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Old foundry lands being tested before development

Published on

Cathy Dobson

POINT EDWARD – Numerous testing wells have been drilled around the 6.5-hectare (16-acre) former Holmes Foundry site to check for contaminants prior to private development.

Developer Tyler Pearson of Hamilton-based South Coast Developments announced last year that his company purchased the prime tract of real estate for $5.75 million last year and has since been laying the groundwork for development.

South Coast submitted concept drawings for residential and commercial projects to village council, but they are very preliminary, says Point Edward CAO Jim Burns.

Meanwhile, crews and heavy machinery are drilling wells for the ongoing environmental assessment, necessary before any plan can move forward.

The lands are situated in Point Edward and bordered by Sarnia to the south and Highway 402 to the north. They were once occupied by a foundry that closed in the 1980s. At that time, Chrysler completed an extensive clean-up of soil contaminants and then sold the property to a private company.

Controversy followed and the property was embroiled in legal disputes about its ownership for about 30 years while the buildings decayed and the land sat vacant.

Finally, it was sold to South Coast in 2022. However, new environmental assessments are required. Provincial standards have changed since the original clean-up in the 80s and new tests are required, said Burns.

It’s possible it will take another year before the new assessment is complete.

Meanwhile, a tender closed April 6 for a capacity review of the village’s drinking water, storm water and waste water systems to ensure the municipality can support more development without expanding services.

“It’s an important piece to it,” said Burns. “We were told we’re running at 50% capacity and we thought that would be fine until the ministry told us they consider 75% at capacity, not 100%.”

Development of the former foundry site would be “good for the tax base and good for the community,” said Point Edward Deputy Mayor Greg Grimes.

“The activity on the site is a good sign that the developer is moving forward,” he said. “The village is committed to assisting however we can.

“It’s been vacant for far too long.”

Grimes said the current tests are the second phase of the environmental assessment. Results of Phase 1 of the EA were favourable.

“They did not reflect huge issues with the property,” he said. “There were no huge red flags of anything that would prohibit development.”

The new owner, Tyler Pearson, has close ties to Sarnia-Lambton, having grown up in Corunna.

He has previously developed properties that need remediation. Pearson could not be contacted for comment.

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