Ministers receive tar ponds cleanup report from panel
By Tanya Collier Macdonald
Cape Breton Post
Thurs., July 13, 2006
Sydney - Environment ministers now know how the tar ponds should be
cleaned up. At the conclusion of 55 days of deliberations, three members
of an independent panel submitted their findings and recommendations
Wednesday afternoon to federal Environment Minister Rona Ambrose and
provincial Environment Minister Mark Parent.
The two levels of government will review the document before making
decisions on remediating the tar ponds and coke ovens sites forwarded by
the Sydney Tar Pond Agency in December and at the backbone of panel
hearings held in Sydney in May.
However, it's unknown how long anxious residents will wait to get their
hands on the document. Some are hoping it will be sometime today.
"I'd be disappointed if it wasn't," said Debbie Ouellette, a former
Frederick Street resident who attended nearly every panel hearing. "I
really think we should know. We've waited so long for this. I would love
to see it."
Alastair MacLeod, chair of the Citizens' Liaison Committee, sent a letter
to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency and the Nova Scotia
Department of Environment and Labour requesting the panel process maintain
the same level of openness the community experienced throughout the
environmental assessment process.
"We understand that it may take several months for the two levels of
government to confirm a final cleanup plan," wrote MacLeod. "We also
anticipate that the public will want to know the report's content as soon
as it is available and believe that current public support will diminish
if the report's release is delayed."
Debbie Hendriksen, spokesperson for the Canadian Environmental Assessment
Agency, said it's up to ministers to decide when the report will be made
The joint panel review was chaired by Lesley Griffiths, a co-principal of
Griffiths Muecke Associates - a community planning and environmental
consulting firm located in Halifax. She was joined by William Charles, a
former Dean of Dalhousie University Law School, and Louis LaPierre, with
the K.C. Irving Chair in Sustainable Development at the Université de
In 2004, governments agreed to allocate up to $400 million in funding to
remediate the tar ponds and coke ovens sites.