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An Update from Royal Botanical Gardens regarding the Chedoke Creek Spill

May 4, 2020

Royal Botanical Gardens (RBG) has reviewed the City of Hamilton’s recent findings report regarding the evaluation of the impacts to Cootes Paradise and Chedoke Creek as a result of the combined sewage discharge from the Main/King Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) tank.

As a primary owner and environmental steward of land surrounding Cootes Paradise, our understanding of the ecological effects of this wastewater release differs quite significantly from the City of Hamilton’s analysis.

The City report states that current consultation indicates there has been no long-term impacts to Cootes Paradise and that no remediation is required. Our modelling of the flow conditions at this inlet indicate there is in fact greater ecological damage and contamination to the bed of the marsh than initially anticipated, and is more aligned with the City’s January 2019 report from their previous consultants, Wood, that stated multiple requirements including dredging sediment from the creek are possible.

Our position remains, that, at a minimum, further investigation is needed to address issues around locations of sediment contamination. On multiple occasions, RBG has presented technical information pertaining to the damage to plant life and water quality in the area. Unfortunately, this information was only reflected in the report in a limited way. Our consistent concerns include:

  1. Large scale deterioration of plant life, both naturally regenerated and planted
  2. Impact to water quality that involved extreme algae blooms in 2017 and 2018, which affected aquatic plant life
  3. Sediment assessment to locate 2018 spilled sludge

As the Ministry proceeds with its evaluation and report on this issue, we strongly believe that the situation requires robust analysis and broader consultation between agencies and stakeholders, including Royal Botanical Gardens, as the primary landowner.

RBG will be communicating with the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks and the City of Hamilton to recommend a technical review meeting with an aim to ensure a more comprehensive and balanced perspective is compiled on how to address the cumulative impacts on Cootes Paradise as a result of the release of wastewater between 2014 and 2018, and to inform future remediation efforts.

Mark Runciman
Chief Executive Officer, Royal Botanical Gardens