EDMONTON, AB (October 16, 2013): Today, Wildrose Environment Critic Joe Anglin called on the Environment and Sustainable Resource Development Minister to investigate and refute allegations that the government has allowed a business to operate without paying taxes or rent on contaminated land belonging to the province.
Allegations surfaced in a locally distributed tabloid called “Elephant Times Investigative Newspaper,” which alleges the main plant of Page the Cleaner on 142 Street in Edmonton operates on land contaminated with high levels of the dangerous dry cleaning chemical perchloroethylene (perc). The article alleges that workers have been exposed to the toxic chemicals dumped on the land by the previous occupants, and that the current business owners were allowed to squat rent and tax free on the land for about a decade. “Last week I was made aware of serious allegations that were printed in a tabloid called the Elephant Times. The main allegations seem completely unbelievable. No Albertan would expect that a business could operate on polluted land without paying property taxes or rent to anyone for over a decade,” Anglin said. “However, a preliminary investigation has confirmed many aspects of the story, including confirming that the land in question is contaminated with perc.” The land appears to be owned by the province and was previously owned by the City of Edmonton after it was surrendered for non-payment of property taxes. The Wildrose Official Opposition has also confirmed that efforts by private interests to purchase and remediate the land were stymied by the Province. “I am asking the ESRD Minister to investigate these allegations and reassure all Albertans that no business can operate on contaminated land owned by the Province without paying rent or property taxes. The government also needs to confirm that workers’ health and safety has not been put in jeopardy,” Anglin said. “Albertans want to know that we have strong environmental regulations and that these are equally enforced for the benefit of the environment and all the legitimate businesses who strive to protect the environment.”