From Paul Blampied.
YEARS ago the people of Jersey campaigned to have an underground car park with a park on top which the States promised to provide. It still hasn’t been provided.
A park without the car park is not even close – it’s not what was asked for and it’s not wanted. Knocking down a housing estate to create a car park in a different area of town is not wanted. The excuse for not creating the underground car park is the cost to treat contaminated soil. So it’s time for a compromise to get the Gas Place park and car park built.
To get the costs back under control, why not just remove half the depth of contaminated soil? Instead of a fully underground car park just go down four or five feet so it’s partially sunk into the ground. The park that forms the roof of the car park would then be four or five feet above the surrounding ground level. Five feet up is not the end of the world – it’s still workable as a park.
So now we have already halved the cost of treating contaminated soil, because only half the amount has been dug out. Next reduce the cost by half again. We know which bits of Gas Place are the most contaminated, from all the tests that have been done in the area, so send away for treatment only the most contaminated third of the soil that’s dug out.
Sure, it’s always desirable to have zero contamination, but we live in the real world where that’s very seldom achievable. All contamination is eventually broken down and decomposed by microbes and bacteria in the surrounding environment.
It will take hundreds of years for what’s under Gas Place to decompose because it’s a large amount in a small area, making it difficult for nature to deal with. But at lower concentrations of contamination it’s easier and faster for nature’s microbes to get at and break it down.
Take your time over digging out of the soil from Gas Place – just a few lorry trips a day dumping the lesser contaminated soil at La Collette, which will allow it to be diluted as it’s mixed in with all the other rubble that’s dumped at the site from the rest of the Island. This low concentration of contamination spread out over a large area will allow the bacteria and microbes easier access to breakdown and contamination naturally over quite a short time span.