Former Enheat site up for sale

Darrell
Darrell Cole
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AMHERST - For sale, a definite fixer-upper in downtown Amherst, used for more than a century and ranked at one time as one of the most polluted industrial sites in Nova Scotia.

Former Enheat site up for sale

AMHERST - For sale, a definite fixer-upper in downtown Amherst, used for more than a century and ranked at one time as one of the most polluted industrial sites in Nova Scotia.

After cleaning the property and offering it to both the provincial government and Town of Amherst, Public Works and Government Services Canada has put the former Amherst Aerospace/Enheat site on Lusby Street up for sale.

A listing with Coldwell Banker in Amherst has the asking price at $49,900 even though its assessed value is around a half-million dollars. The listing says the site would be suitable for retail, warehousing or industrial uses.

The 13-hectare property has been idle since 1993 when the last tenant, IMP Aerospace, departed for the town's industrial park.

One group definitely not interested in purchasing the property is the town.

"We had an opportunity through the federal government during the divestiture process but at this point we don't have a project in mind that would necessitate us purchasing the property," Amherst town manager Greg Herrett said. "The risk of ownership of that piece of property greatly outweighs any benefit of acquiring it."

Part of the problem in selling the property is the federal government would be washing its hands of any future environmental concerns. The land is being sold as is, where is, with no warranties or representations by the present owner.

The town was approached by Public Works in early 2005 about taking ownership of the site, but talks broke down over Ottawa's unwillingness to accept responsibility for future environmental problems.

"It's going to be difficult for anyone to buy. If they do, they'll have to use cash because they'll never be able to arrange financing because any company considering putting a mortgage on it will find themselves with no security if there are environmental issues remaining," Cumberland-Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley MP Bill Casey said.

Casey had lobbied the department to put some guarantees on the site, but those discussions failed to sway the government's mind.

"It could be used for industrial things where there's little or no involvement with the soil," Casey said. "I just don't see that happening."

Public Works took over proprietorship of the property in 2000.

Following IMP's move 14 years ago, Ottawa and the province embarked to clean the property up by removing chemicals and PCBs and demolishing all the buildings on the site except for one that has been used for storage by the previous tenant.

In 2003, the department said the site had been restored to a point it could be used as an industrial site only. A further cleanup was completed following pressure from Casey and there continues to be monitoring wells on the property.

dcole@amherstdaily.com

Organizations: Public Works and Government Services Canada, Amherst Aerospace/Enheat

Geographic location: AMHERST, Nova Scotia, Lusby Street Ottawa

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  • Robert
    January 18, 2010 - 11:16

    Time to make this an election issue at all levels, municipal, Provincial and Federal. If nothing else it should be a make work project similiar to the Sydney Tar Ponds. With just a fraction of the money spent up there, we could have an on site engineering firm emplying a half dozen people for the next 10 years! At least they might be able to cut the grass! This approach is an insult and outrage.