Whenever they have been asked about Chedoke Creek Cleanup, city staff have warned that the deadline to complete the work is too tight. Staff have submitted to Councillors an update on a proposed workplan to remediate Chedoke Creek. The update included information related to the first part of an Order issued by the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) related to the spill in Chedoke Creek.
The Orders, issued in late 2020, require the City to complete targeted dredging in Chedoke Creek, and undertake remediation activities in Cootes Paradise and the Western Hamilton Harbour Area.
The first part of the Order, which is related only to the targeted dredging in Chedoke Creek, must be submitted to the MECP on February 22, 2021.
Multi agency consultation
The city has been consulting with at least ten government departments and other groups on the cleanup and all parties agree that the timelines outlined in the Order are challenging to achieve, largely due to the agency approvals required to proceed through the construction. It is likely the City will be required to engage with and receive approvals from the following agencies in order to proceed with the project:
• Hamilton Conservation Authority (HCA)
• Royal Botanical Gardens (RBG)
• Ministry of Transportation (MTO)
• Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF)
• Transport Canada (TC)
• Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO)
• Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP)
• Archaeology (Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries)
• Indigenous Consultation (MECP / DFO / Local)
• Impact Assessment Agency of Canada (MECP)
Next year if we’re lucky
While the Ministry is currently requesting that the targeted dredging work be completed by October 31, 2021, the City’s consultant has provided a detailed timeline, including critical milestones and associated potential challenges with permitting and approvals from outside agencies, has also been included and currently assumes a completion date for dredging works of Q3 2022, provided no unforeseen challenges arise.
The City of Hamilton continues to be committed to the health of the watershed and to ensuring members of the public receive regular updates on the City’s efforts.
Timeline of recent events related to the Orders:
• November 20, 2020 – City receives Provincial Officer’s Order from the MECP. The Order requires the City to submit a work plan outlining dredging for Chedoke Creek, and a report outlining remediation plans for Cootes Paradise by January 22, 2021. Additionally, a work plan and implementation plan related to the remediation of Cootes Paradise would be required within five weeks of the Cootes remediation plan being approved.
• November 25, 2020 – City requests a review of the Provincial Officer’s Order to seek clarity on what specific work needs to take place and what specific water quality standards the City is being asked to meet under the Order. The City also asked the Director to consider if eight weeks is a reasonable time frame to adequately develop a plan that meets the MECP’s expectations.
• December 4, 2020 – City receives Director’s Order from the MECP, which is in response to the request for review of the Provincial Officer’s Order. The MECP extended some deadlines outlined within the original Order, but did not extend the overall time required to complete the work.
• December 9, 2020 –The MECP issues charges to the City related to the discharge into Chedoke Creek, under the authority of the Environmental Protection Act and the Ontario Water Resources Act.
• December 16, 2020 – City chooses not to appeal the MECP’s Director’s Order and begins planning for the work outlined in the Order.
• January 15, 2021 – The City was required to submit to the MECP a written notice that the City retained the services of a consultant to complete the workplan.
• February 22, 2021 – The first part of the MECP’s Director’s Orders are due to the Ministry. This includes a workplan for targeted dredging in Chedoke Creek.
• March 22, 2021 – The second part of the MECP’s Director’s Orders are due to the Ministry. This includes a report proposing remediation/mitigation methods for Cootes Paradise and the Western Hamilton Harbour Area.
Additionally, in September 2020, the City retained the services of a consultant to complete a Chedoke Water Quality Evaluation Study. Independent to the work in the Order, the study has identified short-term and long-term operating, capital and policy work that will improve water quality within the entire Chedoke Creek watershed. This work is being done in collaboration with the Bay Area Restoration Council, Conservation Halton, Environment Hamilton, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Hamilton Conservation Authority, Hamilton Harbour Remedial Action Plan, Indigenous Water Walker representatives, Ontario Ministry of Transportation and the Royal Botanical Gardens (with MT Planners, Consultant). More information on this study will be shared in spring 2021.