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Randle Reefs next stage

Earlier this week the federal government sat down with contractors to brainstorm affordable ways to clean up Hamilton’s Randle Reef.Construction was set to begin in the spring but bids from contractors to do the work came in over budget.The clean up is currently on hold.On Friday, CHCH’s Melissa Raftis spoke with Roger Santiago from Environment Canada to get an update on the project. As the head of the sediment remediation unit, he says the main focus of the industry meeting Wednesday was to look at the long term strategy for the site, the engineering design and the schedule.Both sides are seeking ways to keep the cost of clean up within the $139 million dollar target.“We’ll take that information, we’ll share it with our partners and we’ll sit down and figure out what the best way to move forward with the project, given what we’ve heard from industry.” Santiago explained.He’s been involved with Randle Reef since the early 1990’s and says the chosen solution blends different remedial approaches into one option.Phase one will see the construction of a 7.5 hectare engineered containment facility over the worst contamination. The remaining 630-thousand cubic metres of toxic sediment will then be hydraulically dredged into the structure.Once dredged, the containment facility will be capped and used as a pier. The project is expected to take about 8 years to complete.Similar approaches have been used in the United States in areas near Seattle and Boston.Santiago says the federal public works department will now be holding one on one sessions with interested contractors to identify the next steps and to determine when work on Randle Reef can finally begin. read more

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Circus lionized for cutting animal acts will bring them back

In this May 1, 2014 photo, tigers perform at the opening night of the Melha Shrine Circus at the Eastern States Coliseum in West Springfield, Mass. After earning praise from animal rights groups for dropping animal performances in 2016, the Melha Shrine Circus will bring back the animal acts for seven performances over four days in May 2017. (David Molnar/The Republican via AP) BOSTON – A circus is under fire for bringing back animal acts a year after earning praise from animal rights groups for dropping them to keep up with changing public attitudes.The Melha Shrine Circus, which has seven performances over four days scheduled for May in western Massachusetts, brought back performing elephants, tigers and dogs because that’s what people want, circus chairman Allen Zippin said.The circus, which raises money for the fraternal organization’s charitable endeavours — including the Shriners Hospitals for Children in Springfield — lost money for the first time in its 63-year history in 2016.“Paid attendance was down 6,500 people last year,” when compared to 2015, he said. “We had people asking for refunds after finding out there were no animals.”Animal rights activists have been pressuring circuses to drop animal acts for years, saying the acts are cruel and inhumane.The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus retired its iconic elephant act last spring. Months later, the nation’s most famous circus announced it would close for good this year after almost a century and a half in business.Although several reasons for the demise were cited, the end of the elephant act and changing public attitudes about animal-based entertainment were among them.Circuses, whether commercial or charitable, don’t need animals to thrill, said Sheryl Becker, who started an online petition to get the Melha Shriners to drop animal acts. There are plenty of circuses that don’t have them, including Cirque du Soleil and Circus Smirkus. Some other Shriners-sponsored circuses have stopped hiring animal acts, said Becker, who is president of Western Massachusetts Animal Rights Advocates.Her petition had more than 66,000 signatures as of Friday.Becker loves the Shriners and supports their mission wholeheartedly, but thinks hiring animal acts to perform in the circus tarnishes their image.Her late father was a Shriner who took her to the Melha Shrine Circus as a child. Like most kids, she was enamoured with the animals. But her attitude changed in her early teens.She says the animals are treated inhumanely, housed in cramped conditions and receive inadequate veterinary care.“It is fear itself that makes these animals do these stupid and degrading tricks,” she said.People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals had praised the Melha Shriners last year, but the group was quick to condemn the return of animal acts.“The decision to bring back animals is foolish, short-sighted and out of touch,” said Rachel Mathews, PETA’s associate director of captive animal law enforcement.Forcing animals to perform “confusing and uncomfortable” tricks sends the wrong message to the very people the circus is trying to entertain.“All it does is teach kids that it’s OK to bully and subjugate,” she said.Zippin said he appreciates the important watchdog role animal rights groups perform. The Shriners, he said, take great care to ensure that the acts they hire treat their animals with love and care.He said he even envisions a day when animal acts will be eliminated from all circuses. by Mark Pratt, The Associated Press Posted Feb 20, 2017 10:47 pm MDT Last Updated Feb 21, 2017 at 9:20 am MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Circus lionized for cutting animal acts will bring them back read more