PUBLICATIONThe Halifax Chronicle-Herald
DATE Friday July 16, 1999
Protesters take down tents
Sydney - Following a little prayer, a few tears and a lot of hugs,
Premier Russell MacLellan's tenting neighbours pulled up stakes
But Ada Hearn says the protesters' fight to be moved from the
neighbourhood surrounding Frederick Street isn't over. They are
worried about the health effects of living near the former Sydney
Steel coke ovens site and the tar ponds, which contain hazardous
waste generated over more than century of steel-making.
"We ask all of our supporters in Canada and outside Canada to
pray for us ... for those who have died, for those who will die and
for those who may die, and most of all, for the children, that their
future will be healthy and safe," she told reporters.
The province has offered to buy out homeowners on Frederick Street
and Curry's Lane, creating a buffer zone in which tests can be done
on toxins migrating from the coke ovens site. Residents on
surrounding streets are considering a lawsuit against the province,
alleging it is liable for Sydney residents' exposure to toxins. The
province owns Sydney Steel.
"I don't have all the information on that right now so I'd rather
not comment," Ms. Hearn said. But she said a 1985 study done by the
federal government for the province will likely be used. That study
warned that restarting the coke ovens without better emission
controls would elevate cancer rates in Sydney.
The residents of Whitney Pier would also like to establish a
memorial for workers who died from exposure to toxins.
But for now, upwards of 30 people who camped across the street from
Mr. MacLellan's home for the past month will take some time to
"For the next two weeks, we're going to have a little respite, a
little one-on-one family time," she said.
The protesters have been camped out since June 22, a day after Ann
Ross ended a similar protest. Ms. Ross pitched her tent there when
her stay at a Sydney hotel, compliments of the provincial government,
ended after a month. The Laurier Street resident was moved to the
hotel, along with nine families from Frederick Street, after arsenic
was found in some of their basements.
But unlike Frederick Street and Curry's Lane residents, she wasn't
offered a buyout because she lives two streets away.
On Thursday, Ms. Ross confirmed arsenic has reappeared in her