C.B., Quebec residents pan
toxin burning |
By Tera Camus /
Cape Breton Bureau and The Canadian Press
It seems no one wants Sydney's toxic waste burned in their
A report by the Joint Action Group released Tuesday shows
people living near the Point Aconi power plant, like the
majority of those living in the Cape Breton Regional
Municipality, don't want toxic sludge from the coke ovens or
tar ponds sites going up in smoke over their homes.
"As testimony to their resolve, a few made statements about
civil disobedience," the report said.
It noted opponents to the proposal cited concerns about air
quality and the risk of spills or damage to the local farm and
egg producers market. They also didn't want Sydney's problem
transported to them, a half-hour's drive away.
Nova Scotia Power hasn't yet said it wants to burn the
toxic sludge, but its facility was among the few sites
identified by JAG consultants that can burn at temperatures
high enough to handle the waste generated by 100 years of
Most of the residents living near the power plant favour
burying the toxic waste, going against the recommendation JAG
made to the federal and provincial governments after a public
consultation process that involved 1,700 other voices in the
In May, JAG followed the public's lead and endorsed
off-site incineration as the best way to handle the toxic
waste. It also endorsed other technologies.
Dan Fraser, chairman of JAG, said the report won't change
JAG's recommendation. A specific location for off-site burning
has not been chosen by government, nor has a cleanup method
been selected. It has until next year to do so.
"This will go to our government partners so they're aware
of the feelings and concerns of the people of Point Aconi," he
Meanwhile, near Montreal, the company that is incinerating
as many as 30 truckloads of toxic sludge from the coke ovens'
Domtar tank - a mini-tar ponds now being removed from Sydney
as part of a $3-million government contract - will allow
independent testing of the material after residents and the
Mercier town council complained.
Last week, the council in the town of 9,750 people 30
kilometres southeast of Montreal asked the firm, Clean Harbors
Inc., to voluntarily stop destroying the sludge to allow a
private firm to analyse it and the ash after it's incinerated.
Guy Adam, vice-president of Clean Harbors Inc., said Monday
the firm is ready to co-operate "as long as this is done in a
reasonable time so we can meet our contractual obligations."
But Mr. Adam has refused a request by council to halt
operations until the test results are known. Another truckload
from Sydney is arriving this week.
Mr. Adam insisted the company's laboratory checks toxicity
levels daily along with the Quebec Environment Department. So
far 10 truckloads have been burned.