Cleanup consultant sought
The $400-million cleanup of the Sydney tar ponds
and coke ovens site will take 10 years.
Engineering study will be used to guide remediation of toxic site
By MATT HUNT GARDNER
SYDNEY - The Sydney Tar Ponds Agency put out a call for proposals this week for
an environmental engineering consultant to help define a plan for cleaning up
the tar ponds and coke ovens.
Parker Donham, agency spokesman, said the project should be ready for an
environmental assessment this fall.
Ottawa and the province have committed $400 million to clean up the sites but
the May announcement didn't include an engineering plan for the 10-year
project, which Mayor John Morgan of Cape Breton Regional Municipality has
Mr. Morgan was wary Wednesday about community involvement in the definition
He said the federal and provincial governments have historically practised
"extremism" when it comes to community consultation.
"There have been two kinds of extremism. At the beginning of the process, a
number of years ago, there was virtually no consultation with the community. .
. . Then you had, with the Joint Action Group, an unending process of
consultation but where no decision was ever made.
"They need to find something in the middle wherein you have a reasonable process
of consultation with elected members but with very fixed timelines and clear
guidelines for decision-making," the mayor said.
Mr. Donham said the community liaison committee won't be a decision-making body
but more of a sounding board for the consultant and some other agency or Crown
corporation that will together design the cleanup.
Mr. Morgan said involving the community in decision-making is important.
"Otherwise the community is disempowered, and it makes them feel that they're
not part of the process and they distrust government institutions."
Mr. Donham said new measures will be implemented to make the tar ponds agency
more responsive to the community, including an improved website and a new
office on Charlotte Street.