Sydney Tar Ponds Cleanup Project

Community Liaison Committee

Terms of Reference


The existence of contaminated industrial properties in Sydney, and the notoriety surrounding them, affect all citizens of CBRM. They have impeded the municipality’s social and economic progress, stirred bitter controversy, and diverted energy from other, more forward-looking community pursuits.

The Sydney Tar Ponds Cleanup Project is an inter-governmental effort to clean up contaminated properties encompassing the Sydney Tar Ponds, the former Coke Ovens site, the portion of Coke Ovens Brook connecting the two, and the former municipal dump.

After years of detailed technical study, and a public consultation program carried out by the Joint Action Group, the cleanup project is entering a new phase: that of detailed engineering and implementation.

An Implementing Agency (IA), yet to be designated, will manage the cleanup. That agency will bear complete responsibility for all aspects of the project, including public relations and communications.

Every citizen of CBRM has a stake in seeing the cleanup carried out safely, efficiently, and with dispatch. For this to happen, the project needs public understanding and support, and project managers need to understand the public’s views, concerns, and ideas about the project.

A Community Liaison Committee (CLC) will serve as one means of fostering understanding and support. In addition to its interactions with the CLC, the IA will conduct an active communications and community relations program, including (but not limited to) media releases, a project web site, a publicly accessible project office and library, animated site tours, public opinion surveys, newsletters, and open houses.

The CLC will ensure the timely exchange of information and views between the IA and a representative cross-section of organizations in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality.

This document will serve as the terms of reference for the CLC.


The purpose of the CLC is to ensure the healthy, two-way flow of information between the IA and the constituent organizations represented on the CLC. The IA will provide the CLC with timely and accurate information about project plans and activities. CLC members will serve as a sounding board for the IA, providing a representative cross-section of community views, concerns, and ideas on project plans and activities. It will not be a decision making forum, and the CLC will interact with the cleanup project only through the IA.

Specifically, the CLC will:

·   ask questions and offer advice about the project;

·   keep constituent organizations abreast of project plans, progress and activities;

·   draw the IA’s attention to issues that concern constituent organizations;

·   convey community views, concerns, and wishes to the IA;

·   offer the IA suggestions on how to enhance the project’s benefits;

·   provide feedback on project issues, as requested by the IA;

·   provide input to the IA regarding future site uses; and;

·   have access to technical experts involved in the project through,
and with the agreement of the IA.


Until the IA is designated, the role of the IA will be carried out by the government partners for the project.


The following principles will guide the operations of the CLC:

Respect: The CLC is mandated to provide the IA with a diverse range of views, questions, and concerns about the project. This will require an atmosphere of mutual respect for individual differences, and for honest differences of opinion. Members will be free to express diverse opinions, but will be expected to demonstrate respect for each other by listening attentively and using courteous language.

Accountability: The CLC and its members will be accountable to the IA, to its constituent organizations, and to fellow committee members.


The CLC will consist of up to 15 members including a chair.

The remaining membership will be by organization, with representatives from organizations with significant track records in the following sectors:


          Business                                       Health

          Organized labor                            Environment

          Construction industry                    Post-Secondary Education

          First Nations                                 Recreation

          Service Clubs                               Religion


The IA will call for expressions of interest from organizations in the designated sectors. Each organization will nominate one representative.

From those organizations that express interest, the government partners responsible for the cleanup will select the representatives to the committee.

The selected organizations will be established community groups with a clear area of interest or geographic focus, and a constituency that ensures accountability. The government partners will evaluate the legitimacy of member groups based on such factors as size of membership or proportion of domain, history of effective participation in community life, and length of time in existence.

The government partners will appoint a chair of the CLC for an initial two year period. Thereafter, the chair will be selected by the committee members.

Members will serve rotating three-year terms. Initially, approximately one-third of the members will have a one-year term; one-third two-year terms, and the remainder three-year terms.

Members of the committee serve at the pleasure of the committee.


The chair, in consultation with the CLC and the CEO of the IA, will determine the frequency of meetings. It is anticipated that the CLC will meet monthly during the initial years of the project, but may elect to meet less frequently as the project progresses.

CLC meetings will take place in camera, however the CLC may be invited to participate in public information sessions or open houses sponsored by the IA.

The CEO of the IA will attend meetings of the CLC ex officio on behalf of the IA, and in consultation with the chair, may ask other IA staff, contractors, or technical experts to attend as needed.

The CLC may choose to establish ground rules, protocols, or operating principles to guide members in the conduct of their discussions, and to ensure that expectations and responsibilities are understood and agreed upon.

The IA will provide a stipend of $500 per year for each sectoral member, to be paid to the constituent organization, to be used at the organization’s discretion.


The IA will supply a recording secretary to keep minutes of CLC meetings. Once approved by the CLC, minutes will be made public and be posted on the project website.


Staff support and expenditures for the CLC will be supplied, as needed, by the IA in its sole discretion.


The government partners will review the mandate and structure of the CLC every two years.

Received from:

Nancy LeDrew
Administrative Assistant
Sydney Tar Ponds Agency (NS)
Phone: 902- 567-1035
Fax: 902- 567-1037
Nov. 27, 2003