PUBLICATIONCape Breton Post
DATE Mon 12 Jul 1999
SECTION/CATEGORY Cape Breton
BYLINE Sharon Montgomery
STORY LENGTH 550
Whitney Pier residents protest at MLA's office
MacEwan pleads for calm
A group of Whitney Pier residents who protested outside Cape
Breton Nova MLA Paul MacEwan's office Saturday said this might
become a weekly project for them.
``We may picket there every week - every Saturday - until election
time,'' said Anne Ross.
``We might keep this up until he decides to meet with us. We
haven't made a decision yet.''
Ross and about 12 other residents gathered outside the MLA's
constituency office on Victoria Road at about 9 a.m. to ask him to
intervene with the situation facing residents in conjunction with
the clean up of the coke ovens.
``We want residents moved out before anymore testing is done. His
government is in power, they are the ones that can have the say
for this to be done.''
She said he was inside, but refused to meet with them.
``We sent two people in and they came back with a message that he
wasn't coming out as he doesn't want people to think this is
Ross said MacEwan didn't even come outside to recognize they were
there. After awhile one of his workers came out and informed the
group he would meet with them ``one-on-one,'' she added.
``We said no - we're a neighbourhood and want him to face us as a
Ross is a member of ``Rescue Our Communities'' (ROC) a group of
area residents focusing on environmental issues and health
concerns in conjunction with the coke ovens project.
A voluntary buyout offer from the provincial government was
presented to 24 families living on Frederick Street and Curry's
Lane, which border the site of the former coke ovens - together
with the considered Canada's worst toxic
The heavily contaminated area is now the target of Canada's
largest remediation project.
``We want the residents to have the same buyout as residents of
Frederick Street had.''
Ross said when MacEwan sits in cabinet the minister of environment
Michel Sampson sits on one side of him and Clifford Huskilson,
minister of transportation and public works, sits on the other
``We feel instead of Paul just sitting in between them, why not
speak to them and tell them we want to be moved before any more
testing is done.''
MacEwan said he pleads ``not guilty'' on all counts.
He said he has represented the area for more than 28 years and is
available at his constituency office at 823 Victoria Road every
Saturday 9 a.m.-12 noon.
``What I am not available for is people who are cursing and
MacEwan said he was informed a group was outside his office
``cursing and swearing.'' He said there are three families with
children living in his building and a doctor's office across the
``I expect people who come here to behave themselves and act like
ladies and gentleman. I will not dignify myself to go outside and
be cursed or sworn at.''
The group did not submit any document or any other submission, he
said. He said he spoke and listened to two representatives sent
inside his office.
``The environmental issues these people are raising are serious
issues - very serious issues - far too serious for this to be made
into a political football game at election time or the political
subject of bad language.''