Industrial waste used to be poured directly into the harbour. Three waste water treatment plants discharged into the harbour, and runoff from urban areas flowed freely. Contaminated sediment settled into the harbour. The Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement between Canada and the US named Hamilton Harbour as one of the 43 Areas of Concern. A document called the Remedial Action Plan was produced in 1992 laying out a plan to undo years of abuse to the harbour. Community involvement came from the Bay Area Restoration Council, who promoted clean up projects, monitored and assessed the implementation of the RAP.
Developing Hamilton’s Waterfront.
Major accomplishments to date, include upgrades to 2 of the waste water treatment plants, and a $20 million rehab of the Windemere Basin. In 2013 a 25 hectare chunk of industrial land was reclaimed, restoring a local ecosystem and providing natural wildlife areas and park lands. By 2020 the harbour is expected to be delisted as an area of concern.
Where once Hamilton’s shorelines were an ecological disaster, featuring dirty smelling water and dead fish..they are now attracting tourists, residents , and business.
Hamilton’s Royal Botanical Gardens jumped into the picture to add their skill to the Cootes Paradise Marsh. Their work is bringing life back to the marsh. Once an area teaming with life , it descended into a dark brown polluted pond. The causes were sewage, invasive carp, and land use changes leading to erosion. With the help of volunteers some 50,000 aquatic plants were introduced in the 90’s. Formerly barren…something started to happen. The quality of the water had started to improve. Canoes can now be seen regularly , as the residents get out and enjoy these areas. There was a big biodiversity festival and a birding festival. The Hamilton waterfront is becoming a place to go if you want to enjoy life and the water. Congratulations to Hamilton!
Experience Hamilton’s Waterfront..