Final tab could hit $11 million

Bear Island clean-up set for next summer


The clean-up of about 4,300 rusty fuel barrels and contaminated soil starts next summer on Bear Island in James Bay.

The island, which lies within Nunavut, is located 60 kilometres northwest of Chisasibi and 300 kms south of Sanikiluaq.

From the 1950s to 1965, the flat, rocky island served as a mid-Canada line radar site.

And, like many of these abandoned radar sites, there's still lots of junk lying around, including old metal parts, lead paint and batteries, as well as soil, which is contaminated with toxic substances like polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).

The goal of the two-year $7 million to $11 million project on Bear Island is to bury or remove the junk, contaminated soil and hazardous materials.

The mid-Canada line, also known as the McGill Fence, was a line of radar stations across the "middle" of Canada, which was to provide early warning in case of an attack on North America from Russian bombers.

But as the attack threat changed from bombers to long-range missiles, the radar stations were replaced by the Distance Early Warming sites further to the north.

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