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ICYMI: Appeal board ruling 'significant' step toward developing IMICO lands

Neighbours of Beverly Street property sought to overturn provincially permitted uses citing contamination concerns
Tony Saxon/GuelphToday file photo of the former IMICO lands at 200 Beverly St.

This article was previously published on GuelphToday.

After sitting idle for decades, activity may soon return to the former IMICO lands in The Ward.

Following 14 days of hearings held in December and January, the Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT) upheld a provincially issued certificate of permitted uses (CPU) for the city-owned site, meaning it can be turned into commercial, institutional and residential spaces as well as parkland.

That is, providing mitigation measures are in place to keep pre-existing contaminants from leaving the site.

“The decision is a significant milestone in the city’s longstanding efforts to reclaim the former IMICO site, which has lain dormant for three decades, and enable its future productive use,” wrote Jennifer Charles, the city’s general manager of legal and court services, in an email to GuelphToday.

In filing their appeal, the owners of 490 York Rd. and 10 Kingsmill Ave. – both of which share property lines with 200 Beverly St. – claimed the CPU doesn’t go far enough to stop historic contamination from migrating onto their lands.

“The tribunal finds that the preponderance of evidence established that historic industrial activities associated with the use of chlorinated solvents were carried on at 10 Kingsmill, as well as 490 York, which may constitute sources of any contaminants on or under 10 Kingsmill and 490 York,” states the OLT decision.  

“The tribunal finds that the CPU is consistent with the precautionary principle. There are precautions within the CPU designed to monitor and take action as and when warranted based on groundwater monitoring data and expert analysis.”

A CPU identifies risk mitigation measures deemed necessary by ministry officials aimed at ensuring there are no adverse impacts from contaminants. 

The city’s CPU for 200 Beverly St. requires the installation, inspection and maintenance of hard cap and fill cap barriers on the property; prohibiting construction without a soil vapour intrusion assessment and/or built with a vapour mitigation system; implement a groundwater monitoring program; and develop a health and safety plan for any intrusive activities that could potentially have contact with contaminants.

It further prohibits the planting of fruits and vegetables for consumption (unless in above ground containers isolated from surface conditions), as well as the use of groundwater in, on or under the property.

“While the CPU was under appeal the allowable potential uses of the property remained uncertain. The fact that the CPU is now approved means that we can consider next steps for the property, and it is good news that the CPU allows for a broad range of property uses,” wrote Charles.

A deal to sell the land for redevelopment fell through in late 2020. That agreement was between the City of Guelph, Habitat for Humanity and Waterloo-based developer ARQi R&D Inc. It would have seen a variety of residential, light industry, micro retail, artisans, green space and affordable housing options planned.

The former International Malleable Iron Company (IMICO) property has been vacant since the 1980s. The City of Guelph took possession of the site in 1997.


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Richard Vivian

About the Author: Richard Vivian

Richard Vivian is an award-winning journalist and longtime Guelph resident. He joined the GuelphToday team as assistant editor in 2020, largely covering municipal matters and general assignment duties
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