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Management Plan

Impact of activities past and present

  • Impacts of human quarantine activities
  • Impacts of bacteriological experiments by the Department of Defence
  • Impacts of Agriculture Canada research and animal quarantine activities
  • Impacts associated with human activities

In 1989, Parks Canada asked Health and Welfare Canada to conduct a risk assessment regarding public safety with respect to past and present activities on Grosse Île. Following recommendations by specialists, a number of measures were taken to ensure public safety and improve the quality of the environment. These measures are summarized below.

Impacts of human quarantine activities

An assessment of the potential risks associated with the presence of viruses or bacteria from the human quarantine activities concluded that there is no possibility that viruses or bacteria have survived on the island. However, a sanitary protocol (Vaudry, 1990) was prepared and applied in 1990 as a preventive measure for workers who might be exposed to pathogens during archaeological digs and excavation work.

Of all the chemicals used to disinfect immigrants and their belongings, only bichloride of mercury seems to have subsisted in the buildings where it was once used. According to historical research, this chemical was used from 1893 to 1899 in two buildings, the wash house and the disinfection building. Both were screened for metallic mercury in 1996, and findings were negative.

Impacts of bacteriological experiments by the Department of Defence

From 1942 to 1945, the Department of Defence conducted bacteriological research on Grosse Île, mainly on the anthrax bacterium ( Bacillus anthracis ). This work was performed in the disinfection building. A special committee from Health and Welfare Canada investigated this matter. Samples were taken in the building and screened for this micro-organism; findings were negative. However, in 1991, in accordance with the committee’s recommendations, Parks Canada completely disinfected this building.

Impacts of Agriculture Canada research and animal quarantine activities

From 1957 until the late 1980s, Agriculture Canada ran a research and animal quarantine station on Grosse Île. Because decontamination standards were very strict, the committee from Health and Welfare Canada concluded that these past activities posed no risk to human health today. 23

Impacts associated with human activities

Activity on the island over the years has resulted in an accumulation of refuse of all types. In 1993, Parks Canada conducted a study of the deteriorated sites on Grosse Île (Tremblay, 1993) and collected and removed all refuse found. Two years later, Parks Canada cleaned up soil that had been contaminated with hydrocarbons. In 1995, a rehabilitation program (Marineau, 1995) for deteriorated sites was implemented to restore these forest environments to their natural state. These measures significantly aided the implementation of both the environmental management system and an action plan for national historic sites located in the greater Québec City area (Vaudry and Quenneville, 1998). These initiatives endorse the principles of sustainable development set out by the Government of Canada and foster a healthy environment. One such measure involves rebuilding a portion of the wastewater treatment system and upgrading it to standards. A second such measure, in operation for several years now, involves managing and recycling dry materials on the island.

23. Nevertheless, it should be pointed out that, periodically, biomedical waste still turns up in fields where manure was once spread. These sectors are, however, off limits to the public.

Analysis of the current situation

Ownership and legal context
Commemorative integrity of the site
Condition of landscapes and level-1 resources
Communication of site messages of national historic significance
General status
Impacts of activities past and present
Public visitation and use
Visitation figures
Facilities and services
Regional tourism context