Baird, Sweet and Wallace deliver action from the Government of Canada to clean up Hamilton Harbour

    HAMILTON, ON, Nov. 9 /CNW Telbec/ - The Honourable John Baird, Minister
of the Environment, David Sweet, Member of Parliament for
Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Westdale and Mike Wallace, Member of Parliament
for Burlington, announced today that the Government of Canada is investing
$30 million towards the clean-up of contaminated sediment in Randle Reef in
the Hamilton Harbour Area of Concern in the Great Lakes.
    "Delivering action to cleaning up the Great Lakes and our Canadian waters
is important for this government," said Minister Baird. "We know that Randle
Reef is a priority and that is why our government is putting its funding on
the table immediately to ensure that the Hamilton lakefront returns to
productive economic and recreational use for the benefit of us and our
    Hamilton Harbour is the largest and most severely contaminated Canadian
site within the Great Lakes. It is expected that the Province of Ontario,
along with municipal and local partners will each contribute one-third of the
remaining costs.
    "This is a great day for Hamilton Harbour and the environment in this
area," said Mr. Sweet. "So many have worked so hard and I'm pleased that our
Government has recognized the calls that MP Wallace and I have made to address
Randle Reef."
    The project involves the construction of a 9.5-hectare containment
facility (made of double-lined steel walls with a clay bottom), which will be
built around the area with the heaviest contamination and be used to store the
less contaminated sediment dredged from the surrounding area. Once dredging is
complete, the facility will be capped with clean fill and two-thirds of the
area will become a shipping pier and the rest a naturalized shoreline. The
containment facility is expected to have a 200-year lifespan.
    "There is nothing more vital to our communities and our people than
clean, healthy water. It is what Canadians demand and my constituents
deserve," said Mr. Wallace. "The people of Hamilton deserve to have their
waterfront returned to them and today we are taking a major step towards
restoring the full economic and recreational potential of this harbour."
    This major investment to clean up Hamilton Harbour is part of the
Government of Canada's Action Plan for Clean Water. Recently, the Government
has also taken action to protect water quality, including tough new
regulations against the dumping of raw sewage and improving raw sewage
treatment in municipalities and first nation communities across Canada. These
measures will help filter out substances like phosphates, which can lead to
excessive blue-green algae production.

    Backgrounders on the Hamilton Harbour clean-up project and the overall
Great Lakes clean-up initiative are available at:

    (Egalement offert en français)



    With an investment of $30 million, our Government is taking real action
to clean up one of the largest and most severely contaminated sites within the
Canadian side of the Great Lakes - Hamilton Harbour. Through this commitment,
our Government is addressing the principal environmental challenge facing the
Harbour, the remediation of contaminated sediment in Randle Reef.
    Randle Reef is an underwater deposit of 630,000 cubic metres of heavily
contaminated coal tar (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) that was deposited
there over a long period of time, from industrial operations that have since
closed operations. In Canada, it is second only to the Sydney Tar Ponds as a
site contaminated by coal tar. The eight-year clean-up is expected to begin in
2008 and be completed by 2016.
    In 2007, a research study by York University revealed that the net
benefits (environmental, social and economic) of cleaning up Randle Reef are
estimated at $126 million over 25 years. This project would further advance
the economic competitiveness of the region through expanded port facilities
and shoreline redevelopment.
    The chosen method for addressing contaminated sediment in Randle Reef was
developed in consultation with stakeholders, including the Hamilton Port
Authority, the Ontario Ministry of the Environment, the City of Hamilton, the
Hamilton Region Conservation Authority, the Bay Area Restoration Council,
Hamilton Steel (formerly Stelco) and the public. This approach of confined
disposal and beneficial use is standard. It has been used in the Netherlands
and is being proposed in many European cases on a much larger scale.

    Hamilton Harbour is a 2,150-hectare embayment located at the western tip
of Lake Ontario and connected to the lake by a ship canal across the sandbar
that forms the bay. Several urban centres are located in the watershed and
include the cities of Hamilton, Ancaster, Dundas, Flamborough, Stoney Creek,
Burlington, portions of Halton Region and the Township of Puslinch.
    Areas of Concern are severely degraded geographic areas within the Great
Lakes Basin. Restoring environmental quality is a priority due to their impact
on local and basin-wide ecosystem health. The Governments of Canada and
Ontario recently announced the 2007 Canada-Ontario Agreement Respecting the
Great Lakes Basin Ecosystem. The Agreement focuses on cleaning up the
remaining 15 Canadian Areas of Concern in the Great Lakes. The Randle Reef
clean-up is part of the Government of Canada's Action Plan for Clean Water and
its goal of ensuring that all Canadians have access to clean, safe and healthy

For further information:

For further information: Eric Richer, Press Secretary, Office of the
Minister of the Environment, (819) 997-1441; Media Relations: Environment
Canada, (819) 934-8008, 1-888-908-8008

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