May 3, 2017 7:14 am

London city council approves $2.7M grant for soil cleanup at downtown high-rise

London City Hall

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London city council approved $5.2 million in cleanup and development subsidies Tuesday, including the much-debated removal of contaminated soil at Camden Terrace.

After weeks of debate, council moved forward with the request for a $2.7-million subsidy for Rygar Properties Inc. to help clean up the site of their proposed high-rise on Talbot Street.

Rygar is planning a $300-million multi-tower development that includes a nine-storey, a 29-storey, and a 38-storey building.

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READ MORE: Controversial downtown London skyrise denied full cleanup funding

Last month, the subsidy was questioned by a city committee as to whether the full amount was necessary. Since Rygar plans to build a four-storey parking garage, councillors argued the soil would be excavated regardless.

“Prior to the application for the grant, all indications were this was full steam ahead,” said Coun. Stephen Turner during the debate Tuesday night.

“This is but a percentage of the entire project, I don’t see this as necessary in order to make the project go forward.”

Turner, who voted against the subsidy, said the grant shouldn’t be awarded just because other projects were subsidized.

Coun. Jesse Helmer put forward a motion to have the subsidy reduced by about $200,000 to encourage the disposal of the contaminated soil at the city dump.

“I think if we put a little constraint on the budget, it’s more likely that it’s going to end up in our landfill, which I think is the more environmentally responsible thing to do, it’s the cheaper thing to do, and then we get that money back,” he said.

Ultimately, council approved the full ask for Rygar.

Council also approved a $2.5-million subsidy for Sierra Construction for their cleanup and development of the old McCormick factory on Dundas Street.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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