JAG postpones decision on
ethics committee's SERL
By Tanya Collier, Cape Breton Post, March 25, 1999
The end to a three-year contentious
issue within the Joint Action Group
(JAG) has been postponed for an
additional 30 days.
An 18-page decision made by JAG's
ethics committee to ban members
of the board, employees and family
members of Sydney Environmental
Resources Ltd. (SERL) from five
JAG committees, was tabled by
JAG roundtable Wednesday.
Carl Buchanan, chair of JAG, began
the discussion by noting the issue
"could be potentially damaging to
Because of the proposed severity
of the ban, he contacted legal
Lawyer Gary Corsano at the
Sampson McDougall law firm,
provided Buchanan with
appropriate procedures for the
group to follow to "ensure the
integrity of the process" and "to
uphold the principles of procedural
Buchanan said correspondence
from Corsano noted a decision by
the ethics committee may be
appealed to roundtable within 30
days of the decision - April 7. And,
unless 75 per cent of those in
attendance at the roundtable
meeting reject the decision, the
decision will be confirmed.
Buchanan said the group was
recommended to refrain from
voting on the decision until after
the appeal period passes so it
would not appear roundtable
prejudged the decision.
JAG calls for halt to Sobeys
By Tanya Collier
Joint Action Group (JAG) members
want work at a construction site
adjacent to the Muggah Creek
Watershed halted until their
concerns are addressed.
During a JAG roundtable meeting at
the Delta Sydney Wednesday, a
motion was passed to request
regulatory bodies - Nova Scotia's
departments of Labour and
Environment - to have Atlantic
Shopping Centres Ltd. stop
construction at their Sobeys store
on Prince Street immediately.
Mary Ruth MacLellan, a JAG
member, introduced the motion and
commented she wants answers
quickly and wants work at the
construction site to stop until she
Michelle Gardiner, said she
believed the motion was "timely."
The members said they are
concerned about gases rising into
the air and seepage of black goo.
They also want more answers
concerning where the excavating
soil will be placed.
Two quit JAG amid conflict cloud
Incineration link contentious point on project to
clean up tar ponds
By Beverley Ware, Halifax Chronicle Herald, March 25, 1999
Sydney - Two members of the group charged with cleaning
up the Sydney tar ponds walked out of a meeting last night,
vowing never to return.
Robert Jessome and Brenda Tattrie are volunteer members
of the Joint Action Group. They, and fellow member Mike
McGrath, were the subject of a conflict-of-interest complaint
heard by JAG's ethics committee.
The trio work for Sydney Environmental Resources Ltd.,
which is maintaining the controversial fluidized-bed
incinerators used in a failed attempt to clean up the toxic
tar ponds. SERL wants to see them up and running again.
The ethics committee ruled in an 18-page report presented
to JAG on Wednesday evening that the three members are
in a conflict of interest by sitting on JAG. It ruled neither
they nor their immediate family members should belong.
The conflict complaint was launched by Mary Beth
MacLellan, who sits on JAG as a concerned resident.
The three employees had hoped for an open discussion of
the report Wednesday night but most of JAG's other
members voted to table the report until next month's
"It's my last meeting," an angry Ms. Tattrie said after
walking out. "I'm disappointed. I wanted them to deal with
this once and for all tonight."
"I'm done here," Mr. Jessome said. "The only thing I'm
fighting for is the rights of others."
Neither plans to appeal the decision and in fact put forth a
letter saying they will withdraw if they're not wanted.
Several members said they wanted time to read the report
before forming an opinion. But the SERL employees'
presence in the group - made up of representatives from
each level of government and the community - has been a
bone of contention for more than two years.
Mr. Jessome said he has been torn apart by the ongoing
stress. He said he's volunteering his time to help better his
community and contributed to several projects that had
nothing to do with remediation.
"This is a move partially by some who are anti-incineration
and seeing our faces at the table reminds them that
incineration is here," Mr. Jessome said.
Its effects could be far-reaching, he said. "They think they're
kicking out three people sitting at the table and in effect
they're kicking out much more."
He said it has implications for business people and
members of the steelworkers union as well as relatives of
JAG wants work at Sobeys stopped
By Beverley Ware, Halifax Chronicle Herald, March 25, 1999
Sydney - The group charged with cleaning up the Sydney tar
ponds has called for a stop-work order on expansion of a
Sobeys store built on toxic soil.
Resident Mary Beth MacLellan made the motion before the
Joint Action Group, saying: "It will fall on JAG's hands if we
don't do something now."
Recent soil samples from the Prince Street Sobeys show
six times the allowable limit of cancer-causing polycyclic
aromatic hydrocarbons and elevated levels of petroleum
"I think we have a responsibility to do something about
that," she said.
JAG member John MacMullin reported a black puddle
formed in the parking lot of the Sydney Shopping Centre
when Sobeys started to expand its store on the banks of a
"Who in their right mind would allow anyone to build on
that?" he asked.
A Health Department spokesman at the meeting said he
will get information from his department on health risks at
Barbara Lewis, another JAG member, said she's upset that
workers involved in the Sobeys expansion are not wearing
protective gear, despite studies showing both the soil and
gas emissions underground are toxic.
"There's no protection at all," she said. "No gloves, no
Marc Comeau favoured the motion, saying the health of
residents and their children should not be jeopardized for
the sake of saving a few dollars at the grocery store.
Marlene Kane said she is boycotting Sobeys for knowingly
building on a contaminated site.
The provincial Health, Labour and Environment
departments are responsible for ensuring the safety of
workers and the environment at the site.
Sobeys has said it will vent gases released from under the
store through the roof of the building. Mr. MacMullin said he
wants a system in place to ensure the air is clean before it
"The first priority should be the safety of the community
and the environment," said JAG member Doug MacKinlay.
"The second should be the contract with Sobeys."
JAG should stop witch hunt now - activist quits because of discrimination
Shirley Christmas resigns from JAG because of discrimination
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