First Nation begins restoring former landfill

SOUTH SURREY – The Semiahmoo First Nation has begun to restore land used by the cities of Surrey and White Rock back to its original state.

In a release sent out last week, the Semiahmoo First Nation announced the band has begun its Contaminated Soil and Waste Remediation Project on Lot 57 of the Semiahmoo Indian Reserve, formerly the site of Semiahmoo Park.

The site had been previously leased to the City of Surrey from 1942 to 1996 “for park purposes only” but was used by both Surrey and the City of White Rock in the 1950s and ’60s as a park, landfill, as well as a site to install municipal infrastructure.

As a result, the Semiahmoo First Nation say some of the soil has been impacted by the municipal waste and the current project’s aim is to restore the land to its original state.

According to the release, “the objective of the project is to remove the municipal solid waste and contaminated soil to the extents practical without altering the stream banks of the river. The remediation of the project area will return the site to the preexcavation grade.”

When asked about White Rock’s involvement, Greg St. Louis, director of engineering and municipal operations, said they were assisting Semiahmoo in locating any existing pipes on the property.

“Right now we have a pump station on Marine Drive and it’s a rainwater station that gets pumped through the Little Campbell River, so we have a surveyor out there to locate that line and we’re doing our best to help out there and locate any other utilities out there that may be ours,” he said. “Basically we’re there to help locate our lines and make sure they don’t dig in those spots.”

Once the site has been restored back to its original state, the land will be permitted for future development, though the release notes, “Semiahmoo First Nation does not have any plans for future development at this time.”

Calls to Semiahmoo First Nation spokesperson Joanne Charles were not returned by press time.