Tar ponds meeting continue this week

Topic is future use of site

By Tanya Collier Macdonald
Cape Breton Post
Wed., Mar. 28, 2007

SYDNEY - Getting a cleaner understanding of what residents would like to see replace the tarponds and coke ovens sites is a goal of consultants meeting with local stakeholders until Friday.

" It's the start of optimism," said Ann Wilkie, project manager for the engineering company CBCL LTD. Monday, a team of consultants met with members of the Sydney and Area Chamber of Commerce and JCI, as part of the brainstorming week.

Wilkie said a lot of work needs to be done before the firm has recommendations to be delivered to a steering committee in May. "We have no answers at this point in time."

The possibility of creating a new economic gateway for this region excited chamber members who spend more than an hour with the consulting team during Monday's luncheon.

"This is one of the biggest opportunities that has been presented to us in decades," said Owen Fitzgerald, executive vice-president of the Sydney and Area Chamber of Commerce. "We have to do this right."

Stephen Tobin, project manager for JCI, said the group participated in the discussion because of the importance the sites future uses will have on the younger demographic. "We want to make sure there is an opportunity for youth to have valuable input into the development project," he said. "We are competing federally for skilled young professionals, so this project must provide us with a greater leverage to attract youth to this area. Project infrastructure must assist in entrepreneurial opportunities for youth."

CBCL is also working with Xstrata on the Donkin mine and is guiding the Sydney harbour study. Wilkie said all of the lands are within the same geographical area and the focus is in on the future.