Amherst continues remediation of downtown property

Darrell Cole
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Cleanup includes removing oil-contaminated soil

An excavator removes contaminated soil from the site of the former Windsor and Black Block buildings in downtown Amherst. Crews discovered an old oil tank containing about 45 litres of oil and uncovered a wooden culvert with oily water. The culvert and surrounding soil are being removed.

AMHERST – A hole that once housed the Windsor and Black Block buildings should be filled in within the next few days.

Last week the town ordered the hole filled in to mitigate a potential safety risk.

The project was delayed slightly earlier this week when an old oil tank and a culvert with some oily water was discovered by the company hired to fill in the site.

“There have been a couple of issues. They encountered early on an oil tank with 45 litres of oil in it. We called in our environmental consultant and they supervised the removal of that,” town CAO Greg Herrett said. “They have come across a wooden culvert with oily water in it. They’re just working through making sure they remediate it as much as possible.”

Herrett said the whole point of removing soil from the area is to minimize the contamination.

The town’s CAO said last week that an order was issued under the dangerous and unsightly premises bylaw and the Municipal Government Act to remedy the property that has been vacant since a major fire destroyed the buildings that housed Dooly’s and the Victorian Arms apartments last August.

Herrett originally estimated the project would cost about $25,000, but added Tuesday that number will go up because of the environmental remediation that’s taking place. The cost will be billed as a lien against the property. He said the developer, Alex Filimon, was notified of the town’s decision.

Filimon announced plans earlier this year to build a $4-million, 40-unit apartment complex on the site of the former Victorian Arms Apartments that were destroyed by fire last August.

While Filimon announced in late March that he hoped to begin construction in the spring, several issues – including parking – came to light to delay the project. In July he said via email that he was working through his local issues and hoped to proceed as soon as possible.

The developer has not responded to an email seeking comment.

Twitter: @ADNdarrell

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