Hamilton

City of Hamilton resumes dredging of Chedoke Creek — without Haudenosaunee consent

The city of Hamilton has resumed cleaning Chedoke Creek and, despite a request, won't consult the local Haudenosaunee community, on whose traditional lands the creek sits, before the dredging begins again.

The cleaning resumes without Haudenosaunee consent

Dredging resumes at Chedoke Creek on Sept 21, with in-water works to start four to five days later. (Patrick Morrell/CBC)

The city of Hamilton has resumed cleaning Chedoke Creek and, despite a request, won't consult the local Haudenosaunee community, on whose traditional lands the creek sits, before the dredging begins again.

The dredging of the creek after a spill of 24 billion litres of sewage and stormwater into the water was planned to begin Aug. 22. It was paused to allow for consultation with the Haudenosaunee Development Institute (HDI) on how it may impact treaty rights and the environment.

The HDI had also requested, in a Sept. 8 city council meeting, for the city to submit an application with a fee to obtain consent to continue the project on the property.

The city has resumed the dredging efforts without HDI consent.

"I think that the city's conduct is, unfortunately, highly irresponsible where it continues to fail to communicate," said Aaron Detlor from HDI.

Detlor said the city needed to consult with the Haudenosaunee Confederacy Chiefs Council (HCCC) for any projects on their treaty lands.

City spokesperson Matthew Grant had said that while the city can't approve all applications and fees for all future public works projects, there was potential it could happen for the work at Chedoke Creek.

Wood Group, the city's consultant, had said in-water dredging work must start by Sept. 22.

Construction was set to begin on site starting Wednesday, with the in-water dredging to begin four to five days later.

Director of the Hamilton Water Division, Nick Winters, said that the city of Hamilton isn't in a position to obtain consent from the Haudenosaunee.

"The Haudenosaunee are looking for a legislative change that requires municipalities to seek consent from third parties. That would have to come from senior levels of government," he said.

Winters also said that the city would not obtain Haudenosaunee consent for any retroactive effect on the project.

While in favour of the cleaning, Detlor stressed the importance of the city to offer good-faith meaningful consultation with the group. 

Detlor says he hasn't been contacted by the city since the meeting.

"With respect to the city's decisions in an open and transparent fashion, it seems intent to ignore its obligations to uphold the honour of the crown," he said.

The city says that they have sent correspondence to the HDI's legal counsel and are sharing progress updates regularly.

CBC has been unable to contact the HDI's legal counsel for comment. 

now