Canada: Government Announces Funding for Hamilton Harbour Cleanup

The Honourable Peter Kent, Minister of the Environment, yesterday confirmed the Government of Canada’s funding to clean up contaminated sediment at Randle Reef in Hamilton Harbour.

Environment Canada will lead the Randle Reef Contaminated Sediment Remediation Project in partnership with the Province of Ontario, the City of Hamilton, the Hamilton Port Authority, U. S. Steel Canada, the City of Burlington, and the Regional Municipality of Halton.

“The Harper Government is strongly committed to ensuring clean, safe, sustainable water quality for present and future generations,” said Minister Kent. “Cleaning up Randle Reef is vital for Hamilton and the region. This initiative will deliver environmental, health, and economic benefits to the local community over the eight year life of the project, including the creation of approximately 60 jobs.

The Randle Reef site contains sediment contaminated with persistent toxic chemicals and heavy metals, which were deposited over a long period of time from industrial operations that are no longer active. In 1985, Hamilton Harbour was identified as an Area of Concern under the Canada–United States Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement due to significant water quality impairments. While many improvements have been made to reduce pollution in the harbour, the contaminated sediment at Randle Reef remained a principal environmental challenge.

“The Province is looking forward to working with our partners to improve Burlington Bay’s environment for the benefit of the people of Hamilton, Burlington, and indeed all of Ontario,” said Jim Bradley, Ontario’s Minister of the Environment.

When those in the future look back, this is the time and the event that they will say presented a new face for Hamilton to the world. The water that provided us with our identity will now be restored to the standards of civilization. For this we will be forever grateful to our partners in the federal and provincial governments,” said Hamilton Mayor Bob Bratina.

“The City of Burlington is fortunate to include Lake Ontario and the Niagara Escarpment, both of which are natural assets worthy of protection by all levels of government,” said Mayor Rick Goldring. “The City of Burlington is pleased to contribute to the remediation of Randle Reef. Burlington will benefit as we share the watershed and shoreline of Burlington Bay, protecting this waterway for future generations.”

“As part of U. S. Steel Canada’s ongoing commitment to environmental sustainability, we are pleased to contribute to a remediation project that will benefit the entire Hamilton community,” said Anton Jura, President and General Manager of U. S. Steel Canada. “The new port facilities and green space added to the harbour front will improve the viability of the harbour to move our city forward.”

The estimated cost of the Randle Reef sediment remediation project is $138.9 million. In addition to the $46.3 million in funding from the federal government, the Province of Ontario has committed to provide $46.3 million, and $14 million is being contributed by the City of Hamilton, $14 million by U. S. Steel Canada and $14 million by the Hamilton Port Authority, as well as $2.3 million from the City of Burlington and $2 million from Halton Region.

As with any project, and keeping with the requirements of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, funding for the implementation is contingent on completion of the Environmental Assessment process.

Cleaning up Randle Reef will be the last major step in the process to restore Hamilton Harbour and remove it from the list of Areas of Concern. This initiative will improve water quality, making it safer to consume fish caught in the harbour. When completed, it will also remove current restrictions on navigation and generate economic returns through the creation of valuable port lands. The Randle Reef clean-up is part of the Government of Canada’s Action Plan for Clean Water.

Press Release, December 19, 2012

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