The Federal Government has just committed $46.3 million toward the cleanup of Randle Reef, following similar commitments from the Provincial Government and municipal stakeholders - Hamilton, Burlington, Halton, US Steel and the Hamilton Port Authority. With this federal commitment, the project is now ready to go ahead.
The reef, a shallow just offshore near Burlington Street East and Wentworth Street North between Pier 15 and Pier 16, is severely contaminated with coal tar after decades of heavy industrial manufacturing. The solution is to build a large steel enclosure to contain the toxic sediment and to build a new shipping pier on top of it.
This initiative has been in development since 2002, when Randle Reef was listed as a Great Lakes Area of Concern. Back in 2007, the Federal government offered a one-third contribution toward the estimated $90 million cost, but it took several years for the municipal partners to match the federal and provincial commitments. Since then, the cleanup cost has increased to nearly $140 million.
In addition to $46.3 million each from the Federal and Provincial governments, the City of Hamilton, US Steel and the Port Authority are each contributing $14 million, with another $2.3 million from Burlington and $2 million from Halton.
The Hamilton 350 Committee is not as impressed with the announcement. In a press release issued this morning, the Committee accused Kent of "spending our tax dollars to bury one corporate environmental mess while his party and government paves the way for future messes by trashing Canada's environmental laws and federal scientific capacity."
The Committee decries the recent Omnibus bill, which slashes both the funding and authority of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the federal Environmental Assessment Agency and the Ministry of the Environment to protect Canada's environment, laying off hundreds of scientists and muzzling those who remain.
The Feds have also exempted pipelines from several federal regulations, paving the way for the Enbridge Line 9 reversal, which runs through Hamilton and puts the city at the potential risk of a future pipeline leak once it starts carrying corrosive diluted bitumen.
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