Toxic site meeting set for June 4
The number of residents seeking compensation from adverse impacts believed to be linked to Canada's worst toxic waste site is expected to grow following an information session to be held in Sydney.
Ray Wagner, of the Halifax law firm Wagner and Associates, is facilitating the meeting to be held at the Steelworkers Hall Wednesday, June 4, at 7 p.m. Also in attendance will be Mike Peerless, a partner with Siskinds law firm in London, Ont. Siskinds is partnering with Wagner and Associates for the Sydney effort and is best known for its efforts on cases involving breast implants, TMJ implants, diet drugs, plastic venting for mid-efficiency furnaces, oil refinery emissions, fireplace design, investment schemes and the e-coli tainted water tragedy in Walkerton. "We felt because the project is so large, it's imperative for us to partner with people because of the work involved and the cost of processing these cases is quite considerable as well," said Wagner.
More than 160 residents have
signed on so far, including Iris
Crawford, a native of Whitney
Pier. She has said the lawsuit
was sparked by governments
insistence in 2002 that residents
living near the contamination
sign a waiver before remediation
work could be done on their
private property. Government
offered remediation to residents
living north of the coke
ovens after soil testing
in the community
showed extremely high
levels of arsenic, lead,
toluene, benzene, cadmium
and a slew of other
than acceptable levels.
Government has said the
contamination wasn't due
to the migration
of chemicals from the
coke ovens site.
The matter will likely go ahead as a mass tort, which Wagner described as a large number of people participating in a piece of litigation as the result of a civil wrong and is less specific then a class action lawsuit.
Defendants being considered include the federal and provincial governments plus a number of private companies that operated on or near the Sydney tar ponds and coke ovens site when the steel plant was in operation.
Among the allegations residents will be claiming include widespread contamination from a chemical recovery plant, a nearby railbed and the spraying of PCBs to eliminate dust when the steel plant was in operation.
Wagner has said he believes the civil case could take between two to six years and, "tens of millions of dollars will likely be sought as compensation for the claimants.