Petition calls for inquiry into the cover-up of Chedoke Creek contamination

 

A petition has been launched to demand a public inquiry into the cover-up of the leak that saw billions of litres of sewage released into Hamilton's Chedoke Creek.

The petition, entitled “Demand that City Council Launch a Public Inquiry into the #CootesCoverup,” was started by Hamilton resident Cameron Kroetsch. It asks that Hamilton's city council be held to account for their role in keeping the spill and its scope a secret.

"While technicians within the Provincial government look into the ecological disaster, it’s our responsibility as residents to hold our local government accountable for covering it up," the Change.org petition says.

"It is clear that they are not willing to be transparent and forthcoming about everything they knew based on their attempts to keep the magnitude of this disaster from the public."

On Nov. 20, the City of Hamilton issued a release that revealed approximately 24 billion litres of stormwater runoff and sewage was discharged into Chedoke Creek over a span of more than four years.

Shortly afterward, the Hamilton Spectator revealed that the city had known about the spill for months and opted to keep the extent of it under wraps.

Mayor Fred Eisenberger and council members maintain that they were advised by environmental lawyers to keep things quiet until the results of a Ministry of Environment investigation were made available.

Hamilton residents were practically unanimous in their fury over the city's handling of the incident; the outcry has been loud and fierce.

Late last week, more than a week after the leak was exposed and following a marathon council meeting that saw some councillors getting defensive over their actions and calling for an investigation into the identity of the ‘whistleblower,’ while others practically begged for transparency, a formal apology from the city was issued.

Alongside the apology, a series of documents related to the spill was also released.

For many Hamiltonians, the apology, and attempt at greater transparency was too little too late.

There have been calls for the Mayor's resignation, as well as that of council members. Barring that, members of the community have vowed to see this council removed come the next municipal election.

This week, however, the petition calling for the inquiry has been making the rounds on social and already, the signature count stands at more than 900 (at time of publication) — so close to the 1,000-signature goal.

"If our Council can launch a public judicial inquiry to investigate the Red Hill Valley Parkway scandal, then they can ensure that there is an impartial investigation with public hearings of the #SewerGate coverup," the petition says.

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