Council was updated Tuesday night on the state of the Davis Tannery brownfield and a proposal to build apartments on the 13-hectare property.
The land’s industrial history dates back to the mid-19th century, and includes the Davis Tannery and a smelting operation.
The land is “arguably the largest and most contaminated brownfield property within the City of Kingston,” reads an information report to council.
The developer, Jay Patry, is in the process of going through a brownfield application with the municipality.
Technical reports submitted to the municipality peg the cost of remediation on the site at $66M.
The city’s brownfield community improvement plan provides tax assistance and rehabilitation grants.
Tax assistance involves the cancellation of municipal and education property taxes during rehabilitation and development of the land.
The grants, which are more in the form of a rebate, can occur over a span of 10 years.
The property owner pays property taxes in full and then a portion is returned to the property owner based on a list of criteria.
City staff are working on another report due to go to council in December that may include further enhancements to the program due to the large scale of the environmental cleanup.
The city’s planning, building and licensing director, Paige Agnew, says the cost and extent of the contamination on the property is a large reason why it has sat undeveloped for decades.
“It will have some high level recommendations with respect to the approach to brownfield remediation, as well as some additional consideration with how we apply community benefits,” Agnew explained.
Patry’s plans for the property have been altered after working with municipal staff over the last year and a half, following a March 8 public meeting.
Building heights along the waterfront of the Cataraqui River and also part of the Rideau Canal have been reduced from six storeys to four and five storeys.
Patry says the building offsets from the river are greater as well.
“Most of the buildings are 50 metres instead of the 30 metres which we originally proposed,” Patry said, “and a lot of it’s greater than that.”
The proposed apartment buildings would use about 9 hectares on the property and Patry says land north of the development will be returned to it’s natural state.
“There’s about 17 acres north of the site that will also be provided as marshlands and remediated and cleaned up,” Patry said.
The buildings will be framed with a mix of wood and concrete reducing the amount of concrete needed and reducing the construction carbon footprint, Patry says.
“There’s solar on the site, I think there’s about a 48 per cent reduction in green house gas emissions on this site as it’s proposed over what typically would be built in a concrete structure.”
Patry adds green operations are also being examined in the day-to-day operation of apartment buildings.
“We’re taking it to another level, whether it’s solar panels or whether it’s heat recovery from wastewater that’s coming through,” Patry said.
Those amendments to the original planning application are expected to be done sometime in 2020.
Residents will have an opportunity to look at the new plans at two open houses set tentatively for Dec. 5 and 10.