Health authority defends its right to comment on future of tar ponds site
By Chris Shannon
Cape Breton Post
Tues., Aug. 26, 2008
Sydney - A position paper released by the Cape Breton District Health
Authority stating its desire to turn the Sydney tar ponds and coke ovens
sites into a large recreation space doesn't fly in the face of Cape Breton
Regional Municipality's authority, says the health authority's
Greg Boone was responding to comments made by Reserve Mines
Coun. Vince Hall, who issued a news release Friday accusing the health
authority's chief executive officer John Malcom of "meddling in municipal
jurisdiction" by writing a letter to the chair of the Sydney Tar Ponds
Agency's citizen liaison committee to explain the need in preventing
commercial and residential development on the sites once remediation is
complete years from now. "We're providing feedback like any other
organization or individuals," Boone said Monday. "The document is a draft
shared for comment and we're pleased to get some comment back initially
from Coun. Hall and we expect that members of the citizen liaison
committee and anyone else who reviews it will provide some comment."
The position paper has been forwarded on to CBRM chief administrative officer
Jerry Ryan, with the intent of it being shared with council for review and
Malcom said the health authority "would not support construction
of any form or development of any of these lands in the long term." He
said there is a concern development of any kind could breach the cap
containing hazardous materials such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)
and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs).
Any proposal for light
commercial development will only be permitted on the former coke ovens
site, said Sydney Tar Ponds Agency spokesperson Tanya Collier MacDonald.
"All of the design features we'll keep in mind for future use, but at the
same time our first priority is to maintain the integrity of the cap,"
Collier MacDonald said. "If that means someone can't build a basement,
then they won't be permitted to build a basement and they will be notified
before they buy any property or lease."
She said although no development
will be allowed at the tar ponds site, it could potentially be used as
recreation space in the future.
Boone said by maintaining the sites as a
large green space, the area will help promote healthy living and active