Premier watching street situation
MacLellan insists residents' health will not be jeopardized

Cape Breton Post
    Premier Russell MacLellan assured Frederick Street residents Thursday the province won't leave them in jeopardy if test results show their health is at risk from toxic contamination.
    Frederick Street spokesperson Debbie Ouellette was waiting for the premier as he arrived at the University College of Cape breton for a meeting of his cabinet Thursday morning.
    Ouellette offered the premier her copy of a report released last week showing levels of arsenic, lead and PAHs in soil samples were higher than the Canadian Council of the Ministers of the Environment guidelines.
    Soil tests were conducted after a yellow goo was found oozing out of a brook bank near the street earlier this year.  the province is awaiting results of tests of hair and blood samples taken from residents.
    The premier told Ouellette he would be reading his copy of the report this weekend but would await the results of further tests expected by mid-August before his government reacts.
    "I fully intend to keep everyone informed as we proceed every step of the way and no one's health is going to be jeopardized if the information tells us there will be a health risk, I assure you, no matter what it takes."
    Frederick Street residents want to be relocated by the province no matter what the test results reveal, Ouellette said after her encounter with the premier.
    "No matter which way they come back, we are still fighting to be relocated because it is still a toxic site.  It is a human health hazard for animals, people and kids.
    "All we ever asked from the beginning was to relocate the kids to a safe area where they can go out and play and we won't have to worry about their health in the years to come."
    Frederick Street has been visitted by representatives of all three political parties in Nova Scotia including Public Work Minister Clifford Huskilson, who is the lead cabinet minister responsible for the issue.
    Ouellette said she wanted to invite the premier to tour the street and to ensure he had a copy of the latest report.
    Dr. Jeff Scott, the province's chief medical officer, has said based on test results so far, he doesn't believe residents of Frederick Street are facing any immediate health risk from toxic contaminants.  The premier expressed concern, however.
    "I have tremendous concerns for this whole question but we have to allow the process to go.  We are going to get some further information before too long.  We have to  let Dr. Scott do the analysis."
    He was reluctant to tour the street, however, saying he knew it well as an MP when it was in his former federal riding.  The premier expressed reluctance to politicize the issue.
    "The other parties can do that.  We're not going to do that."
Premier awaits pollution data

Cape Breton Bureau
    An ambush by a Frederick Street resident got Premier Russell MacLellan's sympathy, but little else, before a four-hour cabinet meeting began here Thursday.
    "I've got nothing to say until the reports come in," he told Whitney Pier resident Debbie Ouellette.
    "I know the situation, I know Frederick Street.  I've been there, I've knocked on doors there every election," he said.
    But Mrs. Ouellette, who found yellow ooze in the ground near her back door three months ago, told the premier his silence on the matter has been deafening.
    "We were just wondering if you've seen the site," she said.
    The premier said he has telephoned the resident's official spokeswoman Juanita McKenzie but hasn't gotten through to her yet.
    "I don't want to politicize this," the premier told Mrs. Ouellette.
    "I want an answer that is going to be the right answer.  The last thing I want to do is use this for political purposes.
    "The other parties can do that, we're not going to do that," he said, referring to recent visits to the street by New Democrat and Tory politicians.
    Just last week, the latest round of tests by Environment Canada found 13 times higher than acceptable levels of arsenic and elevated levels of several other chemicals and heavy metals.
    Residents and the premier are now waiting for results from hair and blood samples taken by the provincial Department of Health.
    "No one's health is going to be jeopardized if the information tells us that there's a health risk.  i can assure you.  No matter what it takes," the premier said, before going into the cabinet meeting.
    Environment Minister Don Downe said earlier this week if those results confirm a health hazard for the dozen or so families living on the street, the province will consider moving them out.
    The street runs parallel to the nation's worst toxic site - the coke ovens and nearby tar ponds.
    Mrs. Ouellette says residents want out and she doesn't understand the province's delay.
    "How much more do they have to read or take samples of to prove we're on a toxic site?" she said.
    Dr. Jeff Scott, the province's chief medical officer, is expected to deliver the test results next week.  But whatever those results are, some of the residents say they need to be relocated anyway.
    "All we've ever asked is to relocate the kids to a safer area where there's a safer place to play.  They really have to relocate us.  We would not want to come back to a toxic site," Mrs. Ouellette said.
    In the meantime, the group overseeing the cleanup of the toxic site refused to take a position on Frederick Street.
    During a meeting of the Joint Action Group on Environmental Cleanup, a motion to call on the province to move residents out was defeated by a vote of 22 to 6.
    "I'm not comfortable with this (motion)," member Michelle Gardiner said, "I think the government has acted very efficiently."
    Elizabeth may, president of the environmental group Sierra Club, argued the Frederick Street situation is in the group's mandate and it's time to take a stand.
Candlelight Vigil on Frederick Street, August 2, 7pm
Contact Muggah Creek
Visit Frederick Street