“Greenfields” is a planning term used to describe undeveloped land on the fringes of cities. These areas were formerly farms or undeveloped tracts, but are now being converted into subdivisions, shopping malls - all the accoutrements of modern urban sprawl. For many North American cities, the result has been a “donut” effect - continuing growth and economic vitality on the outer edges, but an empty city core. The empty core typically contains minimal residential areas and is often associated with former industrial or commercial lands/buildings that now stand empty. Also, many of the industrial or commercial properties are contaminated (leaking underground fuel storage tanks, on-site disposal of waste materials or dumping of process by-products) resulting in a stigma that further devalued the property.
As cities sprawled larger and larger, costs of transportation and provision of other services led to a renewal of interest in inner-city properties. The rehabilitation of older residential units is well known and has resulted in numerous “new” communities, with an associated resurgence in community restaurants, stores and other facilities. However, the empty industrial and commercial properties continued to blight the urban fabric.
“Brownfields” (see www. http://www.epa.gov/swerosps/rcrabf/index.html and www.brownfields2005.org) is the planning term used to describe the rehabilitation of these inner-city commercial and industrial lands, with new uses the complement neighbourhoods and restore the property to the urban community. Such re-development has now been recognized a part of a broader shift in economic thinking, with a better utilization of existing resources.
OCL Services Ltd./ OCL Group has worked closely with Clients under the concept of a Brownfield development, wherein we ensure all environmental constraints are met while still meeting goals of economics and development. A key component of the Remedial Action Plan may be the evaluation of risk associated with property contamination. This activity includes the use of both RBCA-Atlantic PIRI and trace metal exposure risk models. We have successfully worked with Clients and regulatory agencies to facilitate the establishment of risk-based corrective actions and the development of inner-city properties.
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