Thunder Bay·Audio

Thunder Bay Remedial Action Plan needs attention this week, group says

A group that oversees a number of cleanup efforts along Thunder Bay's waterfront wants people to pay particular attention to one project this week.

Group wants people to pay special attention to the Thunder Bay Remedial Action Plan during Canada Water Week

A 20-hectare patch of mercury-contaminated waste still sits in Thunder Bay's harbour, after decades of industrial use. (lugdc.maps.arcgis.com)
It's Canada Water Week this week, and a group of Thunder Bay residents wants people to pay particluar attention to Thunder Bay's harbour.

A group that oversees a number of cleanup efforts along Thunder Bay's waterfront wants people to pay particular attention to one project this week.

It's Canada Water Week, and Remedial Action Plan co-ordinator Jim Bailey told CBC News he wants answers about the progress of cleaning up the north end of the harbour. That's where a 20 hectare patch of mercury-contaminated pulp fibre continues to sit.
Jim Bailey is the co-ordinator of the Remedial Action Plan. (LinkedIn)

"The obvious goal of Canada Water Week is clean water for everyone, and that is a laudable goal," he continued.

"[But] here we are in Thunder Bay with an extremely large area of mercury contamination in our own harbour."

Bailey said it's been a long time since he's heard any updates from federal or provincial officials.

"We just haven't heard a thing in over a year and we would very much like to hear what is going to happen because it is a serious issue," he said.

He expects representatives from both environment ministries to be at the group's next public meeting on Wednesday, at Lakehead University.

Cost estimates for the harbour cleanup range anywhere from $20 million, up to just under $100 million, Bailey said. He added that he's also curious to know if the ministries plan on doing a cleanup, or deferring the project indefinitely.

A thick layer of pulpy fibrous material like this sample above is suspended in the water at the Thunder Bay North Harbour site. (Jamie Saunders/EcoSuperior)

In December, a spokesperson with Environment Canada confirmed that the agency is still leading efforts to clean up the harbour, "including evaluating options and approaches for the cleanup of contaminated sediments in Thunder Bay North Harbour," but that no timelines have been set. 

Bailey said it would be nice to hear more details this week.

Wednesday's meeting starts at 7 p.m.

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