Squamish Oceanfront Blue Barn Study

An old warehouse in the District of Squamish

As part of a plan to revitalize the community's waterfront, the Squamish Oceanfront Development Corp. did soil and groundwater tests to see whether an old warehouse known as the Blue Barn could be used as an art, culture and heritage centre.

The warehouse, built in 1965 and most recently used as a site to treat mercury-contaminated groundwater, had been cleaned up and emptied of its chemical tanks and other water-treating equipment. The tests were done to see whether that cleanup made the building unsafe for use by polluting soil and groundwater under and around it.

Results revealed some minor contamination, but not enough to stop the Blue Barn's redevelopment as a jewel in what the district sees as a sparkling waterfront commercial and cultural area.

Results

Environmental Economic Social
  • Containing minor contamination near the Blue Barn will prevent risk to the environment and human health

  • Cleanup and reuse of a contaminated brownfield site 

  • Blue Barn arts centre would encourage redevelopment of a derelict industrial district

  • Project would diversify the local economy, add jobs, attract tourists

  • Blue Barn would provide space for the arts community, fostering cultural growth

  • Centrepiece of a waterfront community where people work, learn, live and play

Challenges

  • Tight funding deadlines.
  • High cost of brownfield remediation.
  • Re-deploying staff for the time-consuming work of applying for funding and reporting on results.

Lessons learned

  • Be prepared for tight funding deadlines that can disrupt previously established project work schedules.
  • Despite their costs, remediation projects are worth the money. They trigger major economic redevelopment.
  • Set aside ample time to gather documents, write applications and prepare reports essential to the funding process.

Partners and Collaborators

Project Contact

Heather Dunham
Manager, Squamish Oceanfront Development Corp.
District of Squamish, BC
T. 604-815-5075

© 2020 Federation of Canadian Municipalities