We recently acted for the owner/operator of a
scrap yard, who decided to shut down its business after more than
50 years in operation and sell their property to a developer. As
would be expected, the purchase agreement required the vendor to
remove the scrap metal stored on the site prior to closing. On the
day before closing, while the crane operator was picking up the
remaining scrap at the far corner of the property and dumping it in
a truck to be hauled away, he came upon what appeared to be a large
cache of shells and other munitions. He immediately (and wisely)
stopped the crane and notified the owner.
Our client called CFB Borden to report the
finding, who immediately sent an inspector down to investigate. Our
client's second call was to us: "Do you have any
experience with this and how is it going to affect the
closing?" The answer to the first question, of course, was
"no, no one does." Interestingly, as we delved into the
issue, we discovered that the existence of munitions is not all
that uncommon at scrap yards, particularly ones that have been in
business for a long time, as well as at properties that were once
used for military purposes or near such properties. In fact, they
are common enough to have a name - Unexploded Explosive Ordnance -
or UXO, as well as a program through the Department of National
Defence (the UXO and Legacy Sites Program), to keep records of
where UXO may potentially exist, inspect sites, conduct risk
assessments and remove it if necessary.
Given the presence of the UXO, the closing
date was extended until the DND was able to remove it, conduct a
post-removal inspection and provide a letter confirming that all
UXO was removed from the site - a process that took 4 weeks.
Fortunately, the costs of the removal were fully covered by the
How did the UXO get on the property? While
there are no written records, it is suspected that the prior
operator bought it from the DND, likely many decades earlier. The
DND would sell munitions scrap to scrap yards. Although DND policy
was that everything to be sold was to be screened to ensure the
ordnance was decommissioned, the screening process was not perfect,
resulting in some live UXO being sold. Unfortunately, the outcome
has been a number of injuries and deaths across Canada over the
years. Needless to say, the DND no longer sells munitions scrap to
As it turns out, despite the delay in
closing, the crane operator and our client did the right thing by
leaving the UXO in place and reporting it, rather than simply
hauling it away with the rest of the scrap metal. A few weeks after
the sale closed, our client received a call from the DND commending
them on their approach. The UXO from the site was re-screened and
some of it was confirmed to be live. Removing it with the crane
could well have proven disastrous.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.
Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.
The Ontario Court of Appeal confirmed that courts will generally support and uphold decisions of condominium directors because they are better positioned than judges to make decisions pertaining to their buildings.
According to the city bylaws in Calgary, the grading of lots for new buildings must be done properly so that the water never flows toward the new building or any other nearby properties, but away from those buildings.
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).