Hazardous material on Campbell River hospital site was expected

Workers appeared to be pulling out buried asbestos from the site

When you dig into Campbell River’s recent past, there’s a good chance you’ll find buried junk and potentially hazardous materials.

That was anticipated, according to the Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA), when it began site work for the new Campbell River Hospital. Work is well underway to create new hospital parking in the empty lot, a former gravel pit, by Yucalta Lodge on 2nd Avenue.

Last week a reader called to report that workers appeared to be pulling out buried asbestos from the site. That has not been confirmed, but work crews are taking precautions.

“The presence of some refuse, used some time ago as backfill on the western edge of the site, was not unanticipated as the site is well known as a former gravel pit,” said VIHA spokesman Dan MacLennan, in an e-mail. “There is no delay or increased cost to the work because the site preparation contract anticipated the possible encounter of contaminated materials. The contract also contains extensive specifications for proper removal of any hazardous materials.”

The work is regularly monitored by the industrial hygienist and the city is also aware of the existing site conditions. Site preparation work is also taking place at 2nd Avenue and Cedar Street for temporary buildings to house staff.