No end in sight to Bowness oil spill cleanup
Mayor Nenshi expressed his annoyance in City Council on March 18 in regards to a gas spill in Bowness that hasn’t been cleaned up – three years after it happened.
In April of 2010, a reported 7,200 litres of gasoline leaked from a Gas Plus station on Bowness Road and 63rd St NW. According to court documents, it migrated under homes and the Bow Liquor Inc. building.
“This has been a source of endless frustration for the residents, and I don’t mind saying for me as well,” Mayor Nenshi said. “It’s been three years since the spill, and we still haven’t had a clean up.”
Mayor Nenshi asked Rob Pritchard, the general manager of the City of Calgary Utilities
Photo by Hannah Kost and Environmental Protection department, to explain the delay. Referencing a “jurisdictional issue” between Calgary and the province, Pritchard said he would give Nenshi an appraisal from Environmental Safety Management.
“I will ask Environmental Safety Management to provide your office […] with an update of where we’re at, what we can do and what we can’t do,” Pritchard said.
The CBC reported that a court-ordered deadline to remove the contamination by Feb. 20 has passed with little progress. However, Gas Plus president Sal Handel told the CBC he has spent over $3 million on the cleanup effort.
One question continues to remain unanswered for Bownesians and Mayor Nenshi alike: when will the spill be completely dealt with?
“I get periodic updates on this,” Nenshi said. “I always reply to the updates with the exact same sentence: when will it be cleaned up. And I never really get a good answer.”
Five homes located on Bow Crescent and Bowness Road were evacuated following the spill due to high levels of hazardous chemicals like benzene, leaving residents displaced.
Photo by Hannah Kost“It was time to get really aggressive on this two years ago, so it’s time to get really, really aggressive on this,” Nenshi said. “As far as I understand it, there are people who are still out of their homes three years later. We just can’t stand for this.”
A City of Calgary spokesperson denied a Calgary Journal request to
speak to anyone from the Environmental Safety Management office, saying the matter was still before the courts.