City of Powell River to begin remediation of Hemlock Street loop

Upper and lower sections of the road will become dead ends

Townsite’s Hemlock Street loop is slated for remediation starting on Monday, July 22, at an estimated cost of $100,000.

In a memo for the Thursday, July 18, City of Powell River Council meeting released on Monday, July 15, city chief administrative officer Russell Brewer stated that implementation of the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) remediation order for the portion of Hemlock Street, often referred to as the Hemlock loop road, will result in the road being closed to through traffic as of that date.

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“Both the upper and lower sections of Hemlock Street will become dead-end roads and permanent signs at both entrances indicating no through-road will be installed,” Brewer stated in his memorandum.

Street lights on upper Hemlock Street will be out for the duration of the road removal. Removal and remediation of the road is expected to last up to two weeks and will be overseen by a qualified environmental professional, stated Brewer.

Materials and street lights from the section of road removed will be stored and recycled or reused as much as possible for subsequent projects. Emergency access between the two sections of Hemlock Street for emergency vehicles will be constructed on a 5.5 metre-wide utility/access right-of-way that will also be used as a turnaround road for public works equipment, namely garbage and snow removal trucks as required. This construction will be included in the overall remediation cost.

City of Powell River originally received a notice of contravention on that section of road from the ALC on April 26, 2017, and was not successful with an application to bring the road into compliance. The city was subsequently issued a remediation order by the ALC on October 22, 2018, with requirements to remove the road, remediate the property and make an application to have the statutory right of way removed. The city appealed the order and the ALC refused the appeal with reasons issued on March 27, 2019. The city must complete the remediation order requirements by August 31, 2019. 

Council discussed pursuing several legal strategies and the city received legal advice on whether to pursue a claim for reimbursement from Timberlane Estates Ltd. for costs incurred in complying with the Agriculture Land Commission’s remediation order to remove the statutory right-of-way. The legal advice received must remain confidential at this time, stated Brewer.

The city resolved to not proceed with litigation given the city’s role in accepting the statutory right-of-way, approving the subdivision plans and overseeing the road’s construction. The city’s servicing agreement documents will be updated to strengthen the indemnity provisions and include clearer language. 

“The city sincerely thanks the public for its patience and understanding while council and staff took the time to proceed in a careful and thoughtful manner through various legal and administrative processes associated with this complex issue,” stated Brewer. “The city also thanks the Agricultural Land Commission for their ongoing support, professionalism and consideration.”

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