Second mystery handout uses correct number

Secret Sydney tar ponds critic targets Environment Department office - A second mystery flyer was stuffed inside some Sydney mailboxes this week.

By Erin Pottie
Cape Breton Post
Thurs., May 20, 2010

Last weekend an unsigned handout instructed residents to contact Department of Environment official Terry MacPherson if they had any concerns about the cleanup of the Sydney tar ponds. Anyone who called the number, however, would have reached a rooming house occupied by three people on Townsend Street.

Following an article in the Cape Breton Post, Tuesday, a second letter was sent to residents listing a number for the departmentís Sydney switchboard. MacPherson, senior manager of the provinceís tar ponds regulatory branch, said typically when someone calls about project dust, smell or noise, field inspectors follow up the complaint.

MacPherson isnít sure why someone is handing out flyers telling residents to call him, but said the department follows through on all its phone calls. "I donít really have a lot of control over someone putting (out) the flyer," said MacPherson. "I donít have an issue with it really ... if someone has a concern and it relates (to) our role as a regulator in the project, they can call us and weíll follow up on the inquiry."

This week, six complaints were made to the Sydney office over a pungent odour from the tar ponds. Some of the complaints were made by the same individual. MacPherson said the volume of calls is a significant increase compared to most weeks, noting that he himself noticed an odour around Prince Street during remediation work Tuesday. "I wouldnít say it was offensive, but I noticed an odour," said MacPherson.

MacPherson planned to meet with officials from the Sydney Tar Ponds Agency either Thursday evening or sometime today to discuss the odour.

epottie@cbpost.com