It's out with the old to make way for the new in Shaunavon.
Last Saturday, officials from the Province of Saskatchewan and the Town of Shaunavon gathered on the corner of First Avenue and Third in Shaunavon to announce the Town's new Impact Site.
This site is the first of its kind in the province, as it takes advantage of the province's new Impacted Sites Fund.
Previously, the site owner had failed to communicate with the Town and had not paid their taxes in a very long time. After years of trying to find an amicable solution, the Town began the process of taking over the property.
Once they had accomplished ownership, they quickly realized that it would need to be demolished due to the condition of the structure.
Shaunavon Mayor Kyle Bennett spoke about how this problematic site warranted a knocking down.
"The roof was caving in, and it was a potential safety hazard and risk to our residents," said Bennett. "We ended up tearing it down, hauling it away to our landfill and got it all cleaned up. That wasn't cheap."
The Town had invested $150,000 into the project by the time they found the contaminated soil. Such soil requires extensive cleaning and removal in order to ensure no health risks remain, which comes at a hefty additional cost.
This was when they discovered the Impacted Sites Fund, a new program being put in place by the province to help smaller population centres dispose of and clean contaminated properties.
Attending on behalf of the province was Dana Skoropad, Minister of Environment.
"This particular fund speaks to an orphaned environmentally impacted site that has contamination in the soil," Skoropad explained. "It's for something that needs to be addressed, potentially posing harm to the environment and or the residents of the community."
Through the Fund, the province contributed $36,000 for the clean-up. This has led to the current state of the project.
"We need to get it cleaned up so that there is potential for some future development," said Bennett.
Currently, there is no plan for the open space. It's prime real estate, right in the heart of the inner core of Shaunavon. For now, they will contemplate what to do without jumping before they look.
Any other communities with these kinds of situations, be they disused, abandoned, or simply dilapidated facilities that they aren't sure about how to proceed with, can reach out to the Impacted Sites Fund to see about gaining a helping hand with tackling applicable issues.