The focus of the meeting will be on the Thunder Bay North Harbour. The North Harbour Working Group will be presenting information from their completed engineering studies.
A detailed agenda for the meeting as well as the minutes of the previous meeting can be found below:
- Meeting Agenda (as of June 13, 2019)
- Previous Minutes (from April 17, 2019)
- Instructions to Join Online
The meeting is open to the public and all are welcome to attend. There is no charge. Observers do not participate in committee decisions but may be allowed to address the meeting at the discretion of the chair.
Remedial Action Plans work to address environmental, chemical, physical, and biological degradation resulting in pollution and adverse impacts to natural habitats in Areas of Concern on the Great Lakes. They are supported by Environment and Climate Change Canada, the Ontario Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry and Lakehead University.
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A significant milestone has been achieved bringing Thunder Bay Harbour one step closer to removal from the list of Great Lakes environmental “Areas of Concern.”
I am pleased to inform you that the Degradation of Aesthetics beneficial use impairment is hereby designated as, “not impaired”, pursuant to the provisions of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, 2012.
The International Joint Commission and the Ontario Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks are copied on the letter which also congratulates the Thunder Bay Remedial Action Plan Public Advisory Committee, a group closely involved in harbour cleanup.
Aesthetics and Water Quality Aligned
Aesthetics and harbour water quality are closely linked. Degraded aesthetics refers to slicks, scums, odours, foam, unnatural deposits, colour or turbidity. These factors have severely affected Thunder Bay Harbour water quality and aesthetics.
A 2018 Remedial Action Plan report on harbour aesthetics notes that “When the waters in and around the City of Thunder Bay were designated as an Area of Concern in 1987, water quality, recreational use and the aesthetics of the Area of Concern were impacted by discharges of pollutants from local pulp and paper industries and wastewater treatment plants, urban runoff and the use of the harbour for logging booms and shipping waste. Persistent noxious odours, visible scum, organic material and oil deposits were observed.
Improved Water Quality Resulted from Substantive Actions
The 2018 report recommends that “Degradation of Aesthetics” be removed from the list of Impairments in the Thunder Bay Area of Concern, based upon extensive harbour surveys in 2012, 2015 and 2016. The report notes several actions which have led to improved harbour water quality and aesthetics, including the following:
1991 – Bowater Pulp and Paper Mill upgraded their treatment technology to improve the quality of wastewater discharged to the Kaministiquia River. Cost – approximately $68 million. Proponent: Bowater Inc. (now Resolute Forest Products Inc.)
1995 – Abitibi–Consolidated Inc. completed the installation of secondary effluent treatment – Proponent: Abitibi–Consolidated Inc.
1997 – Smurfit-Stone Container Canada Inc. upgraded its treatment technology to improve the quality of wastewater discharged to Lake Superior. The cost of this upgrade is unknown – Proponent: Smurfit-Stone Container Canada Inc.
1999 – The City of Thunder Bay adopted the Pollution Prevention Control Plan to reduce urban pollutant loadings to receiving waters and to protect water resources. Proponent: City of Thunder Bay, Canada-Ontario Infrastructure Agreement
2002 – Northern Wood Preservers, Canadian National Railway Co., Abitibi-Consolidated Inc., Environment Canada and the Ontario Ministry of the Environment completed the Northern Wood Preservers Alternative Remediation Concept (NOWPARC). The project cleaned up contaminated sediment and improved fish and wildlife habitat, costing $25 million. Proponent: Abitibi-Price Inc., Canadian National Railway Inc., Northern Sawmills Inc., Ontario Ministry of the Environment, Environment Canada’s Great Lakes Cleanup Fund
2005 – The City of Thunder Bay upgraded to secondary treatment at the Water Pollution Control Plant to improve wastewater quality discharged to Lake Superior. The cost of this project was $73.6 million. Proponent: City of Thunder Bay, Ontario Ministry of the Environment, Environment Canada’s Great Lakes Cleanup Fund
2012 – A survey by kayak of all areas of Thunder Bay Harbour, including the Kaministiquia River up to the Resolute Forest Products outall concluded that there was no evidence of objectionable deposits, unnatural colour or turbidity, or unnatural odour.
2015 and 2016 – Surveys by boat of all areas of Thunder Bay Harbour, including the Kaministiquia River up to the Resolute Forest Products outfall concludes that aesthetic condtions in Thunder Bay Harbour are “good to excellent.”
Letter from Mike Goffin, Environment and Climate Change Canada stating that “Degradation of Aesthetics” has been removed from the list of environmental impairments in the Thunder Bay Area of Concern.
Report (2018) outlining factors which have led to improved harbour aesthetics and recommending removal of “Degradation of Aesthetics” from the list of Thunder Bay Area of Concern Beneficial Use Impairments.
Thunder Bay Remedial Action Plan, or cleanup plan, overview
List of Thunder Bay Area of Concern impairments and their status.
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Now that’s what we call a full house: there was no sitting room left at the Thunder Bay Public Advisory Committee meeting, held at Lakehead University yesterday.
A diverse range of people came together to hear Doug Crump, a Biochemical/Molecular Toxicologist for Environment and Climate Change Canada, speak about herring gull egg contamination.
Also on the docket was an education session and lively discussion around the PAC’s recent letter regarding lack of action around mercury contamination in North Harbour. The letter was sent to the Chronicle Journal editor, federal and provincial environmental Ministers, federal Minister of Transport, local MPPs, and Thunder Bay Port Authority. PAC members look forward to letters of response outlining future plans for harbour clean up.
Meeting attendees included North Shore residents, environmental interest groups, government representatives, and members of North Shore Steelhead Association, Thunder Bay Field Naturalists, ERCO Worldwide, and the Nipigon Bay PAC.
Attendees listened intently to Crump’s research, eager to greet him with inquiries during a question and answer period after the presentation. RAP coordinator Jim Bailey notes that the question and answer period had to be extended due to the number of questions forwarded.
Dougall Media was in attendance to cover the proceedings, following Chronicle-Journal, CBC, and Magic 99.9 coverage earlier in the week. PAC co-Chair Frank Edgson was interviewed after the meeting.
InfoSuperior and the RAP office would like to thank everyone who came out to the meeting, and we hope to see you at our next PAC meeting May 25th, 2016. This post will be updated with video and audio as Dougall Media releases it.
Join us to discuss on March 23rd at Lakehead University, ATAC 3004 – 7-9pm. Event is free!
Note the slider (top right) in the document viewer to expand text size. Having trouble viewing the letter? View the text of the letter here.
The above letter regarding lack of cleanup action for mercury contamination in Thunder Bay Harbour appeared in the March 19th Letters to the Editor section of Thunder Bay’s Chronicle-Journal daily newspaper. The letter is from the Public Advisory committee to the Thunder Bay Remedial Action Plan and is signed by committee co-chairs Jean Hall-Armstrong and Frank Edgson. An introduction to the letter notes the letter had already been sent to:
- Minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada: Hon. Catherine McKenna
- Minister of Transport: Hon. Marc Garneau
- Minister of Environment and Climate Change Ontario: Glen R. Murray
- Thunder Bay Superior-North MP: Patti Hajdu
- Thunder Bay – Rainy River MP: Don Rusnak
- Thunder Bay Superior-North MPP: Hon. Michael Gravelle
- Thunder Bay-Atikokan MPP: Hon. Bill Mauro
- Thunder Bay Port Authority: CEO Tim Heney, Director of Engineering & Habour Master Guy Jarvis
Check in for the event on Facebook here!
The Public Advisory Committee to the Thunder Bay Remedial Action Plan, or harbour cleanup plan, will meet from 7 to 9 p.m. on March 23rd in Room ATAC 3004 at Lakehead University. Parking is available right beside the ATAC building and is free of charge.
A presentation on “Bird and Animal Deformities” will be made at the meeting by Doug Crump who works in the Wildlife Toxicology Group at Environment and Climate Change Canada. Discussion will also be had on the letter to the editor about a mercury clean up plan in North Harbour, Thunder Bay. Everyone is welcome to this free meeting.
- Meeting Agenda
- Lakehead University Campus Map Showing ATAC (AT) Building, enter the university from Balmoral at Beverly
- Minutes of the meeting of January 20, 2016
- Photos of herring gull contaminant field work at Granite Island, Black Bay, Lake Superior.
- Doug Crump – Environment and Climate Change Canada online profile and bio
- Article in March 19 Chronicle Journal newspaper about Doug Crump and his work.
- March 19 letter to editor/government agencies re North Harbour mercury contamination.
Doug Crump has a wealth of experience in Great Lakes wildlife toxicology. For many years he has traveled extensively throughout the Great Lakes region, in both Canada and USA, collecting data including contaminant levels in herring gull eggs. Doug has been active at sites on Lake Superior in Thunder Bay and nearby Black Bay. The photo accompanying this post was taken while Doug was at work on Granite Island in Black Bay in 2013. This full set of photos from Doug’s 2013 field work on Granite Island provides an excellent demonstration of the work Doug carries out throughout the Great Lakes.
Bird and Animal Deformities have not been reported within the Thunder Bay Area of Concern although the status of “Requires Further Assessment” remains in place. Deformities in cormorants have occurred at a nearby colony on the Gravel Islands on Black Bay (Ryckman et al 1998). In the period of 1988 to 1994 the incidence of deformities was the lowest in the Great Lakes at 1.2 per 10,000, still elevated compared to areas outside the Great Lakes. Doug Crump’s presentation will provide more recent information useful in determining whether this item can be removed from the list of environmental impairments in Thunder Bay.
“Delisting Criteria” for this impairment, that is the rationale upon which a decision may be made to remove “Requires Further Assessment” status, is centered on contaminant levels in wildlife tissues. The delisting criteria for Bird and Animal Deformities can be read here.
You can also access the meeting online by computer, tablet or mobile phone. You can text questions to the presenter. We’ll be livestreaming meeting audio and you’ll be able to see meeting presentations as well. Join the meeting several minutes early to ensure everything is working properly. Ensure your volume is on and up.
Livestreaming is being done on a trial basis and in the event of technical problems the on-site meeting will take precendence and the audio livestream will be discontinued.