Martin's ships blamed for dirty homes |
Leadership hopeful heads firm that ships coal to Sydney area
By Matt Hunt Gardner
Ronald Pearson won't picnic with Liberal leadership front-runner Paul Martin
this week because he's too busy dealing with his dirty home.
Mr. Martin will be in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality on Wednesday for a
barbecue at the Two Rivers Wildlife Park.
Mr. Pearson says it's Mr. Martin who should be barbecued.
The former steelworker, who lives downwind from the former Devco coal piers in
Sydney, blames Mr. Martin's coal transport ships for continuously coating his
Tartan Street home with a fine black dust.
"We were all a lot better off before they started hauling in coal on Paul
Martin's ships," he said.
"We get dust and dirt every time we get a westerly wind. I see those CSL (Canada
Steamship Lines) ships in the harbour all the time. It doesn't take a rocket
scientist to figure out where that stuff comes from," he said.
He is one of several residents who've made the complaint.
As federal finance minister in the 1990s, Mr. Martin cut funding to Devco,
forcing it to close. Because coal and petcoke were no longer available locally,
Nova Scotia Power and its parent company Emera, were forced to import them.
Canada Steamship Lines won that contract and now carries three million tonnes
of coal and petcoke to Nova Scotia every year, with most of it landing at the
former Devco pier off Dominion Street, now owned by Emera.
Mr. Martin has promised to transfer control of the shipping firm to his sons,
but his lawyers and accountants are still trying to figure out the best way to
This winter provincial inspectors charged the coal pier's stevedoring company -
hired by Emera to move coal and coke to Nova Scotia Power plants from CSL ships
- after dozens of homes on several streets were coated by petcoke, a fine black
dust that is a byproduct of petroleum refining.
That incident occurred in February after one of Paul Martin's cargo ships
unloaded the coal-like product, overfilling a hopper on the coal pier in the
The stevedoring company pleaded guilty and was fined $12,000.
Sydney environmentalist and Sierra Club representative Bruno Marcocchio said
the group will be advising Mr. Martin on several environmental issues in Cape
Breton, including the cumulative impact on residents' health because of the
dust from the piers.
Municipal councillor Jim Mac-Leod said he'd speak to Mr. Martin in private
about the matter.
Mr. Pearson said the dust this winter was so bad he had to pay $450 to repaint
his siding. He said he will probably have to do it again next year.