In an effort to clean up former fuel stations in Stettler and clear the way for more highway commercial space, town council has set two priority highway properties now labelled as brownfields.
At its regular meeting last week, town council selected sites on Highway 12 east of Stettler GM and beside Kentucky Fried Chicken as priority sites to clean up, as council awaits a provincial report and strategy with sites among 11 locations in town.
“It’s totally ludicrous that these oil companies walk away without remediating these properties,” said Coun. Malcolm Fischer, who expressed brownfields as a top priority during the town’s all-candidates’ forum during the election campaign last month.
“We want to put pressure on the government.”
Other councillors fully supported the push.
“We need to make this a high priority,” said Coun. Will Brown, in his first council meeting as an elected representative.
Now with 11 brownfields untouched after four were cleaned up this year in town, council plans to meet with Alberta Environment ministry officials during the convention of the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association on Nov. 21.
For more than a year, the provincial Brownfield Redevelopment Working Group under the ministries of municipal affairs and environment has studied a program and strategy and currently not agreed yet to release the report or move forward with a recommendation.
With these sites cleaned up, it will allow the town to create opportunities for highway commercial and other businesses.
“More space for highway commercial development is why we needed annex land from the Country of Stettler,” Mayor Dick Richards said.
Soil testing by the KFC site was conducted last summer, though the level of contamination hasn’t yet been determined, said Leann Graham, planning and development officer.
Located at the junction of Highway 56, it’s a prime location because 10,000 vehicles pass through that area daily, said chief administrative officer Rob Stoutenberg.
Discussing the concerns with the ministry, town officials will ask when the report will be released and how the strategy might benefit the town and its plans to redevelop brownfield sites in a timely manner.
During further discussion, other priority sites mentioned were on Highway 56 south of Heartland Bowl and downtown on main street, across from Stettler and District Family and Community Support Services.