ministers to visit residents of Frederick Street
BY LISA MANINGER
Cape Breton Post
HALIFAX -- Residents of Frederick Street in Whitney Pier are getting
some high level visitors.
period Wednesday, Environment Minister Don Downe promised to visit the
residents whose properties abut arsenic-laden soil. And he said he
would have federal Environment Minister Christine Stewart in tow.
"Once we are
over the House activities I would be happy to go up there," Downe said.
"In fact, Mr. Speaker, I've invited the federal Minister of Environment
as soon as she possibly can get down and take a look at the tar ponds,
coke ovens site and the other areas in that riding."
the commitment in response to questions from Helen MacDonald, NDP MLA for
Cape Breton The Lakes. MacDonald complained the provincial environment
minister was not doing enough to address the health and safety concerns
of Frederick Street residents.
were expecting some sort of a response. They're expecting something
to happen. Some of them are looking to be temporarily relocated,"
his department is developing plans if testing uncovers a serious health
issue if it becomes necessary and the health of the residents is the department's
can prove there is a problem, there's not much point in moving everybody
else or taking over the properties," he said. "I am being told, unless
there is a change today that there is not a health hazard at this point
to the people in the areas where there is a problem."
the residents have been warned to keep away from the railway embankment
that is contaminated by the yellow ooze and areas of concern have been
the soil is contaminated with arsenic levels 18.5 times higher than national
guidelines. MacDonald told MLAs new tests show unacceptably high
levels of lead, boron and sulfur.
sick," MacDonald said of the people of Frederick Street. "They have
sore throats, they have headaches. They are not healthy. It
is not a healthy area."
Juanita McKenzie, official spokesperson for Frederick Street Group