Tolko Industries has been granted an extension regarding its former lumber mill in downtown Kelowna.
When it shuttered the mill in January 2020 and began dismantling it, Tolko had been given a deadline of February 2021 to report on the condition of the decommissioned 16-hectare (40 acres) property.
In December, Tolko asked for a one-year extension to submit its detailed site investigation (DSI) report, which was granted this week by the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change.
Tolko said the extension was granted on Tuesday following a ministry review of the company’s preliminary reports. The new deadline is Feb. 20, 2022.
“The extra time has allowed for the decommissioning and removal of many of the site buildings and structures, which will allow the testing team to complete their investigations in support of the DSI,” Tolko said in a press release.
Tolko added, “the Kelowna site is large and complex with a long history of industrial activity, and extra time is required to ensure a thorough investigation.”
“The third-party team conducting the site study have used provincial protocols to confirm that the site is not high risk to the environment or human health,” added Tolko vice-president Bob Fleet.
“While detailed analysis is ongoing, we are pleased with the overall condition of the site given the history of industrial operations.”
Tolko says building demolition is continuing, with the stipulation that the underlying soil is not disturbed, and that in-ground structures such as foundations will not be removed before the DSI is completed.
The company added that one of the last major structures to be removed will be the plywood plant building, with demolition expected to run through summer and fall.
It also said several smaller buildings may still remain standing on-site at the end of the year.
Located along Okanagan Lake, the mill is considered to be prime real estate.
Last year, prior to property prices soaring because of the pandemic, the former mill site had a value of just under $19 million, according to B.C. Assessment. However, experts pegged the property at $48 million.