Sierra Club wants review of cleanup|
By MATT HUNT GARDNER
SYDNEY - The Sierra Club of Canada says the Cape Breton district health
authority really wants a full panel review of the proposed cleanup of the
Sydney tar ponds and coke ovens.
"A review that meets (health authority) concerns looks like a panel review and
quacks like a panel review, so we can safely conclude that what they really
want is a panel review," said Sierra executive director Elizabeth May.
The health authority said this week it would recommend to Ottawa an in-house
comprehensive study of the cleanup plan.
But it said any study must ensure adequate community consultation and public
participation, and assess the cleanup alternatives. It also said an ombudsman
should be appointed so community concerns are addressed in a way that people
As well, the authority wants to ensure the health impacts of cleanup options are
fully disclosed so citizens will know how appropriate each option is.
"These are all issues that the Sierra Club of Canada shares with the health
authority," said Ms. May. "What the . . . authority must realize is that the
only appropriate vehicle to address these concerns is a full panel review and
that a comprehensive study cannot achieve these mutual concerns."
A debate over the type of environmental assessment needed for the cleanup has
raged since late 2004.
Federal officials are collecting opinions before recommending to the Environment
Department whether to continue a comprehensive study, which has already begun,
or switch to a full panel review led by an independent expert.
John Malcom, CEO of the health authority, said Friday his board and staff feel a
comprehensive study could provide all the benefits of a full panel review
without its risks, like taking too long.
"When we looked at other full panel reviews we saw that some actually did get
derailed," he said. "We don't want a cleanup at any cost, but the . . .
Canadian Environmental Assessment Act allows a comprehensive study to have all
the community consultation we mentioned."