Hamilton Harbour Area of Concern
The Hamilton Harbour Area of Concern is a 2150 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 centers, including the City of Hamilton (including Ancaster, Dundas, Flamborough, Stoney Creek), the City of Burlington, and portions of the Regional Municipality of Halton and the Township of Puslinch are located in the watershed.
Why was this area listed?
Major environmental issues of concern in the area included:
- Water Quality and Bacterial Contamination
- Urbanization and Land Management
- Toxic Substances and Sediment Remediation
- Fish and Wildlife
- Public Access and Aesthetics
- Education and Public Information
- Research and Monitoring
What is being done? How is it being done?
In order to improve the environmental conditions noted above, a Remedial Action Plan (RAP) was developed for Hamilton Harbour. The Hamilton Harbour RAP is coordinated federally and consists of the Bay Area Implementation Team (BAIT) and the Bay Area Restoration Council (BARC).
- BAIT is comprised of 18 agencies representing the three levels of government, one academic institution, two industrial partners, the port authority, two conservation authorities, the Royal Botanical Gardens, a waterfront trust and a public stakeholder group.
- BARC is a public stakeholder group made up of private citizens, agencies (including government), institutions, industries and other environmental groups.
In 1989 the RAP Stage 1 Report was completed, defining the problems in the harbour. This was followed by the Stage 2 Report in 1992, which suggested goals, options and recommended actions. Fifty recommended remedial actions were developed through this process, which included public consultation. This is not to say that remedial work waited until 1992. There have been many ongoing initiatives that have led to improvements in the Areas of Concern.
A RAP Stage 2 Update Report was completed in 2003. This document provides the current status of the RAP and identifies 57 recommendations with 159 associated tasks and timelines for completion.
Highlight of the RAP
Sediment remediation remains one of the major challenges for the Hamilton Harbour RAP. In 2002, the Randle Reef Project Advisory Group (PAG) consisting of a cross-section of stakeholders came to consensus on a preferred option for remediation that favoured a whole Harbour solution. The PAG recommended the construction of a facility that optimized containing in place the majority of highly contaminated sediments in the area of Randle Reef and placing within the containment facility, moderately contaminated sediment from the surrounding area and other parts of the Harbour. The final 9.5 ha mixed use peninsula is designed to incorporate both port components and naturalized shoreline areas. An Engineering Study was completed and a preferred option was chosen from a short list of design options. Still to be completed before construction can start are:
- a preferred design option with costing review and comprehensive environmental assessment study,
- securing funding and partnerships, and
- the contract tender and award.
Construction and dredging are anticipated to begin in 2009, lasting an estimated ten years.
- Date Modified: