Pubdate: Tue, 02 May 2017
Source: Expositor, The (CN ON)
Copyright: 2017 Brantford Expositor
Author: Vincent Ball
Page: A3


An environmental group has collected another 50 used needles from
Mohawk Lake.

"That's a lot of used needles and we were only out there for an
hour-and-a-half," said Tracey Bucci, of the Grand River Environmental
Group, whose cleanup effort at Mohawk Park on Saturday attracted 13

"It has really become a major problem.

"Most of them had caps on them but many did not and that's a safety
concern for people, especially young children and pets."

Some of the syringes were found washed ashore, Bucci

Saturday's cleanup was the second time the environmental group has
visited the park in less than a month. Volunteers plucked more than 35
used needles out of the lake during a 90-minute cleanup effort on April 12.

The earlier visit was prompted by news reports after a Brantford man
posted photographs on social media of used needles he had pulled out
of the lake on April 9. City workers went to the area a day later and
picked up more than 20 used syringes.

"I'm not really sure what the answer is but we have to come up with a
better more permanent solution," Bucci said. "We can't keep going back
to the same spot all the time.

"It's sad that people are using drugs to this extent and it really
takes away from the natural beauty of the park."

In addition to used needles, volunteers collected several bags of
garbage, including cassette tapes, discarded water bottles and coffee
cups as well as two fire extinguishers.

The environmental group will be at Brant's Crossing, behind the city
casino, on May 13 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for its annual major cleanup
of that area. And if past experience is any indication, volunteers
will be picking up more discarded needles.

"It's troubling because the number of used needles we collect each
year is tripling," Bucci said.

Meanwhile, city councillors are expected to discuss the terms of
reference and a proposal to hire a consultant to help with plans to
revitalize the Mohawk Lake district at a Tuesday committee meeting.
The district includes the lake and park, as well as the canal and the
recently cleaned up Greenwich-Mohawk site, which was at one time the
city's biggest industrial eyesore.

Plans call for the city to hire a consultant by the end of July to
analyze the existing conditions of the area and identify economic
opportunities and constraints as well as provide recommendations to
revitalize the area.

Mohawk Lake, the Mohawk Canal and Mohawk Park are acknowledged as
significant parts of the city's historical industrial legacy but
largely underused. Over the years, various community groups have
identified a desire to revitalize both the park and the lake for
improved natural heritage and recreational opportunities, a staff
report prepared for city councillors says.

The report also notes the city is finalizing an agreement for $2
million from the federal government to conduct water and soil quality
studies. The two year study aims to collect data that will help
determine if they are any issues the city wants to address to achieve
enhanced water quality.
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