Cleaning Up Kingston’s Inner Harbour
A hundred years ago, Kingston’s inner harbour looked very different with many large industrial factories, railways and shipping ports that unfortunately left behind a legacy of contamination in many areas. As a City, we’ve been working hard over the last several decades to facilitate the clean-up and redevelopment of contaminated lands along the waterfront. This week we received news that the federal government is considering a plan to clean up contaminated sediments beneath the Cataraqui River. These contaminants are very harmful to fish and wildlife in the area. Most of the contaminants are in the shallow soil along the riverbank, and if they are not removed, there is concern these contaminants will spread and cause even more harm to wildlife and make cleanup much more difficult in the long run.
The City has been advocating for this cleanup for many years, and I’m encouraged the federal government is now looking to spend more than $70 million to address this long standing environmental issue. However, at this week’s Council meeting there were a number of concerns expressed about potential risks of the cleanup and about the importance of protecting existing wildlife. Before proceeding further, Council is going to invite representatives from Transport Canada to present details of the cleanup project to residents at a future public meeting. I’m hopeful that in partnership with the City and other landowners, we can safely remove remaining contamination in the Inner Harbour and improve the diversity and health of wildlife here. This is also an opportunity to bring renewal to this incredible area in our city.