Mr. Kal Haniff MOE Director West Central Region Hamilton Regional Office 12th floor, 119 King St. W. Hamilton, Ontario, L8P 4Y7
BY FAX: (905) 521-7820
Re: Discharge of a Contaminant into the Natural Environment in Contravention of s. 13(1) of the EPA.
I am writing on behalf of Environment Hamilton and Lake Ontario Waterkeeper with a request that your Ministry investigate a suspected violation of the Environmental Protection Act. On August 4th, at around 5pm, blasting of the Niagara Escarpment by City of Hamilton and its contractors sent flyrock into a residential neighbourhood adjacent to the expressway construction zone.
No individuals were injured, but debris was found in residential backyards and property damages were assessed by City representatives. Media accounts indicate that area residents were outside at the time of the incident and expressed concerns that they ?could have been hit in the head.? (Newspaper articles attached)
Section 13 (1) of the Environmental Protection Act reads:
"Notwithstanding any other provision of this Act or the Regulations, no person shall discharge a contaminant or cause or permit the discharge of a contaminant into the natural environment that causes or is likely to cause an adverse effect."
Section 1 of the Act defines "adverse effect" as: impairment of the safety of any person.
There are a number of examples of successful enforcement of s. 13 (1) of the EPA by Ministry of Environment officials for flyrock that impairs a person?s safety or damages property. We have provided three similar precedents (attached).
As I am sure your office is aware, Lake Ontario Waterkeeper is expecting a decision on a request for a re-assessment of the expressway projects Environmental Assessment permits, in the very near future. One of the justifications for the request is the recent disregard shown by the City of Hamilton for protecting and minimizing environmental damage to the Red Hill Valley. We believe the City of Hamilton's past environmental conduct places an onus on your regulatory agency to investigate environmental complaints quickly and diligently. As enforcement of our environmental laws is essential to preventing and deterring environmental crimes in the future, a duty of care rests with your office to ensure the facts in this case are investigated and dealt with in a legal and professional manner.
I look forward to your prompt reply.
Mark Mattson, Lake Ontario Waterkeeper 245 Queen's Quay West Toronto, Ontario M5J 2K9 Tel: 416.861.1237 Fax: 416-861-0284
___________________________________________________ Dr. Lynda Lukasik, Executive Director, Environment Hamilton. 1130 Barton Street E. Suite 207 Hamilton, ON L8H 7P9 Ph:/Fax: 905-549-0900
cc: Wilfred Ng: Director, Investigations and Enforcement Branch, Ministry of Environment Hon. Leona Dombrowsky, Minister of Environment James O'Mara, Environmental Assessment and Approvals Branch, Ministry of Environment