The Hamilton-Scourge Millennium Project Objectives
Over the past 25 years, several Project initiatives have taken place, including studies, public-awareness efforts, and a number of investigative dives by manned and unmanned submersibles. Dives by Jacques-Cousteau in 1980, National Geographic Society in 1982, and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, Jason Project led by Dr. Robert Ballard in 1990, each generated still photographs and video footage. However, the future management decision of the approved strategies cannot proceed, as there is simply insufficient information to make informed management and development decisions. The Project now needs to focus on completing a series of key documents, products, and recommendations that will develop a comprehensive plan for a framework for research, archaeology, conservation, and education. This phase will include recommending viable options for the future of the project.
Given advances in diving technology, the City must act before technical and sport divers compromise or destroy the archaeological potential of the site or the 'as found' condition for mapping purposes.
The Project consists of three modules: two focus on scientific components, while the third will address a business component based on viable chosen options.
Future scientific plans for the ships
It has been proposed that each of the following options will be reviewed as part of the scientific component with the most viable options forwarded to a consultant to analyze from a business / tourism perspective.
In this option, one or perhaps both ships would be raised and relocated in shallow water. Following scientific study, the ships could be relocated to their original position or possibly left in place. Such an approach could make the ships accessible to sport divers and glass bottom tour boats for the non-diving public while in shallow water. Either a partial or full excavation of the hull interior would take place resulting in the recovery of artifacts.
Replica plus dock facility:
A replica of one or both ships could be built with an associated dock / port facility which could offer a variety of onboard / shipbuilding experiences to tourists. This option can only be considered after the cultural resource module has been completed which would include the collection of relevant archaeological data.
A ship could be recovered and kept underwater in a large concrete tank containing refrigerated water. Such a tank would have built-in viewing facilities and offer an "aquarium" experience.
Specialized video cameras and lights would be set up at various locations around the wrecks and monitors and screens set up in a shore facility such as an interpretive centre or museum. This would allow tourists to see specific features in-situ as well as providing the City with the ability to monitor the sites on a continuing basis.
IMAX Movie / Theatre:
A specially built IMAX theatre complex would be built where movies about shipwrecks could be shown. Such an exhibit would be highly flexible and provide the City of Hamilton with a new attraction.
If the collection of artifacts from the Hamilton and Scourge and / or the ship's boat from the Hamilton can be successfully raised, a purpose-built museum could be established using artifacts collected from the Hamilton and / or Scourge. The ship's boat from the Hamilton could form a focal point for the exhibit.
Full Recovery and Conservation:
The City could decide to recover one or both of the ships and build a specialized facility / museum for conservation and exhibition. It should be noted that this option is non-reversible (regardless of cost).
War of 1812 Heritage Trail:
A trail network could be established for the War of 1812 including Battlefield, Museums, Sites, and Monuments around Lake Ontario. A Hamilton-Scourge exhibit could be the focal point of this trail.