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Kingston, Ont. man says animals dying due to pollution from third crossing construction

Click to play video: 'Kingston, Ont., man concerned over water pollution from third crossing construction' Kingston, Ont., man concerned over water pollution from third crossing construction
A local man is sounding the alarm over animals potentially dying due to styrofoam spilling into the water from the nearby Waaban crossing construction site in Kingston – May 9, 2022

A Kingston, Ont. man is sounding the alarm about the impact of the third bridge construction on wildlife.

He claims animals are dying along the shoreline after eating styrofoam that has spilled into the river.

Carl Hanna walks the path behind his apartment every day with his dog and he says he’s disturbed by the number of dead animals he’s been finding along the west riverbank from the Waaban crossing construction where he lives.

“I’ve taken out two dead beavers, two dead muskrats, a swan. There’s thousands of fish up on the beach over here,” Hanna says.

He says that he has cleaned up the shores near his house multiple times when styrofoam has washed up.

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He says that it comes from something called “the turbidity curtain” — a floating barrier that extends underwater to keep anything from escaping the third crossing construction area. But he says the barrier has been chewed by muskrats, releasing some of the debris, which eventually worked its way downstream.

“My concern is that it’s not getting cleaned up quite enough, and this year I’ve noticed a headcount of dead animals through this bay that I’ve never seen before,” Hanna says.

At the site of the Waaban crossing construction, City of Kingston commissioner of major projects, Mark Van Buren, said that while there was a problem with muskrats chewing the curtain and having styrofoam escape, his team has been as diligent as possible when it comes to cleanup.

“They’re looking upstream and downstream, on both the west shore and the east shore, looking for any of that styrofoam that might have been released outside of the job site,” Van Buren says.

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He also says that due to the issues with the turbidity curtain, the top parts that were chewed through have been replaced with newer, harder materials to avoid running into the same problem.

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Back across the shore, Hanna says that he isn’t trying to place blame or cause any trouble, but that he just wants to see Kingston’s wildlife protected.

“I’m concerned that if we don’t keep a handle on these things, we lose them. And this needs to get looked after. Man did it, so man’s got to clean it up,” Hanna says.

As for further steps taken by the city of Kingston to ensure wildlife safety, Van Buren says the city uses game cameras as well as underwater passages for wildlife to pass through safely.

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