Image of the Ballroom (speaker setup) at Vancouver Island Conference Centre

Press Release

January 20, 2006 – Soil Stabilization to Start at NNC

(Nanaimo, British Columbia) – Soil stabilization is slated to start in March on the Vancouver Island Conference Centre (VICC) portion of the NNC site. This is necessary because of the challenging soil conditions existing on the site. These include contaminated and unstable soil used to fill in what was once part of the natural harbour decades ago. A process called “cutter soil mixing” has been selected.

Cutter soil mixing uses German machinery to strengthen the soil conditions in preparation for foundation work later in the spring. The process mixes the existing soil on site with concrete to form an interlocking web of hardened material to create a stable base for the foundation work. This technique is used mainly for stabilizing soft or loose soils.

The City also looked at several other options as possible solutions (stone columns, steel pilings, concrete columns, bulk excavation combined with soil replacement). Soil mixing emerged as the preferred choice, based on a cost and risk analysis undertaken by the project team.

Soil mixing offers high productivity, the use of existing soil on site as a stabilizing material, as well as no vibrations induced during construction, which is beneficial when working in the vicinity of other structures and services.

This process has been used extensively around the globe; however this project along with a Costco site in Richmond later this year will see the first application of cutter soil mixing in Canada.

“Our design team brought forward this innovative solution to our attention” said Mayor Gary Korpan. “Not only is this an effective solution, but it will generate less noise than driving in columns, and will have less impact on adjoining businesses.”

Prior to the soil mixing, excavation activity will continue on site, followed by gravel placement in the work area which must be compacted. This compacted gravel base will provide the staging platform to allow soil mixing. This portion of work will generate noise and vibration but for a much shorter period than would occur with a column-based platform.

Pending Council approval, foundation work will commence in the spring as work continues on the site of the New Nanaimo Centre, the Vancouver Island Conference Centre, Nanaimo Museum, the Marriott hotel and related facilities.

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Roanne Goldsman or Rachelle Stark
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