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BARC: Whipping Hamilton’s Harbour and Watershed Back Into Shape


Hamilton’s harbour and the surrounding watershed is home to one of Canada’s largest concentrations of heavy industry. Not to mention, the harbour is a highly active port for the city’s industrial endeavours. With all of this traffic comes consequences, namely environmental degradation in both the harbour as well as its surrounding ecosystems.

Due to the rapidly declining ecosystem, in 1987 the Hamilton harbour was deemed an area of concern and as a result, the Remedial Action Plan (or RAP) was created in 1992 to begin on a path to restoring the harbour and the surrounding environment to their original states.

Creating a Remedial Action Plan was only the first step however. With a plan in hand, Hamilton needed someone to actually begin to make progress on each of the goals outlined in the RAP. The Bay Area Restoration Council (or BARC) was formed to fulfill this role.


Headed by Ontario natives with a passion for water restoration and community outreach, the BARC is a not-for-profit organization that leads cleanup efforts, monitoring programs, educational outreach initiatives, and a handful of volunteer programs to realize the goals of the RAP as well as build public awareness of the plight of the harbour.  Each year the organization grows and influences more and more of the community to get involved.  If you are inspired to become a volunteer with BARC, you can find all of their oppotunities here on their website!

Robyn Edgar, a CFMU volunteer, spoke with Chris McLaughlin – the Executive Director of BARC, Steve Watts – the Program and Communications Coordinator, and Kelly Pike – the Program Manager, for CFMU’s Morningfile. They spoke about the history of BARC, its current programs, and its future directions.  You can find the entire conversation on the sound clip below.


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