Seven Years and $20 Million for Ship Cleanup

Written by on October 12, 2018

After 7 years abandoned along the shores of Lake St Louis in Beauharnois, the Kathryn Spirit is no more.

Federal Transport Minster Marc Garneau made the announcement on Friday.

His government has spent over $20 million in total – first to secure the ship in 2016, and build an embankment around it as the Kathryn Spirit was listing dangerously and in jeopardy of capsizing. The hazardous materials were then removed from inside the ship.

Now that it is gone, environmentalists can breath somewhat easier, including the community of Kahnawake which sits downstream. The Mohawk Council of Kahnawake (MCK) has been keeping an eye on the site for years.

“Being downstream from a potential environmental hazard always tends to focus your attention on the issue,” said MCK Chief Lindsay Leborgne.

“It’s one of those things where it’s needs to be done right away. The environmental damage could have been much worse than the cost,” he said.

The ship was dismantled at a cost of $11 million dollars.

At a press conference on Friday, Federal Transport Minster Marc Garneau said proper steps were taken to address the environmental risk. “Our assessment is that we’ve done things responsibly with respect to the environment, he said.  “We believe we took the necessary responsibilities to secure the vessel, then to dismantle it and to dispose of any dangerous material that might have been in it.”

But not everyone is thrilled with how the potential disaster was handled. Including NDP MP Anne Minh-Thu Quach from Salaberry-Suroit.

” Since it was in the drinkable water, citizens called to the office and asked ‘Is it appropriate? Are they following all the environmental rules?’ And, at that time, they didn’t have any proof at the federal level or at the provincial level. It took some time,”  Minh-Thu Quach said.

Crews continue to work in the area and are expected to have it back to its natural state by next fall.

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