In 1999, the City began to consolidate its land holdings on the waterfront, including the purchase of the majority of the rail lands previously owned by CP Rail. They hoped to attract development but, over the next few years, attempts to find developers interested in investing in the area were unsuccessful. The problem was compounded by the fact that the high levels of soil contamination severely restricted the kinds of buildings that could be placed on the rail lands. Costs for removing the contaminated soil were estimated at a minimum of $11 million.
CWF and the City feel that the CWF plan for the redevelopment of the waterfront is the best current and long-term economic and environmental solution to the problems at the waterfront. Remediation costs for the CWF plan are estimated at approximately $1.3 million dollars, substantially lower than the $11 million previously estimated. This is due in part to the careful design of the buildings and attractions, which were designed to have minimal impact upon the site. Under the CWF plan, the rail lands would be cleaned up so that the site would be completely safe for everyone to enjoy.
Also, the plan is based on the principles of sustainability. It is a four-phase plan to be implemented over 10 to 15 years. The flexibility of the plan would allow for changes and improvements to individual components in subsequent phases, dependent upon their economic viability. A study has shown that the completed waterfront development would attract tens of thousands of patrons per year and that potential local spin-off spending would generate between 4.5 and 10 million dollars per year.
Perhaps most importantly, we are beginning to see that the CWF waterfront plan is already becoming a catalyst for development. Interest in the area bordering the proposed waterfront development is growing. A multi-million dollar project has begun and further development is proposed.