During the announcement’s section of Tuesday evening’s council session, Mayor Doug Black took a moment to comment on some social housing units on Edwards and Patty Drive that were abandoned some time ago and recently had their windows boarded up. He noted that these properties were owned by Lanark County and the boarding treatment was to remove safety and vandalism risks. He went on to add that the town was working with the county on environmental issues in the neighbourhood.
Few details on this issue have been released by county staff, citing confidentiality protocols as there is litigation regarding the lands. Gary Wheeler of the Ontario Ministry of the Environment recently told Hometown News that in 1990 underground fuel tanks were removed from the former gas station at 163 Townline Road West. After monitoring the site for fuel contamination, the property owner initiated a groundwater remediation program in 2006. Wheeler added in his email, “The following year the Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA) transferred oversight authority to the Ontario Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks. Since then, ongoing groundwater monitoring has shown the levels of contamination to be stable. Indoor air monitoring completed in 2018 indicates that there is no risk to human health at properties near the former gas station.” He concluded with, “the ministry will continue to ensure that environmental conditions are monitored while remediation progresses.”
Area residents have expressed concern regarding the amount of time that these homes have been vacant and the negative effects on neighbouring property values and security.