It will take more than 2,500 trucks to haul in enough soil to remediate the 7.5-acre grounds
© Guardian photo
Work has begun on the 7.5-acre outdoor festivals and events site on the south side of Grafton Street in Charlottetown. Right now, contractors are hauling in massive loads of soil to remediate the site.
Work on the future home of Charlottetown Summerfest is underway.
Contractors are currently hauling in dirt - a lot of dirt - into the festival and events site.
Located on the south side of Grafton Street, the site should be ready sometime next summer for a few smaller events.
The first step is to move in more than 2,500 truckloads of soil, part of mandatory remediation efforts on the old Imperial Oil tank farm.
Workers are spreading 30,000 cubic metres of soil over the entire 7.5-acre site. The remediation calls for at least one metre of top soil (more than three feet) over the top of the entire site.
"The environmental remediation that's required is that the existing soil has to be covered or sealed with at least one metre of clean fill to protect against any dermal exposure from hydrocarbons that might be in the soil,'' said Ron Waite, general manager of the Charlottetown Area Development Corporation.
"We would then put infrastructure, like storm water management and power and water and sewer on site.''
That infrastructure has to be laid down within the one metre of top soil. It cannot be placed under the existing soil.
Most of the site will be grass and trees but there will also be a hard-surface area for things like parking, storage, office and vendor space.
As is the case with any project on P.E.I. at this time of year, weather is a key factor.
"We'll continue to work on the site until we encounter heavy frost. There are some elements that you can carry on but if we've got all the soil spread before the frost hits it would be a good day.''
Regardless of how long the mild weather lasts it is impossible to get everything done until next spring and summer.
CADC hopes to begin seeding the site in the spring which should make the site ready for a few smaller events but highly unlikely it will be ready for Summerfest over the Canada Day weekend.
"You wouldn't want a large event on this site by early summer because you need to give the grass a little time to mature,'' Waite said. "We might look at sodding but it's certainly not in our budget right now.''
While some stories have indicated the site is being designed to hold as many as 25,000 to 30,000 people, no one is talking about competing with the Halifax Commons or Magnetic Hill for concerts.
CADC expects to begin the second phase of developing the old Imperial Oil site next summer on the north side of Grafton Street. The big challenge there will be coming up with a plan to deal with storm water management.
"That's one of the concerns the city has expressed to us.''