Pointe Des Chenes – City provides info on safety of water

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Aerial shot City Hall (Dan Gray/SaultOnline.com)

The closure of Pointe Des Chenes park is partially due to a long drawn out process between the city and Federal government about contaminated water in the area.

In a report to council, the cause of the contaminated water was stated along with the remediation which would be required to resolve the issue, something the city believes Transport Canada would need to address.

“In 1964 Transport Canada constructed a firefighting training area on the southwest portion of the airport property. Firefighting training was then conducted from 1964 to 1992,” said the report.

It was stated after discovery the city has asked Transport Canada for three things.

1) Provide a timetable for restoring the water supply at the campground to
potable conditions. This was set as an immediate priority;

2) Prepare a project timeline with a sampling plan to further delineate
the nature and extent of the contamination resulting from the airport; and

3) Prepare a project timeline to develop a remediation plan to restore the natural
environment.

Transport Canada hasn’t resolved to do anything about section 1 and 3 at this time according to the report. However there is supposed to be a water testing program by APH for dangerous chemicals in the water.

Councillor Matt Scott had some serious concerns about water being sourced by neighbouring citizens outside the park after speaking with many of them over the weekend.

“All the consituents I spoke too have never had their water tested by APH for the PFAS since August 2019. So they’re very concerned about that,” said Scott.

Scott told SaultOnline he has reached out to Jennifer Loo at APH, but has yet to hear back from her. SaultOnline has also reached out to APH for comment.

City staff also advised that the conversations with MP Terry Sheehan’s office are going well in regards to finding a permanent solution to the problem.

Councillor Cory Gardi took the time to restate his disappointment with the many different federal governments in regards to this issue.

“This has never been a problem that the Corporation of the City of Sault Ste. Marie had the resources, and/or the expertise, to solve and we should have never had to work so hard to get those responsible to solve it working on it,” said Gardi.

He continued, “So the federal government needs to once and for all commit to remediating the issue to the to the extent that they can, you know, successive governments and transport administration’s have not worked for permanent solution they need to, I’m glad city staff is pressing them on that.”

The City has pushed for a timetable for when the federal government will restore water in the campground and beach to to potable. They state they have continually asked for a long term solution for the drinking water contamination.

Stay with SaultOnline as we work to get to the bottom of the water issues in the area of Pointe Des Chenes.

5 COMMENTS

  1. Did this training include city firefighters making the city partly liable for clean up.
    Shouldn’t firefighters have known they were polluting the ground with a petroleum based liquid then making it worse by burning it.I think the average person all the way back to the 60’s would have known not to do that.
    Aren’t the firefighters trained to know what happens when these fuels are burned and exposed to the environment.

  2. The Feds are more worried about taxing us for CO2 than they are about the actual environment. Good luck getting the feds to fix this.

  3. The city has kept this a secret . Now that they have closed the campground and the campers pushed back they are now letting us know about the pollutants . I have showered in this water for 14 years without knowing about the Benzene and PFOA and PFOS . The whole truth will come out.

  4. What is not being addressed is what options are available to meet safety requirements and supply potable water in the short term in order to continue Campground operation at a reasonable cost while the solutions continue to be explored or experimented with for the next 10 more years. Resolving the contamination in the water source may never be resolved in our lifetime … so let’s explore the alternatives. Save PDC Campground has submitted what is believed to be a safe and sustainable solution using city treated water. With what seems to be a simple plan at a reasonable expenditure the idea is certainly worth investigating and giving if a try for this season …. and extending the Campground life for generations to come. This is too valuable an asset and natural resource to just close and be lost to this community forever.

  5. So the rules don’t apply to the Federal Government. If you or I had a mishap that contaminated the land around us the Ministry of the Environment would be all over us insisting on a remedial plan to eliminate the pollutants. Why is the city playing nice over this issue. This is an issue of law. If they are responsible clean it up. If they continue to refuse then sue them to force them to clean it up.

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