The Well, the former Globe and Mail property

Location: Toronto, Ontario
Client: RAD Front-Wellington Nominee Inc.
Client Sectors: Industrial/ Commercial
Services: Hydrogeology & Geosciences, Site Assessment & Remediation

The redevelopment of the former Globe and Mail site at the corner of Front Street West and Spadina Avenue in Toronto’s King West area is considered one of the most ambitious mixed-used redevelopment endeavors in Canada. The Well project promises over one million square feet of office space, 420,000 square feet of retail and food services, and 1,700 residential units. BluMetric has been providing comprehensive environmental services to support this project.

BluMetric provided environmental services, including due diligence advice, prior to the acquisition of the site. DiamondCorp was the initial client, but eventually the site was acquired by a consortium of developers (DiamondCorp, RioCan Realty and Allied Realty – combined to form RAD Front-Wellington Nominee Inc.).

Our initial work on this project focused on  a comprehensive assessment of the overall magnitude of impacted soils and groundwater through Phase One and Two ESAs. The Phase One ESA covered seven contiguous properties, with 175+ years of commercial and industrial occupancy history. The Phase Two ESA synthesized numerous previous environmental reports from other consultants and included updated soil and ground water sampling to meet the requirements of O. Reg. 153/04. Data from approximately 300 soil samples and 100 ground water samples were integrated into the Phase Two Conceptual Site Model. Once the property was acquired, a remediation plan was developed along with associated costs. The plan included the excavation and off-site disposal of impacted soils and entrained groundwater. The volume of soil that was excavated and disposed of was substantial (7.6 acres to a depth of about 10 m).

During excavation, several underground storage tanks and other underground structures containing unidentified liquids were encountered. BluMetric provided emergency environmental response services on an as-needed basis when these items were encountered, promptly mobilizing to the site to assess unexpected conditions and collect samples from tank/structure contents, and to collect soil and ground water samples for detailed laboratory analysis. BluMetric provided timely advice as to how to dispose of materials based on sampling results. Detailed soil sampling was carried out to support the segregation and selective disposal of soils based on their characteristics (leachate toxic, contaminated, salt impacted and not impacted).

Following the removal of contaminated soils, additional monitoring wells were advanced during excavation of the underlying shale. BluMetric successfully coordinated with the property owners, site superintendents and various subcontractors to complete this work in concert with ongoing excavation and construction activities. Following site remediation and confirmatory sampling, an RSC was prepared for the main property. The RSC for the main property was successfully completed and acknowledged on schedule (March 2019).

During excavation, upwards of 400 truckloads of soil were removed from the property each day, and excavation was occurring at different rates in different areas of the property. Soil sampling results were needed for multiple purposes – to support the RSC, and to facilitate soil removal. BluMetric had a dedicated field employee assigned to monitor activities on the site on a daily basis and collect samples as appropriate. The field staff were able to establish strong relationships with the various parties involved and developed a good understanding of the needs of each party. BluMetric’s communication and planning allowed the redevelopment to proceed on schedule, with analytical results being provided in the right format to the right party, at the right time.

There are two additional properties associated with this project (19 Draper St. and 456 Wellington St. W.). These two properties are being redeveloped as parkland and will be transferred to the City of Toronto. Phase One and Two ESAs were conducted on the additional properties. Both properties required remediation by excavating and removing impacted soil, and the importation and placement of clean soil to backfill the remedial excavations. BluMetric has provided remedial action plans, remediation oversight, and sampling of imported soil. 19 Draper St. has now been remediated, soil imported, and an RSC filed. Remediation and an RSC for 456 Welling St. West is pending.