Following acts of vandalism in early August, the City of Kingston has teamed up with Utilities Kingston, consultants, and environmental experts to initiate repairs and enhancements to the electrical and environmental systems at Belle Park.
The vandals targeted infrastructure that is crucial for preventing the nearby Cataraqui River from being tainted by contaminated groundwater from a former landfill site, known as leachate. This groundwater contamination arises when water flows through the old landfill site. Among the reported damages were fallen hydro poles, stolen copper components, and the removal of pumps from wells. Furthermore, pump control systems were rendered inoperable.
The City has outlined a series of measures, beginning with tree and brush clearing on Oct. 10. This phase is a prerequisite to align the site with electrical safety regulations and pave the way for the introduction of new infrastructure.
A senior ecologist well-versed with Belle Park’s ecology has been tasked to oversee the operations. Their role involves the inspection of areas set for clearing, devising a thorough strategy to protect nesting birds and other wildlife, and addressing invasive species challenges, particularly buckthorn.
“In mid-to-late October, once the site is primed, contractors will take the helm to initiate the installation of concrete poles, electrical cabinets, and pump control components,” states a City release. By the close of December, the expectation is for all work to be finalized.
During a Council meeting on Sept. 5, the extent of the damages and the corresponding repair plans were laid out. The plans also highlighted equipment modifications geared toward bolstering the system against potential future acts of vandalism.
As a preventive measure, the City has committed to nightly patrols throughout the project’s duration. This move is designed to shield the existing undamaged infrastructure and further prevent any acts of vandalism.