Brownfield properties are lands which are potentially or previously have been contaminated due to historical, industrial or business land use practices, and so are underutilized, derelict or vacant. Brownfields are often located within key areas in Toronto, the surrounding GTA and throughout local communities. Prime examples are the waterfront and Liberty village in Toronto. The key to these properties lies in their value – not merely their monetary value, but their cultural and social value at the same time. For example, a building or structure in a brownfield property may have cultural heritage value because it’s an example of an early type of construction or because it’s related to an event that is significant in a community. The redevelopment may also be tied to a municipalities heritage building bylaws creating a new unique piece of architecture. Positive redevelopment of brownfield properties can also increase community pride, encourage financial investments, and contribute to the health and vitality of a community.
While brownfield properties are more complex to develop over more traditional greenfield properties (properties which have never been previously developed), the use of redevelopment far outweigh the costs. In fact, in several cases, leaving these locations idle presents liability dangers and financial losses, not forgetting the potential impacts on the environment and human health.
There are three main factors to take into account for brownfield development:
- Tolerance for Risk
- Project Costs
Communities across Ontario are beginning to realize the use of brownfield redevelopment. Properties which stood vacant for many years are being redeveloped directly into vibrant new communities or social locations.
New jobs are increasingly being created in areas where brownfields are redeveloped, while heritage buildings are being conserved through reuse or adaption to new uses. Interest in brownfields across Ontario is enamoured with the realization that productive brownfield redevelopment projects meet provincial objectives. These consist of, intensification, Infill development, the defense of valuable green space, and also the preservation of agricultural land. Municipal objectives including the utilization of existing infrastructure (including water, sewer, transit along with community facilities), increasing property values along with the local economic base can also be met through brownfield redevelopment.
How Can We Help?
This guide is here to help professionals involved in the environmental or development field, such as real estate professionals, community development advocates, consultants, land developers, builders, housing providers, environmental practitioners, and lawyers. The aim is to help you develop an understanding of the benefits of brownfield redevelopment and how we can help you instigate the remediation process.
Contact us today to discuss any legal issues you may have regarding a brownfield in your area.