Released July 22, 1999

Environmental Assessment 
Underway on Paradise Lands

ST. JOHN'S, NF - Newfoundland and Labrador Housing Corporation (NLHC) today released a statement on its continuing assessment of environmental issues on approximately 20 hectares of the old steel mill site located east of Octagon Pond and south of Topsail Road in Paradise.  The corporation is currently working on Phase 3 of an Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) for the property.  A joint announcement was made today by Mary Marshall, Chief Operating Officer for NLHC, and Dianne Whalen, Mayor, Town of Paradise. 

"Initial findings from an Environmental Site Assessment of the Paradise lands site, indicate there is contamination in about 20 hectares of the land where the steel mill site was located and down gradient of that property," Mrs. Marshall said.  "The contaminants include hydrocarbons and metals in the soil and metals in the groundwater that exceed regulatory criteria. Fortunately, the more than 80 remaining hectares of land in the Octagon Pond Industrial Park are free of any contaminants and approved for industrial development." 

These are the key findings from Phase 1 and 2 of the study conducted by Jacques Whitford Environment Limited, the latest results of which were released in June, 1999 and has been the focus of discussion among relevant agencies.  The study was undertaken as part of NLHC's obligation in the transfer of these lands to the Town of Paradise under the corporation's Land Divestiture Program.  Phase 3, which will include additional delineation on the land and investigation and testing of Octagon and Rocky Ponds to further define the potential environmental impact, is now proceeding.  Reports to date, indicate no immediate public health concerns for the site, but do indicate potential environmental and safety concerns on the site itself.  The next phase of the study will recommend an appropriate remedial action plan for the site.  As well, reports indicate no known public health or safety concerns for the local ponds. 

"As a precautionary measure, signs will be posted asking that the public not access the property as some debris may pose a hazard and testing in the area is not completed," noted Mayor Whalen.  "Studies are also taking place in a cove on the south east side of Octagon Pond and a boom will be placed across that area, so as not to interfere with or compromise the study results." 

NLHC has been in constant consultation with the Town of Paradise and the Departments of Environment and Labour and Health and Community Services to assess any potential public health risks in the area.  All phases of this study will continue to be done in conjunction with these parties.  Mrs. Marshall added, "The public can be assured that if any health or safety issues are identified they will be addressed and the public will be notified immediately." 

Approximately 20 hectares of the Paradise site were occupied by a steel mill operation from the mid 1960's to the early 1970's.  During the 1970's to 1980's the site was used for a scrap recycling operation.  NLHC assumed responsibility for the development and administration of the site in 1981, along with all other industrial parks in which the provincial government had a financial interest. 

To date, the corporation has spent approximately $170,000 on this project. 

For further information, contact:  
Jenny Bowring, Corporate Communications  
Telephone:  (709) 724-3055