Hamilton awaiting approval of extension to complete slow Chedoke Creek dredging

A dredging boat in Chedoke Creek near Kay Drage Park Hamilton. Global News

Targeted dredging of Chedoke Creek is nearing completion but not likely to be finished ahead of a Tuesday deadline, according to a City of Hamilton spokesperson.

The city’s director of watershed management revealed an ask has been made of the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks to approve one final extension to allow for the completion of in-water work at the creek.

That request would move the deadline from the end of October to the end of November, according to watershed’s Cari Vanderperk.

“We have consumed pretty much our entire scheduled buffer, what we call contingency, with the unseasonably wet summer,” Vanderperk said.

Contractors and equipment were deployed at Kay Drage Park in July, including a dredging barge and pipeline remediating the creek following the release of 24 billion litres of untreated wastewater between 2014 and 2018.

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The work, originally set to happen during six months in 2022, has experienced delays amid negotiations with a group representing the Haudenosaunee Confederacy Chiefs Council.

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The Haudenosaunee Development Institute (HDI) was one of several Six Nations groups seeking answers on the scope of the remediation process as per their treaty rights.

In May, the city came to an agreement ending an application in the courts to compel the provincial Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks to give city contractors full access to the site.

If approved, Vanderperk says it’s not likely they will need the entire extra month requested since a recent update from contractors suggested they only need about two weeks to go back into areas that need more work.

Workers have dealt with delays tied to larger objects embedded in sediment that have damaged pumps.

“There’s all kinds of interesting things in the bottom of the creek from over the years,” Vanderperk said.

“So there’s been quite a few large rocks that weren’t expected and interfered with the pumping process.”

City staff are not speculating on how quickly the creek will recover from the spill and subsequent dredging.

“We’re hoping over time, once the environment has a chance to respond and things sort of slow down, there that they’ll see improvements,” Vanderperk said.

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