Environmental watchdog to patrol Kingston’s waterfront
KINGSTON, ON – Lake Ontario polluters, watch out! That was the message today as Lynda Lukasik, the Hamilton environmentalist who launched a private prosecution against the City of Hamilton in 1999, donated a portion of her fine to a new pollution-crime prevention initiative on Lake Ontario.
The Environmental Bureau of Investigation (EBI), dedicated to investigating pollution crimes for the purposes of criminal prosecution, worked with Lukasik, the Sierra Legal Defence Fund and other local residents to monitor, document, and test the leachate discharging into Hamilton’s Red Hill Creek from the city’s Rennie Street public works yard. The evidence led to the City of Hamilton’s guilty plea, which resulted in the largest fine for an environmental crime ever levied against a municipality in Canada.
“We are providing EBI with a very well deserved donation to acknowledge the time and effort that the organization put into the investigation of Hamilton’s leaking Rennie Street landfill,” says Lukasik.
According to Mark Mattson, Executive Director of EBI, the donation will be dedicated to the launch of a new EBI project – the Lake Ontario Keeper (LOK). LOK, part of the US-based Water Keeper Alliance headed by Robert Kennedy Jr., will patrol Lake Ontario, monitor and document pollution sources, advocate remediation, and, when necessary, take polluters to court.
“Once again, we are sending a strong message to polluters to beware – because we are watching!” says Lukasik.
Another environmental activist involved in private prosecutions against the City of Kingston and the Ontario Ministry of Environment is local Kingston resident and EBI co-founder, Janet Fletcher. She has been named as the new Keeper program’s Associate Director.
Fletcher, who has worked with Mark Mattson for more than 10 years, has also been an integral part of EBI and has a lot to offer Lake Ontario Keeper. “Her commitment to advocating what’s best for the lake is key to the Keeper’s success,” he says.
“With Janet working in Kingston, we will be one step closer to our goal of uniting environmentalists, community groups, and other lake-users around the single goal of protecting the lake from pollution,” says Mattson.
The Kingston waterfront, along with Hamilton, Belleville, Port Hope, and Toronto will be targeted by the Lake Ontario Keeper this summer. Cooperative investigations with Keeper programs on the American side of the Lake will also be undertaken.