Laurel Point Park Remediation Project

Beginning this fall, neighbours, the Songhees and Esquimalt First Nations, and the entire community will be involved in designing the new park and its amenities, in keeping with the vision and objectives of the City’s Parks and Open Space Master Plan.

The goal is to create a high-quality waterfront park that will provide health and wellness benefits for citizens. Considerations will be made to the following key opportunities identified for the park through past planning and engagement activities related to Laurel Point:  

  • Strengthen pedestrian connectivity within the site and to adjacent sites 
  • Create an inviting and safe space
  • Support recreation, including play opportunities 
  • Support the well-being of local wildlife 
  • Support the health and function of the harbour 
  • Explore Green Shores approach with the shoreline 

The concept design phase is anticipated to be complete by February 2020. Following Council approval of the concept design, the detailed design and park construction will begin. In the interim, the City will reopen the site in the fall after the grass has established.

How to Get Involved
There will be many of opportunities to get involved and help shape the future of Laurel Point Park throughout the concept design stage. Learn more and sign up to review project updates.

Background

The Laurel Point Park Remediation Project was a partnership project between Transport Canada and the City of Victoria. The remediation area is known as Laurel Point and includes a City owned park and sections of the David Foster Harbour Pathway. 

 

Between fall 2018 and summer 2019 Transport Canada remediated the soil from the Laurel Point Park site. Workers removed contaminated soil, treated it off-site, refilled the area with clean soil and are re-turfing the park.

Transport Canada will complete the project as quickly and sustainably as possible to minimize disruption to the public. The site is anticipated to be restored by late 2019.


Site History

This site has important and rich cultural history and is a central feature in the Inner Harbour. Locally, the Songhees and Esquimalt Nations used this area for traditional harvesting and access.

Between 1906 and 1975 Laurel Point was home to the British American Paint Company, operating as a paint factory.  During this time, the site was also periodically infilled with unknown materials.

 

 British America Paint Co. (BAPCo) at Laurel Point.  (City of Victoria Archives M06564)


Why is this remediation project important?

Following a multi-year investigation and environmental assessments, the Government of Canada has classified the Victoria Middle Harbour Fill Site (which includes the Laurel Point Park) as a contaminated site.  Although the contaminants do not pose a risk to park users, it is important to move forward with remediation in order to mitigate marine and terrestrial ecosystem risks.

This is the second and final phase of the Laurel Point Park Remediation Project.

Transport Canada previously completed Phase One in February 2018 and successfully remediated the underwater contaminated sediments in Victoria Harbour adjacent to Laurel Point.

The work being undertaken is important for the well-being of marine wildlife, will improve the overall health and function of the harbour and reduce the risk of recontamination in the future.  


What will the remediation work include?

This is an extensive remediation project. Between the Inn at Laurel Point and the seawall, Transport Canada will remove 35,000 cubic metres of contaminated soil and replace it with clean soil.

The depths and grades required for excavation and full remediation means that all trees, benches and public artwork will need to be removed.   

Because the trees have been growing in contaminated soil for their lifetime, we cannot guarantee that the trees are free of contaminants. Relocation or reuse would risk spreading the contaminants to other, healthy, locations.  Transport Canada has required that the contractor will chip the trees off site and material will be disposed of responsibly.

The contaminated soils will be treated and disposed of at a licensed off-site facility. The areas will then be backfilled and re-turfed. This work will involve excavators, truck traffic, and construction-related noise.


Timelines

The project will begin in September 2018. Transport Canada aims to complete the remediation as quickly and sustainably as possible in order to minimize disruption to this public space.

We expect that the site will be restored by late 2019. Basic site restoration is planned as a part of this project. The city will be undertaking a separate process to determine a future park improvement plan and pathway investments.

  • September 2018:  Site preparations including the temporary removal of benches, public art, and other city assets. These features will be temporarily relocated and/or stored during the remediation project.
  • October 2018: Remediation project begins. Starting on Monday, October 15 the site will be closed to public access.  All trees will be removed from the site and the soil remediation will begin.
  • Summer 2019: Transport Canada’s project will be completed and the City expects to have the area re-turfed and a gravel pathway installed by late 2019.
  • To follow: Laurel Point Park Improvement Plan: The City will be developing a Park Improvement Plan for the site once the project is completed. This process will have opportunities for the public to be involved and will include new trees and landscaping, furniture, public art and upgrades to the pedestrian pathway.

Will there be public access to the site during the remediation project?

During the project, Laurel Point Park and the David Foster Harbour Pathway will be closed.  Please see the detour routing below: