Province agrees on funding for the remediation of Randle Reef

The province has finally agreed on its contribution to help clean up Hamilton’s polluted harbour.

The Ministry of the Environment made the announcement on Monday that the province will contribute $46.3 million to the remediation of Randle Reef.

Randle Reef is a part of Hamilton Harbour and one of the most toxic sites in any of the Great Lakes. The area is 12-hectares of shale reef which has been polluted by toxic sediment – coal tar – from the conversion of coal into coke (which is a form of fuel).

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Mixed Use Plan for Randle Reef (Photo Courtesy: Environment Canada)

The province’s contribution to the cleanup tops off the funding needed for the remediation of the site. With its contribution, the $140 million capping plan can move forward.

Along with the province, Hamilton will contribute $14 million over a 10-year period; Burlington and the Halton Region will contribute over $4.3 million; the Hamilton Port Authority will chip in $14 million, and US Steel is investing $12 million in a containment facility, as well as a $2 million contribution.

Mark Johnson, a spokesperson for Environment Canada, says once everything is in place, clean up will begin in 2014.

“A key next step will involve the negotiation of legal project implementation agreements among all funders to confirm the details of contributions, roles and responsibilities in the management of the project, followed by the tendering of the project,” said Johnson.

A clean Randle Reef will not only mean reduced contaminant levels, but also some possible economic returns for the city of Hamilton.

“[The remediation] will also remove current restrictions on navigation and generate economic returns benefits during the construction phase and through the creation of valuable port lands,” said Johnson.

John Hall, co-coordinator of the Hamilton Harbour Remedial Action Plan, says some of the things seen since the remedial action plan started (back in 1985) is the exponential growth of the west end of the harbour in the last 10 years, with new parks and new trails.

“We’re going to see a […] continuation of the various improvements that have been made in the way of public amenities for people to visit the harbor, to recreate in the harbour. That will be the major thing, I think, that people will see,” said Hall.

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