Testing times at old Janeway

Rob Antle
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Hazardous materials were supposed to be removed before hospital was demolished

The provincial government has confirmed it hired an environmental consultant to test for hazardous materials on the site of the old Janeway in Pleasantville after the former hospital was demolished.

Any hazardous materials were supposed to be removed before demolition.

The government won't release the results of that environmental report, saying it would be "premature" to do so.

Officials dodged repeated questions about when they would make the report public.

Photo at left, a worker wearing disposable white coveralls and a respirator operates an excavator at the old Janeway hospital site this week. Demolition of the former building (pictured at right in 2007) began in September 2009. - (Left and bottom) Phot

The provincial government has confirmed it hired an environmental consultant to test for hazardous materials on the site of the old Janeway in Pleasantville after the former hospital was demolished.

Any hazardous materials were supposed to be removed before demolition.

The government won't release the results of that environmental report, saying it would be "premature" to do so.

Officials dodged repeated questions about when they would make the report public.

"The Janeway building, like others of its age, contained certain hazardous materials (i.e. asbestos), which my department was well aware of prior to demolition," Transportation and Works Minister Trevor Taylor said in a prepared statement.

"Those materials were to be removed and disposed of properly as part of the demolition process. Due to the appearance of what could possibly be asbestos, Transportation and Works engaged a consultant after demolition to assess to what extent those hazardous materials might remain on site."

According to Taylor, the government hired local consulting firm Kavanagh and Associates Ltd. to do that assessment.

He said Kavanagh was aided by a group called Lex Scientific Inc.

But the government won't discuss what the consultants found at the old Janeway.

"This department just recently received the consultant's report, last week to be exact," Taylor said. "The document is currently being reviewed and to release it before that process is complete would be premature."

Asked whether there are any safety concerns related to work at the old Janeway site, Taylor replied, "Demolition and removal of the old Janeway hospital is no different than any other building demolition carried out by this government. We engaged a company certified to deal with hazardous materials and we fully expect contractors to ensure worker safety and provide workers with all the necessary safety equipment.

The Occupational Health and Safety branch of Government Services also has conducted inspections to ensure the safety of workers on site."

The Department of Government Services said there is no stop-work order in effect at the Pleasantville site.

The department could not provide specifics on what stop-work orders have been issued since demolition began in September, according to spokeswoman Vanessa Colman-Sadd. The officers who had that information were in training and unavailable all week, she noted.

But the department could confirm that it has previously stopped work at the site for issues such as lack of appropriate personal protective equipment, inadequate asbestos control procedures and worker training.

In December 2007, the province awarded Kelloway Construction of St. John's a $924,129 contract for the environmental remediation and demolition of the former Janeway hospital building.

Kelloway Construction did not return a Telegram message before deadline Wednesday.

The work was expected to take up to a year, a government news release noted in late 2007. Demolition work began in September 2008.

Taylor acknowledged the company is "somewhat behind schedule" completing the contract, and work is continuing to remove debris and recyclables from the site.

That work is expected to wrap up within weeks.

"The department has re-engaged Kavanagh and Associates to continue monitoring work at the site to ensure any hazardous materials are handled properly," the minister noted.

In 2007, the province announced the hiring of a real-estate broker to sell off former Janeway properties sandwiched between Virginia Park and Pleasantville, but pulled them off the market last year.

Officials indicated last month the government now has "a number of major infrastructure projects under consideration" for the site, and is now pondering its options.

rantle@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Janeway hospital, Government Services, Kavanagh and Associates Lex Scientific Kelloway Construction

Geographic location: Pleasantville, St. John's, Virginia Park

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Comments

Comments

Recent comments

  • Former Area Resident
    July 02, 2010 - 13:33

    One other thing - article states that gov't has hired a consultant to test the rubble? Why should our tax dollars pay for this if the contractor appears to be deficient?

    • Mark
      July 27, 2011 - 10:51

      Can someone answer this for me....Is all the work done down there on the old property. Im very inerested in knowing

  • James
    July 02, 2010 - 13:30

    Amazing - Gov't has dozens of OHS inspectors flocking about the province ensuring that employers / employees follow legislated acts and regulations to ensure worker and public safety at any worksite. Here is a situation where not only were worker's subjected to asbestos but the general public as well. Should be interesting to see how they will remove it from the pile of rubble when regulations dictate that removal must occur in a contained enviorment - idiots. I have grave concerns for the health of the workers who demo'ed this site.

  • Kevin
    July 02, 2010 - 13:30

    If my memory serves me right the 2nd bidder on this job was almost 2 million dollars and was the same bidder who done the removal at the Grace Hospital. (experience is knowledge)

    It would appear that corners have been cut to make up the over 1 million difference in prices from the low bidder to the #2 bidder). I guess the government are getting what they pay for.

    Maybe this firm sharpened thier pencil like senior government officials and the premier have been requesting and commenting on don't get greedy contractors was the dagger thrown at contractors at a recent convention. Sometimes that low price is not the best one and if indeed the rumble is contaminated it would apppear that the proverbial sharpened pencil will be broken and a black marker will replace it to fill in the cost for further remedition.

    I just hope that the low contractor doesn't get rewarded by being paid to cleanup thier own mess. But nothing would surprise me. Pay a legitimate and well trained company to handle our hazardous material in the proper manner for all of our safety. Is that too much to ask or do we want another inquiry.

    Get it right and protect us all Mr. Tayler. Don't coverup this report like those in healthcare!!!

  • Nasty
    July 02, 2010 - 13:26

    Well they better provide the report. This was a government contract, one paid for by the taxes of the people. If it is found that they did not follow the terms of the contract the people have the right to have the funds returned for breach of contract.

    Time to stop covering up for others dirty deeds and greed. This has been the problem for far too long in this province and country. Maybe next time a contract will be paid once the work has been completed to ensure that all work has been done properly rather then trying to play catch up. Either be proactive now, or react and pay more later. We all have failed if we only react to problems rather then preventing them in the first place.

  • David
    July 02, 2010 - 13:23

    I found it quite strange that the Grace Hospital seemed to take about 2 years to demolish,yet the Janeway seemed to disappear overnight.I guess some people follow asbestos abatement protocol and others do not.

  • Josh
    July 02, 2010 - 13:22

    I had Asbestos shingles on the exterior walls of my house about a year ago and I called a siding contrator to repalce it with new vinyl siding. When the contractor came by to give me an estimate they told me that they were not allowed to remove the Asbestos siding, I had to hire an Asbestos contactor to do the work. While that contractor was at my home doing the work they had a visit by an Occupational, Health, and Safety Officer doing a check on their work. I was asking that person if everything was ok and everything was being done according to codes. The company's employees were wearing white suits and wearing respirators. They had tarps spread on the ground, they had caution tape and signs posted around the area they were working in and even had another company on site doing an air sample on the workers as they were removing the shingles. So the question is how is it that a company doing a small job like the shingles on my house have to follow these procedures and this company doing the Old Janeway site be allowed to perform thier work in this manner. If I was living in this area I would be demanding answers and for copy of this environmental report

  • Former Area Resident
    July 02, 2010 - 13:15

    I used to live in Pleasantville and still pass through the area several times a week. If I were still living there, I'd sure as hell want to know about the inadequate asbestos control procedures particularly since any hazardous materials were supposed to be removed before demolition.

    Time to smarten up by's - asbestos is deadly stuff. Out with the schmoes, and in with the pros.

    Unbelievable!

  • DFO Employee
    July 02, 2010 - 13:12

    We had the same issues with (the company doing) some asbestos abatement in the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Centre. Their people were not properly trained and did not follow proper procedures, including the use of PPE. I feel sorry for these workers as most of the ones they had here were very young and probably did not know their rights or were afraid to speak out for fear of losing their job.

  • Play
    July 02, 2010 - 13:08

    Seems that the employers here need to be legislated to hire people with the proper training to oversee the Health, Safety and Environmental concerns as is done in most other provinces. Employers here have shown time and time again that they are not capable to take the proper steps under current legislation to shield people and assets from undue harm and exposure.

    Why is it that in Newfoundland it is not a requisite to employ HSE Advisors, Coordinators or Managers unless they are a larger company and work with international clients and contracts to ensure compliance?

  • Former Area Resident
    July 01, 2010 - 20:22

    One other thing - article states that gov't has hired a consultant to test the rubble? Why should our tax dollars pay for this if the contractor appears to be deficient?

  • James
    July 01, 2010 - 20:18

    Amazing - Gov't has dozens of OHS inspectors flocking about the province ensuring that employers / employees follow legislated acts and regulations to ensure worker and public safety at any worksite. Here is a situation where not only were worker's subjected to asbestos but the general public as well. Should be interesting to see how they will remove it from the pile of rubble when regulations dictate that removal must occur in a contained enviorment - idiots. I have grave concerns for the health of the workers who demo'ed this site.

  • Kevin
    July 01, 2010 - 20:17

    If my memory serves me right the 2nd bidder on this job was almost 2 million dollars and was the same bidder who done the removal at the Grace Hospital. (experience is knowledge)

    It would appear that corners have been cut to make up the over 1 million difference in prices from the low bidder to the #2 bidder). I guess the government are getting what they pay for.

    Maybe this firm sharpened thier pencil like senior government officials and the premier have been requesting and commenting on don't get greedy contractors was the dagger thrown at contractors at a recent convention. Sometimes that low price is not the best one and if indeed the rumble is contaminated it would apppear that the proverbial sharpened pencil will be broken and a black marker will replace it to fill in the cost for further remedition.

    I just hope that the low contractor doesn't get rewarded by being paid to cleanup thier own mess. But nothing would surprise me. Pay a legitimate and well trained company to handle our hazardous material in the proper manner for all of our safety. Is that too much to ask or do we want another inquiry.

    Get it right and protect us all Mr. Tayler. Don't coverup this report like those in healthcare!!!

  • Nasty
    July 01, 2010 - 20:14

    Well they better provide the report. This was a government contract, one paid for by the taxes of the people. If it is found that they did not follow the terms of the contract the people have the right to have the funds returned for breach of contract.

    Time to stop covering up for others dirty deeds and greed. This has been the problem for far too long in this province and country. Maybe next time a contract will be paid once the work has been completed to ensure that all work has been done properly rather then trying to play catch up. Either be proactive now, or react and pay more later. We all have failed if we only react to problems rather then preventing them in the first place.

  • David
    July 01, 2010 - 20:08

    I found it quite strange that the Grace Hospital seemed to take about 2 years to demolish,yet the Janeway seemed to disappear overnight.I guess some people follow asbestos abatement protocol and others do not.

  • Josh
    July 01, 2010 - 20:07

    I had Asbestos shingles on the exterior walls of my house about a year ago and I called a siding contrator to repalce it with new vinyl siding. When the contractor came by to give me an estimate they told me that they were not allowed to remove the Asbestos siding, I had to hire an Asbestos contactor to do the work. While that contractor was at my home doing the work they had a visit by an Occupational, Health, and Safety Officer doing a check on their work. I was asking that person if everything was ok and everything was being done according to codes. The company's employees were wearing white suits and wearing respirators. They had tarps spread on the ground, they had caution tape and signs posted around the area they were working in and even had another company on site doing an air sample on the workers as they were removing the shingles. So the question is how is it that a company doing a small job like the shingles on my house have to follow these procedures and this company doing the Old Janeway site be allowed to perform thier work in this manner. If I was living in this area I would be demanding answers and for copy of this environmental report

  • Former Area Resident
    July 01, 2010 - 19:54

    I used to live in Pleasantville and still pass through the area several times a week. If I were still living there, I'd sure as hell want to know about the inadequate asbestos control procedures particularly since any hazardous materials were supposed to be removed before demolition.

    Time to smarten up by's - asbestos is deadly stuff. Out with the schmoes, and in with the pros.

    Unbelievable!

  • DFO Employee
    July 01, 2010 - 19:49

    We had the same issues with (the company doing) some asbestos abatement in the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Centre. Their people were not properly trained and did not follow proper procedures, including the use of PPE. I feel sorry for these workers as most of the ones they had here were very young and probably did not know their rights or were afraid to speak out for fear of losing their job.

  • Play
    July 01, 2010 - 19:43

    Seems that the employers here need to be legislated to hire people with the proper training to oversee the Health, Safety and Environmental concerns as is done in most other provinces. Employers here have shown time and time again that they are not capable to take the proper steps under current legislation to shield people and assets from undue harm and exposure.

    Why is it that in Newfoundland it is not a requisite to employ HSE Advisors, Coordinators or Managers unless they are a larger company and work with international clients and contracts to ensure compliance?