Brownfield Sites in the City of Brantford
It is typical that any city with a long economic history of industrial manufacturing will have a number of older industrial sites that no longer meet today's environmental standards. Over time, the City of Brantford has taken on ownership of some of these sites and has committed to remediating a number of them for the safety of residents and to make the lands reusable again. To date, the Bay State Abrasives site at 186 Pearl Street has been remediated.
Remediation work is ongoing at the following sites:
For more information or to be added to the project mailing list for either of these projects, please email Tara Tran or phone at 519-759-4150 ext. 5684.
What is a Brownfield?
Brownfield sites are commercial or industrial properties that are underused, vacant or abandoned and contain (or are perceived to contain) industrial wastes or environmental contaminants. Brantford City Council, through Bylaw 68-2006, has approved the following definition of a “brownfield site”:
"A 'brownfield site' is hereby defined to be a lot (as that term is defined in Bylaw 160-90) which, as a result of past uses, does not comply with the applicable provincial environmental standards for its existing or proposed uses."
Why are brownfields a problem?
Abandoned brownfield sites have been a considerable problem in Brantford. They have been the location of serious fires, some of which have caused the evacuation of neighbourhoods and the hospitalization of residents. Also, since many brownfield sites have been abandoned by their owners, property taxes are not being paid and considerable municipal resources are being used for policing, fire suppression, inspections for fire prevention, bylaw enforcement and property standards, and the maintenance of infrastructure. The City has come to the conclusion that brownfield sites are a problem that must be dealt with.
Unfortunately, taking over these sites involves assuming the environmental liability associated with previous industrial or commercial activities, and clean-up is usually very expensive. On top of this, brownfields also suffer from a myriad of other problems that discourage their potential for redevelopment, including
- Being occupied by outdated and poorly maintained buildings;
- Owing federal, provincial, and municipal taxes;
- Legal problems with respect to property title; and
- Being poorly located on small sites or within residential areas, that do not meet the needs of today's modern industry.
In communities such as Brantford, the cost of dealing with these issues is often well above of the value of the property itself. As a result, it is extremely difficult to attract investment to brownfield sites. The lack of investment compounds the problems and contributes to the further deterioration of such properties.
Brantford Brownfield Policies
Strategic Action Plan
On December 16th, 2002, City Council approved a Brownfields Strategic Action Plan outlining the various activities that the City is willing to undertake to facilitate brownfield redevelopment. The primary goal of the strategic action plan is: “To facilitate the remediation and redevelopment or reuse of brownfield sites through the stimulation of private sector initiatives and strategic municipal action.” Click for more information about brownfield remediation incentive programs.
Official Plan Review
A 5-year review of the Official Plan in 2000 resulted in revised land use policies for brownfield sites. On sites with reasonable prospects for private sector redevelopment or re-use, the revised policies provide a wider range of development options. Where private redevelopment prospects are limited, the new policies restrict the range of uses until site remediation has occurred. Policies were also added to enable the Municipality to take advantage of the Planning Act’s community improvement provisions to promote and encourage brownfield redevelopment.
Consultation with neighbouring residents and property owners has been a key component of the City’s brownfields activities. A number of public meetings have been held with residents and property owners in the vicinity of the Mohawk/Greenwich brownfield area. At these meetings, residents have provided input into future developments on the properties and support for a municipal strategy to deal pro-actively with environmental cleanup. As part of the City’s commitment towards community involvement in the resolution of brownfield issues and to assist in the implementation of the Brownfields Strategic Action Plan, City Council has established the Brownfields Community Advisory Committee. This Committee is comprised of local residents and two councilors. Click for more information about the Brownfields Community Advisory Committee.