Vale offers to buy Meatbird Lake from city of Sudbury

The City of Greater Sudbury is considering an offer to sell a piece of recreational land in Lively.

Vale Limited wants to buy the Meatbird Lake Recreation Area from the city at market value, and is also offering to contribute $400,000 to a recreational fund to “enhance other existing recreational structures in the community of Lively.”

According to the city, the lake itself is 175.0 hectares in size and has a shoreline perimeter of 20.3 kilometres. It was purchased from Inco in 1974 for $2.

It’s currently the site of a public beach and parkland, into which Vale pumps potable water to make it safer for swimmers.

In a document presented to city council, Claire Parkinson, the company’s head of operational services, said the reason the company wants to purchase the land is to “remediate legacy environmental impacts, reduce water consumption and reduce public safety risk.”

The land is close to Vale’s central tailings area, and the company said it requires some environmental remediation work, including an improvement to the seepage systems, and removing impacted material from the bottom of the lake.

At city council Tuesday night, Coun. Robert Kirwan said the company is likely facing pressure to fall into compliance with Ontario’s environmental laws.  

“I guess what I’m hearing is that because of your legislative responsibilities, Vale may have to purchase this property because it doesn’t sound as if you can meet your responsibilities without owning this property,” Kirwan said. 

And Coun. Gerry Montpellier questioned whether that’s enough money.

“$400,000 would never ever replace such a beach and a swimming hole as Meatbird Lake, that’s pretty much all I’m trying to drive at,” Montpellier said.

Council did not make any decision on Vale’s offer.

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