Randle Reef in Hamilton Harbour on Lake Ontario was once the largest contaminated sediment site on the Canadian side of the Great Lakes. The site has a legacy of industrial contamination dating back more than 150 years.

During the first two stages of remediation, over 615,000 cubic metres of contaminated sediment was managed. Following a successful competitive bidding process, a contract of $29.2 million was awarded to Milestone Environmental Contracting Inc. to complete the first phase of Stage 3 construction, which involves the installation of a multi-layered environmental cap, as a final step to isolate contaminants.

The contracting process for this work included an Indigenous Participation Plan, a measure to foster the inclusion of Indigenous communities in federal contracts through subcontracting, employment, and training and skills development. Milestone is partnering with Mississaugas of the Credit Business Corporation, strengthening economic opportunities for Indigenous-owned businesses, and supporting the integration of reconciliation as part of Government of Canada contracts. Milestone is responsible for this initial phase of Stage 3 construction, with a commitment to sub-contract more than 10 per cent of project work toward an Indigenous business.

The Randle Reef Contaminated Sediment Remediation Project is a joint initiative of the Government of Canada, the province of Ontario, the city of Hamilton, Halton Region, the city of Burlington, the Hamilton-Oshawa Port Authority, and Stelco. The over $150 million cleanup is funded through a public-private approach, with the federal government and the province of Ontario each contributing a third of the funding, and the remaining third collectively funded by local partners.

“Millions of Canadians source their drinking water from the Great Lakes, and restoring the water quality and ecosystem health of these magnificent lakes contributes to restoring our communities,” said Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change. “The Randle Reef Project is a successful example of governments, local partners, and stakeholders working together to protect our fresh water, which is critical to the health and well-being of our environment, communities, and economy. This final stage to remediate one of Canada’s most contaminated sediment sites marks a great environmental success story. We are making significant strides in protecting the Great Lakes, as well as in advancing Canada’s commitments to protect 25 percent of our fresh water by 2025.”

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The final stage of the project is scheduled to be completed in 2025. Once Stage 3 is completed, responsibility for the engineered containment facility will be transferred to the Hamilton-Oshawa Port Authority and will provide valuable port lands for the community.

“Ontario is committed to keeping our lakes and waterways clean and protected. Our support toward the Randle Reef project is integral to create a prosperous and healthy future for generations to come, with the Great Lakes being a vital source to the well-being of communities that rely on them,” said David Piccini, Ontario’s Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks.

In the spring of 2023, the Government of Canada announced a historic investment of $420 million over 10 years to accelerate the restoration and protection of the Great Lakes, as part of the strengthened Freshwater Action Plan. With the enhanced funding, Canada is aiming to complete the clean-up of 12 out of 14 remaining Canadian Areas of Concern in the Great Lakes by 2030, and all 14 of them within 15 years. The progress achieved in restoring the Hamilton Harbour Area of Concern illustrates the strength of collaboration to find the best ways to keep our water safe, clean, and well-managed.

“The remarkable progress achieved at the Randle Reef site so far is something I am very proud our team has been a part of,” said Mark Seaman, founding partner of Milestone. “We are excited to be collaborating and working with Mississaugas of the Credit Business Corporation to complete this last project phase that will hold enduring positive impacts for the harbour and community for this and future generations.”

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Recognizing that the upcoming project phase would take place on the traditional and treaty lands of the Mississaugas of the Credit, Milestone proactively initiated a long-term partnership with the Mississaugas of the Credit Business Corporation. The traditional and treaty lands of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation include almost all of Ontario’s Greater Golden Horseshoe, an area containing approximately two-thirds of Ontario’s GDP and one-fifth of Canada’s GDP. With approximately 8 million people, this is the largest single population concentration in Canada.

“We are very proud to be leading economic opportunities as part of the reconciliation process within the Traditional and Treaty Territory of our First Nation through the remediation of Randle Reef,” said Warren Sault, Chair of Mississaugas of the Credit Business LP. “We are extremely pleased that our partnership with Milestone Environmental prevailed in the competitive process in being awarded this project.”

For further information, visit: Randle Reef Project Website

Featured image credit: Government of Canada.

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