Tour bus makes stop at tar ponds
Free tours of contaminated site will continue throughout summer
By Chris Shannon
Cape Breton Post
Thur., Jul. 5, 2007
Whitney Pier - Taking in a
panoramic view of the Sydney tar
ponds and cove ovens sites during a
two-hour bus tour Wednesday
morning, Stephen Tobin and other
members of JCI Cape Breton quickly
turned their thoughts to the promising
future the area may hold following
the completion of the seven-year
Tobin, executive director of JCI
Cape Breton, toured the sites with
five of his fellow young professionals,
along with Sydney Tar Ponds Agency
officials and local media.
When the time is right, he said
groups like his, the Cape Breton Partnership
and Sydney and Area Chamber
of Commerce could forge a united
front to put forth suggestions on
what type of developments there
should be on those sites, which
would improve the region’s economic
"We want to play a key role in the
development of the tar ponds site
and give some real input," said Tobin,
during a stop on the tour at Frederick
Street in Whitney Pier.
Sidney Reid, another JCI member,
described a highlight of Wednesday’s
tour as being "on top of the landfill
six feet away from all the garbage."
She believes the cove ovens and
tar ponds could transform itself into
a large green space and include businesses
that delve into information
technology, engineering and environmental
It would be a chance to attract
young people back to Cape Breton,
"People who are studying now,
people who are maybe living elsewhere
are looking for opportunities
to come home," Reid added.
"There will be an opportunity
here for you to return home and
explore some of those options."
The free tours of one of Canada’s
most contaminated sites will continue
throughout the summer. Schoolchildren
were among the first to take
part in the bus tours when they
began in May.
On these tours, Sydney Tar Ponds
Agency summer students Kelley
McVarish and Geraldine MacMillan
will give residents background and
history of the sites, as well as the
cleanup process currently underway.
So far, there have been 10 tours
attracting individuals, groups and
organizations who are curious about
what’s happening in the area, said
agency spokesperson Tanya Collier
"The purpose is to reach people
who may have some misconceptions
about what’s happening here and
may have some concerns that we are
able to alleviate," she said.
"We’re just trying to generate
more interest in the tour. There is no
cost, anyone is welcome."
Collier MacDonald said work at
the tar ponds site is continuing with
pilot scale testing that’s needed for
the cooling pond before remediation
work there can go to tender.
For a guided tour of the sites contact
the Sydney Tar Ponds Agency.