Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Friday April 27, 2002
Hamilton’s Randle Reef
There have been so many setbacks in cleaning up Randle Reef, the notorious dead zone in Hamilton Harbour, that it seemed as if a solution would take forever. So much for the litany of bad news associated with the toxic hot spot just west of Stelco’s Hilton Works. With key stakeholders now in agreement on a viable strategy for the cleanup, Hamilton is finally in position to correct one of the most pressing pollution problems in the harbour.
The stakeholders made a prudent choice in supporting a plan to cover the site and build a facility large enough to hold contaminated sediment from other areas in the bay. Capping Randle Reef was judged the most practical and cost-effective approach, and for good reason. The alternatives involved dredging the site, and other contaminated areas of the bay, and then trucking the waste away. It would be a messy, piecemeal, time-consuming and ultimately more expensive approach for the harbour as a whole.
The plan favoured by the stakeholders has the drawback of filling in more of the bay, which is never desirable. But there is a strong case that it’s an acceptable tradeoff in tackling not only the Randle Reef menace, but other contaminated areas in the bay which must be addressed. Under the preferred option, six to eight hectares of the harbour would be filled in. About 95,000 cubic metres of contaminated sediment at Randle Reef would be covered. The facility would be designed to accommodate another 200,000 cubic metres of contaminated sediment from elsewhere in the bay. (The Hamilton Spectator)