The re-development of Brantford’s largest brownfield site is close to becoming reality. The Greenwhich Mohawk Remediation project has been in the works for over two decades but with the final clean-up complete, the city is now ready to move forward with development.
The city’s Brownfields Community Advisory Committee, held an event this past weekend in Mohawk Park to celebrate the completion of the project.
The Greenwhich Mohawk site is 50-acres in the former industrial district of Brantford that was once the home of factories such as Massey Ferguson and Cockshutt Plow Company.
The site clean-up and project was conceived in the 90’s, by an Eagle Place resident who was fed up with the eyesore. Janice Belleville says her husband, David, was the force behind the project’s initiation but unfortunately passed before his dream came to completion.
“He was born and raised in Eagle Place and saw that site constantly. We lived there until the day he died. He wanted something done with all the fires that took place. We were evacuated one time and he said, enough is enough.”Janice Bellville, Eagle Place resident
Belleville adds, David pressured local city councilors and former Mayor Chris Friel, to make the re-development a priority at the time.
Senior Planner with the City of Brantford, Tara Tran, says the project started when the community advocated for the city to acquire the site for the purpose of clean-up.
“Former councilor, Marguerite Ceschi-Smith, really lobbied the other levels of government to admit this was not just a municipal problem and that it needed to be looked at from all levels. These factories provided economic drive for all of Canada. She (Ceschi-Smith) was able to get provincial support and, most of all, federal money invested in this project. That was in 2008.
It took a long time to get it all going but after doing the environmental studies to determine what were the contaminants that needed to be addressed, in 2013, we were able to start using that money and cleaning up the site.Tara Tran, Senior Planner, City of Brantford
Tran adds, feedback from the community suggests they would like to see a mix of uses in the space.
Brantford Mayor, Kevin Davis, says the options on the table for the site’s development have many of the same pieces, including a significant amount of green space and small residential. Davis also says, they are considering using 10 acres for institutional use, noting examples such as the Children’s Safety Village or Lansdowne Centre.
There is also a 2 acre portion designated for museum space to utilize the Timekeeper’s Building from the Cockshutt Plow Company that is still on-site.
“We’re also in consultation with Six Nations because right beside that site is the Woodland Cultural Centre. As we’ve heard from Chief Hill, they have a vision to see those lands, that are already re-developed to tell their history, but also for tourism. They’d like to see more tourism develop down there and I can see that as a real opportunity for us to work with Six Nations to do that.”Kevin Davis, Brantford Mayor
The remediation cost close $41 million which was $2 million under budget. The federal government contributed $12 million and the province contributed $5 million to the project.