St. Catharines Citizens Coalition Calls for Long Overdue Cleanup of Abandoned General Motors Site

‘Directly adjacent to downtown St Catharines, the former GM manufacturing site is an embarrassment to the city (and)  a dangerous situation that must be cleaned up immediately.’            – Citizens Coalition Spokesperson Dennis Van Meer

The abandoned General Motors site off Ontario Street in St. Catharines, Niagara – a rotting eyesore near residential neighbourhoods and the city’s downtown

Sign the Petitiion and Attend a Public Meeting this coming Saturday, January 11th at 3 p.m. at the Mahtay Café in downtown St. Catharines

A Call-Out from the Coalition for a Better St. Catharines, a city-based citizens group in Niagara

Posted January 8th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

A look inside the abandoned industrial mess near downtown St. Catharines

On Saturday, January 11, the Coalition for a Better St. Catharines (CBSC), an ad hoc group of concerned citizens, will hold a public meeting to provide community members with an update on the status of the former General Motors (GM) property on Ontario Street and efforts to make the site safe and secure.

The meeting will begin at 3:00 pm and will be held in the Community Room of the Mahtay Café (on 241 St. Paul Street in downtown St. Catharines).

Though demolition of the buildings on the GM site began more than four years ago, the demolition and clean-up plan was never completed.

In its current state, the site is a safety and health hazard. Broken fences and deteriorating sheets of plywood have allowed people to shelter in unsafe structures, exposing them and the surrounding neighbourhood to potential health hazards from mold and toxic materials such as asbestos.

The half-demolished buildings, graffiti-covered walls and fences, and piles of rotting debris have become ground zero for urban decay, depressing property values, discouraging potential investors and negatively affecting everyone living in the area.

Directly adjacent to downtown St Catharines, the former GM manufacturing site is an embarrassment to the city.

CBSC spokesperson Dennis Van Meer expressed the frustration felt by many residents; “This is a dangerous situation that must be cleaned up immediately. Of course we are all hoping for a responsible buyer of the property to remedy the situation swiftly, but after three years of little or no activity, there is still no guarantee that the property will be sold  or that a new buyer will move quickly to clean it up.”

The CBSC is circulating a petition that urges the City to “proceed without delay to do whatever is necessary to clean up the GM site and make it safe and secure.”

The group is also calling on the City and other levels of government to be fully transparent in releasing all documents on the GM site that reference health and safety issues.

On the old GM site property what, if anything, is being stored in these barrels and containers? Unfortunately, we have no real Ministry of Environment left in Ontario to tell us.

According to Van Meer, response to the petition initiative has been overwhelming.

“In just a few weeks,” he said, “we have already collected more than 1,000 signatures. Citizens from all over St Catharines want the site cleaned and made safe and are asking the City to exercise the power it has to ensure this happens soon.”

Property by-laws allow for the City to enter any abandoned property and immediately remove hazardous waste and clean up the site. The City has cited the owners for numerous property and fire by-law violations, which they have failed to act upon.

The Saturday, January 11th public meeting is designed to share the latest information available on the site and discuss a plan that urges the City to finally take immediate action.

Chaired by Ed Smith of CBSC, the meeting is open to all.

The GM Lands site information meeting is scheduled for 3 pm on Saturday, January 11th, 2020 at Mahtay Café, 241 St. Paul Street, St. Catharines.

For more information, please refer to the Coalition for a Better St. Catharines Facebook page at

The petition is also available for signing on this Facebook page.

The Coalition for a Better St. Catharines is an ad hoc group of citizens that believes communities have the power to create spaces that serve their needs. We are committed to helping make St Catharines a progressive and prosperous city that is responsive to the needs and input of all.

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