environment with our tax dollars use it to fix the problems we already have.

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13 Responses to Building Gold on Contaminated Ground?

  1. Allan Dettweiler March 6, 2012 at 2:34 am

    Yup, but the Mayor has enough voters fooled to get re-elected.
    Watch for the Mayor to waste even more money on something glitzy in Galt, Preston and Hespeler. Just in time to get re-elected.
    Oh Maggie, we need you as our Saviour.

  2. malcolm March 6, 2012 at 9:00 am

    Only green I see is from taxpayers into Mayor Craig and City Council pockets.

  3. Thomas Vann March 6, 2012 at 10:28 am

    It is a fine article Scott. It is so easy to spend money when it’s not yours. On the other site I expressed my concern that the usual ducks followed each other and patted each other on the back for a trumped up cut to the bone budget while pushing for gold. Tucci was rejected by the ducks for several common sense cuts that were not enforced. Thank heavens the Firemen got their 3%+ wage increase and the please don’t quit bonus pay of what $3,000.00+. Heavens forbid they uproot and leave the 24 7 non sleeping work environment they have to put up with. The people on pension and minimum wage will again love this one. Thank-you Liberals. Yes Cambridge we got what we allowed to happen in this town. Hang on to your wallets folks more on the way. By the way, who is paying for the hydro poles at the Drayton Theater location to all be moved? Seems like the building was built too close to the hydro lines and had to be uprooted and moved at what l heard from 50-100 grand. Nice. Quack, quack.

  4. les March 7, 2012 at 7:29 am

    At long last an article with teeth Scot. It’s why I read these things, gee you couldn’t tell.
    Building Gold is governments view of ” job creation”. The only problem is that all government projects are over budget and over priced using our money as legacy projects when there is none to be had. In good times it’s quite acceptable by the public for government to build momuments with which they can pat themselves on the back. Those days have left many years ago and don’t stand a chance of returning for a long time. In Cambridge however, we seem to have money that grows on trees. Huge raises coupled with outof site benefits, retention fees, new departments with of course new and expensive staff. A new complex for a private company who uses grants to stay afloat and convinces our city officials to build them their own facility for the public will have to pay to use while they do not.

    Cambridge is rife with hazardous mess and as you state, buildings, such as the new theatre complex, are being allowed to be built on top of known and accepted by the MOE contanimation. The MOE writes, it’s the city’s responsibility to determine how much contamination exists, where it is and then to do something about it. If they don’t, then they are liable. Sure. That’s “US” the tax payer they are talking about. Can we the private sector do that with our property? Nope!
    Council is way out of control and the newbees on it have fallen into line as expected. Allan, I’m afraid it will take much more than a Maggie to fix this mess.

  5. Allan Dettweiler March 7, 2012 at 9:20 am

    OK Les, you can help Maggie.

  6. Scot Ferguson-Barber March 7, 2012 at 11:37 am

    Doug just called me about this. He wants to discuss this, and a few other things like Enbridge. We seem to have gotten his attention.

  7. les March 7, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    Scot, please tell me what the purpose of him calling you possibly might be.
    Would it be to tell you, that you are out to lunch ?
    Of course it would. Wear your hat old boy and double up on the tin foil.
    Waterproof the outside as the S#&t will be flying.

  8. Scot Ferguson-Barber March 7, 2012 at 12:55 pm

    “The time has come,” the Walrus said,
    To talk of many things:
    Of shoes–and ships–and sealing-wax–
    Of cabbages–and kings–
    And why the sea is boiling hot–
    And whether pigs have wings.”

  9. Mrs. R.D.M March 8, 2012 at 6:30 pm

    Scot, honest question – do you intend for your comments about “Doug” calling you to be as egotistical as they sound? It reeks of name dropping to me but I’m not completely sure if you do this on purpose to boost yourself up or if it is completely innocent.

  10. Scot Ferguson-Barber March 8, 2012 at 7:19 pm

    Mrs. R.D.M., it’s not meant to sound egotistal. I think it’s important for people to know that the mayor is taking the newspaper seriously, and he is reading and paying attention.
    We are bringing up issues that a lot of people don’t want discussed, and the fact that the mayor contacted us and wants to talk speaks volumes.

  11. Thomas Vann March 9, 2012 at 2:09 pm

    Mrs. R D M. The Mayor reads may sites, papers, twitter, and other media pools for a pulse on the community. Some are good and some are not so good for his ego, or efforts. There are also people at City Hall doing this as well for the Mayor (city hall). Les seems to have hit on a number of valid points as well in his posts and he is correct when he states “we seem to have money that grows on trees”. Scott, did Sue write this originally or was this fully your efforts?

  12. scot March 9, 2012 at 3:26 pm

    Thomas, I wrote it.

  13. Thomas Vann March 9, 2012 at 4:21 pm

    Thank-you Scott, and it is a fine article. Sorry for any issues l may have caused.

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