DAILY COMMERCIAL NEWS, March 1997

Kingston faces lawsuit over river pollution

Awoman has accused the city of Kingston of allowing huge amounts of toxic waste to leak into a river near a commercial fishery and a children’s summer camp. Janet Fletcher says pollutants are seeping into the Cataraqui River from a golf course built on top of a former dump. She has brought a charge against the city under the Fisheries Act. The city which must answer to the charge in court April 15, could be slapped with a $1-million fine if found guilty. Shelly Petrie, spokeswoman for the environmental group Great Lakes United, says the Ontario government has known about the leak for years. “If the Ministry of Environment … and the (Ontario) government are notcommitted to providing clean water to Ontario citizens, what are they committed to? It’s a fundamental, basic right, and they are not taking action on it. “The Sierra Legal Defense Fund, which helped Fletcher file the charge, says the equivalent of 20 tanker-trucks of waste is oozing into the river daily. The group said samples taken last December were so toxic, they killed fish almost on contact. Fletcher says the issue came to her attention when her children got a nasty rash after playing in the river near the camp. “I find it really upsetting that they allow children to wander into the water there and disturb the sediments, which are obviously loaded with pollutants,” she said.