March 2, 1999, Cape Breton Post
Environmental cleanup may need the worldís help

To the editor:

I read with mixed emotions the article, Board of Trade Not Impressed as JAG Unveils Website (Feb. 27). It is that archaic thinking of Avvie Druker and his cronies on the Industrial Cape Breton Board of Trade that has Cape Breton in the state it is.

Quick fixes and hidden truths serve only the immediate monetary needs of a few, while at the same time afflicting widespread pain and suffering on the masses. Mr. Druker refers to our toxic nightmare as pimples and warts that we should not advertise. The fact is we are dealing with an infestation of toxic poisons which are killing, and have killed, many of our family members. Just as a pimple or wart will fester and spread if not looked after, this toxic soup has been left to manifest itself far too long, and its effects are widespread in all of our areas.

Perhaps Mr. Druker and his buddies donít know what it is like to tell an 11-year-old girl at Christmas that her daddy, having succumbed to cancer, wonít be coming home anymore, or havenít had to reassure an 8- and 10-year-old that itís OK to hug their Nana because they canít catch cancer. No, this nightmare has to end if we are to leave our children the legacy of a beautiful island where it is safe to live.

Mr. Druker worries what the effect the website will have on tourism. I wonder how in good conscience one can invite someone here without telling the truth, for a visitorís health is at risk also. If these people would truly care for our people and their health they would help to get the truth out.

For example, if a beach in British Columbia was closed because it had an arsenic level three times the norm, why is it that we continue to allow people to live and breathe in an area with an arsenic level 18.5 times the norm? I begin to question whose welfare and future these people are really interested in. Itís little wonder our youth of today are so mixed up.

Sure Cape Breton is in an economic slump. However, it may never recover if near-sighted people continue to put blinders on and ignore the truth. The fact is we have Canadaís worst toxic waste dump and we may need the help of all the world to clean it up.

Mary Ruth MacLellan,
Phalenís Road, Glace Bay
JAG should stop advertising and get something done

To the editor:

I question why JAG would place the tar ponds, located in the downtown portion of Sydney, on the Internet. I agree that there is no need to advertise the mess we have in the industrial area.

I guess itís not enough that every paper across Canada and the United States published stories saying just why no one should invest in industrial Cape Breton. People will now find it on the Internet. We just keep shooting ourselves in the foot and blaming it on everybody else. I suppose JAG has to justify its existence by spending $20,000 on a website. If JAG had hired five tractor-trailers for the $20,000, and removed 100 loads of coal from the former coke ovens site, each truck hauling 20 tonnes, and sold that for a minimum of $50 per tonne, the revenue would have been $100,000 ó a profit of $80,000. The profits from the coal could have gone to help the residents of Frederick Street.

I can understand the frustration of the residents on Frederick Street. We all know there is a major problem with the whole watershed area. Thatís exactly why JAG was created. My advice to JAG is to stop the procrastinating and do the job that it was created for. Donít tell me JAG needs more studies. This place has made millionaires with studies. What we want is action. I am very tired of the Ivory Tower attitude.

I question JAGís statement that it is very interested in the economic development of the industrial area. Can you imagine a developer with some money to spend, thinking about Cape Breton and viewing the Internet for something positive, only to find the web page on the tar ponds and watershed area? Do you really think the developer would invest in Cape Breton? Would you?

There is one obvious question that has to be answered. Where has the $15 million-plus spent by JAG since 1996 gone? In my opinion and that of many, many others, there has been nothing done. This money is the taxpayersí and we are entitled to this information. I am not interested in general accounting: I want complete accounting, line by line. This should be published in the Cape Breton Post. We are the stakeholders.

If the chairman of JAG canít take suggestions and criticism to correct the problem we have in the watershed area, I would think there should be more than one resignation.

Jim MacLeod,
Whitney Pier
Next letters, March 8, 1999
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