According to the Ontario Government website, “Brownfield properties are vacant or underutilized places where past industrial or commercial activities may have left contamination (chemical pollution) behind”.
Many municipalities in Ontario are looking to direct their growth “up” instead of “out”. Some Municipalities are also seeing transit investments that will support redevelopment along the selected route. These changes in development opportunities are requiring interested developers to re-consider their risk associated with purchasing land that is considered to be a Brownfield property.
In recent years much is known related to developing on Brownfield properties. Development concerns include:
- Land clean-up will be too expensive
- Project time lines will be too long
- Too risky to potentially own historical contamination
- Brownfield conditions will constrain the project vision
A great architect combined with a great environmental engineer can turn all of the above concerns into known outcomes and create a win-win formula for a developer.
MORe is currently working on a number of Brownfield properties in Ontario. Project Engineer, Diane Freeman has over 23 years of experience working in the area of environmental engineering. At MORe Diane uses her knowledge of Brownfields to help clients retain the right professional engineering expertise at the right time to allow their Brownfield investments to realize their highest and best use.
Reema Masri is an innovative architect who looks at ways of leveraging development design and phasing to utilize areas of the property where environmental “clean-up” activities will occur. She does this by considering design options that leverage requirements like soils removal or in creating designs that support a risk assessment that requires leaving some areas of a site undisturbed.
Many Brownfield properties are purchased with the intention of pursuing a change in land use. Often the change requires a Record of Site Condition (RSC) to be secured from the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change. At MORe we work with our clients to assist them in undertaking planning approvals concurrently with filing of an RSC by a qualified person. This process allows for development schedules to be fast-tracked and projects to proceed to a building permit application upon receipt of the RSC.