By Brian McHattie, former Ward 1 Councillor, City of Hamilton, rural planner
Dr. Lukasik, yes doctor as in PhD, Planning. Bet you didn’t know that about Lynda which exemplifies the unselfish, modest style of effective activism for which she is known.
I met Lynda during the emotional fight to save the Red Hill Valley in the early 1990s. What struck me about Lynda was her ability to quietly lead and inspire at the grassroots level, while delivering an evidence-based message to governments and industry in a respectful, but entirely unforgiving, forthright manner.
As she met more and more east-end and north-end Hamiltonians she saw patterns of illness due to a compromised environ- ment. I learned the term “environmental justice” from Lynda: drawing the link between poverty and air pollution levels and locations of industry, often together with a paucity of greenspace.
Lynda stepped onto the national stage with a successful lawsuit against the City of Hamilton and their mismanagement of the Rennie Street landfill site, finding leachate flowing into Red Hill Creek just metres from neighbourhoods. Applying the resulting funding, she co-founded Environment Hamilton with Don McLean, Betty Blashill, and myself. She continues that work today — recognized as one of the most respected activists in the country.