Vermiculite found in rec complex walls

Recreation Commission meeting notes including Vermiculite found at the Castlegar Community complex.

Vermiculite found at Community Complex


The Castlegar recreation commission is reassuring community complex users that the discovery of vermiculite during a boiler upgrade doesn’t pose a health risk.

According to manager Jim Crockett, the insulating material — known to be cross contaminated with asbestos — was found when a four-inch hole was cut into an exterior wall.

Work then stopped so the material could be tested. Samples were taken from the exterior walls of both the aquatic centre and arena, and the results showed only trace amounts of asbestos.

Peak Environmental, the consultant hired to do the test, said that as the asbestos concentrations in the vermiculate were “extremely low” and diluted by air movement, they found “no risk of exposure to airborne asbestos fibres released from this material” in concentrations anywhere near occupational health and safety limits.

However, as a precaution, the rec commission has retained Pacific Rim Industrial to remediate and contain the vermiculite in the area in question and conduct air testing in the complex.

Peak Environmental will also conduct an asbestos inventory and risk assessment for the entire complex as well as the Pioneer Arena.



New surveillance cameras will be installed at the rec complex at a cost of $12,680.

“They’re high end cameras that will give us a good total picture of the complex,” mayor Lawrence Chernoff explains.

He says the devices will both cover more of the building and provide higher resolution than the existing ones.

“It’s really for everybody’s safety in the facility, not only staff but patrons,” he says, adding the existing cameras have paid off on several occasions.

Last February, after a woman was attacked in the change rooms, a suspect was identified and arrested the next day thanks to a hallway security camera.

However, Chernoff says the decision to install the new system isn’t in response to any specific incident, but rather a security consultant’s recommendation.

“They said some areas weren’t covered, so we wanted to address that. So many people are moving through [the building] and we want everyone to feel safe.”

Complex staff will be able to monitor the camera feeds using the Internet.





Further improvements to the Brilliant Suspension Bridge will be retendered after the only bid came in far over budget.

Rec manager Jim Crockett says the project includes building an observation platform between the suspension bridge and highway bridge, where interpretive signage will be placed. It also calls for concrete repair on the bridge towers.

The project was only advertised locally because the cost was expected to be under $100,000, but the lone bid was more than double what was expected.

“We are going to retender it probably in the next month or so,” Crockett says. “We’re looking at some other design options to get the cost down.”

The 99-year-old bridge, a national historic site, re-opened to pedestrian traffic in 2010.





The recreation commission is hoping to meet with the Pass Creek Exhibition Society to talk about replacing habitat altered at the park for last year’s BC Summer Games.

A number of cottonwood and cherry trees were felled to make way for horseshoe pits, a move criticized as destroying nesting cavities for birds.

In a letter to the News last May, Pamella Wik of the West Kootenay Naturalists said she and others protested the trees’ removal, and were told the cutting operation had been discontinued — but the work went ahead anyway.

“This park holds one of the two remaining stands of riparian cottonwood in the area which furnishes nesting and foraging grounds for bird species including the Nashville warbler, Hammond’s flycatcher, spotted towhee and the pileated woodpecker,” she wrote at the time.

Now Crockett says a volunteer group is interested in replacing the trees.

However, the discussion has just begun and details have not been worked out, he said.