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Kingston residents meet virtually to discuss inner harbour cleanup

Nearly 80 community members gathered virtually on Zoom to discuss the outcomes of the inner harbour clean up at Cataraqui River, from the Lasalle Causeway to Belle Island. Friends of the Inner Harbour

A community meeting took place Wednesday night over Zoom to discuss a controversial plan to clean up Kingston’s inner harbour.

The federal government has unveiled a $71 million proposal to dredge or cap parts of the Cataraqui River, extending from the Lasalle Causeway to Belle Island.

The area is known to have extensive riverbed contamination from the city’s industrial past, but the near-shore cleanup has riled many local residents. They fear it could disturb contaminants which will threaten water quality, wildlife habitats and local business, Metalcraft Marine.

Read more: Transport Canada’s plan to clean contaminants from Kingston harbour could close Metal Craft Marine

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The River First YGK group organized a virtual community meeting where they discussed the various options for the harbour.

One of the meeting organizers, Jeremy Milloy, says, “The river is the lifeline of our community and it’s really important that we get this right.”

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The meeting saw various speakers that presented visuals on the history of the area and some of the steps that could be taken to meet the various demands of the community.

Brynne Takhar, a facilitator at the virtual event, says it was important to ensure that everyone was included and their opinions were heard.

“So many people are already concerned,” Takhar says. “There is a lot of community interest on the issue”.

Milloy and Takhar run a Facebook page called River First YGK where they have discussions surrounding the cleanup. For those that don’t want to be public, they can send an email to riverfirstygk@gmail.com.

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