Hurdle cleared in Randle Reef cleanup

Source:, June 29, 2013
By: Kevin Werner

The federal Environment Ministry’s has cleared the $140-million project to clean up Randle Reef under the federal environment assessment program is one of the last hurdles to finally begin constructing the facility to contain the toxic sediment.
“It’s exceptionally good news,” said Chris McLaughlin, executive director of the Bay Area Restoration Council. “It’s a big check mark for the project.”
Still, for any construction to take place, the federal government needs to get signed documents from all of the stakeholders to make sure they all know their responsibilities to oversee the containment facility once it’s completed.
Nearly two months ago, the Hamilton Port Authority raised concerns about what happens if something goes wrong with the containment facility.
McLaughlin said as far as he understands the negotiations over those documents are “rolling behind the scenes.”
“The agreements are continuing to be worked out,” he said.
Once those documents are set, then request for proposals and contracts will be determined for the project.
Federal Environment Minister Peter Kent announced last week that the Randle Reef project is “not likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects” under the Canadian Environment Assessment Agency guidelines.
Ministry officials stated that the project was assessed using a “science-based” approach under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency.
He referred the project back to various stakeholders, including Environment Canada, the Hamilton Port Authority and Transport Canada. The project also needs to receive permits and authorizations, such as under the Fisheries Act and the Navigable Waters Act, before any construction takes place.
McLaughlin says it will be at least until 2014 before any building can be seen on the water.
The federal minister’s decision comes about seven months after the Conservatives agreed to increase its share of the $140-million cost to $46.3 million. The provincial government had already bumped up its commitment to $46.3 million, with the city, U.S. Steel and the Hamilton Port Authority each providing $14 million. Burlington is chipping in with $2.3 million, and Halton Region adding $2 million.
The toxic ooze lies under six to eight metres of water. The project includes constructing a capped engineered containment facility of about 7.5 hectares that includes a peninsula attached to the Hamilton Port Authority’s Pier 15. The containment facility would contain about 130,000 cubic metres of contaminated sediment, as well as 500,000 cubic metres of dredged contaminated sediments from the surrounding area.

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