November 20th, 2020

Shaw: We must do much more to protect Hamilton’s water

HAMILTON – NDP MPP Sandy Shaw (Hamilton West—Ancaster—Dundas) has released a statement after the City of Hamilton finally received an order from the province requesting that the City undertake targeted dredging in Chedoke Creek and recommending mitigation measures to improve water quality in Cootes Paradise:

“Local residents have been kept in the dark about the massive spillage of untreated sewage that contaminated Chedoke Creek and Cootes Paradise. After over a year of urging the Ford government to take action, I welcome today’s order and want to express my gratitude for the staff who worked on this critical investigation.

We know much more needs to be done to prevent dangerous spills like this from ever happening again. The climate crisis will only exacerbate water quality problems, and we are already seeing the impact on our province’s aging infrastructure, including the City’s combined sewer system that will only continue to be put under more strain. It’s more important than ever that we take real and immediate action to better protect our water and our communities.

Hamiltonians deserve transparency and accountability when their water is put at risk. Local communities must be informed immediately about any spillages, advised on measures to protect their health, and provided with regular updates on what’s being done to fix it. Earlier this year, I introduced the Cootes Paradise Water Accountability Act that amends section 30 of the Ontario Water Resources Act to require the Ministry of the Environment to notify the public of discharge or escape of pollutants into the water supply. The Ford government can act right away to pass this legislation.

In addition, this government must remove Schedule 6 from its budget implementation bill. Schedule 6 sidelines conservation authorities and opens the door to development on wetlands and flood plains, putting people and property at risk of flooding, soil contamination, threats to drinking water and other hazards.

The Ford government also has an opportunity to kickstart our province’s economic recovery and get more Ontarians back to work by investing in green infrastructure projects to protect and clean our wetlands, that will create new, good paying green jobs.

Our communities shouldn’t have to wait for this government to take the climate crisis seriously. It’s more important than ever that we take real and immediate action to better protect our water."

NDP MPP Sandy Shaw will be hosting an emergency virtual town hall on the environment on November 26 at 6.00 p.m.