Water Quality and Safety at Cootes Paradise

The health and safety of its visitors, program participants and staff are Royal Botanical Gardens’ top priority and RBG takes proactive measures to ensure that all programming and activities take place in areas that pose no health risks, following public health standards set by the Canadian Recreational Water Quality Guidelines.

RBG was surprised to learn of the scale and duration of the Chedoke Creek sewage spill. In July 2018, RBG staff alerted the City of Hamilton of a spill at Chedoke Creek and worked with Hamilton Public Health to limit access to the affected areas of Cootes Paradise. RBG took immediate action to guarantee the safety of its staff and visitors; including cancelling public programs during the time when water quality was below the acceptable range.

Water monitoring conducted as recently as September 2019 shows that water quality at Cootes Paradise is safe for recreational activities (with the exception of the lower Chedoke Channel) and has been safe at the most affected area, Princess Point, since September 2018. RBG programming takes place at the north end of Cootes Paradise away from areas that have been of concern. In total, Cootes Paradise Marsh holds about 2 billion litres of water and represents a large pool at the end of a 270 sq. km watershed. Under average flows, water completely passes through and is replaced at Cootes Paradise on a weekly basis.

RBG will continue to work with the City of Hamilton and other agencies to monitor the quality of water in Cootes Paradise and address any environmental disruptions, should they occur.

RBG appreciates council’s decision to release reports detailing the Chedoke Creek spill, and the inclusion of information provided by RBG in these reports. RBG will be reviewing them to inform future actions.

As environmental stewards, Royal Botanical Gardens will continue to protect our natural lands and provide a safe and vibrant space for people to connect with the natural world. For information on RBGs conservation efforts in Cootes Paradise, please visit rbg.ca/wetlandrestoration.

Please direct all inquiries regarding the Chedoke Creek sewage spill to:

City of Hamilton’s Public Works Department:
(905) 545-4551
or visit here: hamilton.ca/government-information/site-policies/contact-us