Page 1   This was presentation  I did last night  for the panel  DEbbie Ouellette



Thank you Madam Chair Dr. La Pierre and Mr. Charles for being here today and giving me this opportunity to speak on issues that I know first hand when short cuts are taking what it can do to residents who live in and around the Coke Ovens and Tarponds Site.

I listed a few things in the pass and in the present than I will talk about Frederick Street:

  • My concerns to this day government promised us our health and safety would be protected in the pass and in the present. If this were true. I wouldn't be sitting here today.
  • When they disturbed the cooling pond on April 27 2006  people were experience  headaches and illness up to four days and didn’t  no why until they read  the story  an excavator pulled up sediment samples from a cooling pond in the newspaper. You could smell the odors from Prince Street up to Steel Workers Hall.
  • Were the residents living in and around the site informed that work was going to take place prior to disturbing the cooling pond?  
  • In 2004 the smells from the tarsponds were unfit. When you passed by Sobey's you had to plug your nose. The smells at times reached beyond Mechanic Street where I live.  
  • I was so upset by this. I talked it over with Neila. We took turns checking the air monitors by the tarponds.  When they were on, when the smells were bad, how far the smells were from the site and how she was feeling on them days. We took notes from June 19 2004 to August 31 2004.  
  • They removed the sewage from the tarponds but the toxic soup is still there today.  
  • We are the real time air monitors.  It seems when they disturb the sites within hours you sure don’t feel well.
  • In 2005 workers were on the Coke Oven Site digging up contaminated soil and placing it in the back of trucks.  Dust was flying every where.
  • I was standing on the overpass looking down at the site taking pictures. Within twenty minutes my eyes were burning from the emissions from the dust.
  • Seeing all this dust it seemed to me no controls were put in place to keep the dust down on that day.

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       On April 4, 2002 when they removed asbestos from the by products building man were in white suits. No stationary monitors were on.

  • On April 5, 2002 in the afternoon about 2:30 I watched the by products building coming down. The plume of orange dust was huge and the smell of gases were on my clothes.  I was quite a distances away from the site. Donnie and Elsie Deleskie were there with me also.
  • They build a cover over the top of the Domtar Tank to keep emissions in. But on Friday September 19 2003 in the newspaper story the highest concentration of toluene ever recorded in North America. The residents in Whitney Pier and Ashby were complained for days of the smell. We knew it was coming from the Coke Ovens Site.

       Also they made TNT explosives on the Coke Oven site. By the end of the war more than 700,000 gallons of toluene had been produced in Sydney.

Now I will talk about my story on Frederick Street:   

  • My family were victims of past mistakes so I will name a few events that happen in 1998-1999.
  • They placed signs on the fence that read Human Health Hazard. We had no idea what that meant.
  • They hired students to go around the neighbourhoods with brochures telling the people that work will soon begin on the coke oven site. But the residents that lived closes to the site were not informed by any one. That was us.
  • I read this in a document. Work began on the coke ovens site removing coal on March 23 1998.
  • The first week of April I started feeling really sick with headaches, nausea, fatigue, dizziness, burning eyes,  and when we were outside tasted of grit in my mouths.
  • My headaches were so bad I thought I had a brain tumor.
  • When the kids started complaining this really concerned me. Why were we getting sick?
  • I happened to be outside and noticed man working on the site
  • You could see dust and the smell of coal tars were in the air.

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        Heavy rains in the spring caused the Frederick Street Brook to flood which back up into my yard. Over the years this was a big problem.

        I noticed two seeps in the brook yellow and orange.

        Media were called and I made it into the Cape Breton Post newspaper. This was all new to me as I was never in the news before.   

        When the seeps were tested arsenic came back 18 times higher than the CCME guidelines.

        We were told not to go near the brook and watch the children and pets.

        They removed the seeps from the brook and one year later arsenic levels were back four times higher than the year before.

        After arsenic came back high in the brook. They placed an orange mash fence to keep the pets and children out of the brook. This was a joke.

        The floods I lived with for years in the brook.  To fine out in 1998 arsenic was high. The very ground we walked, sat on, played on was not longer safe for my kids.

        My husband would take the kids of the street to play with their friends as their friends were no longer aloud to come on Frederick Street. The parents feared for their children. Do you blame them? This was so hard  on the kids.

        When workers and contractors were on the Coke Ovens Site digging up coal, and the smells of coal tars were daily, when Benezene smells were unfit, when dust from the Coke Ovens Site were airborne more often on very windy days our concerns were known to all. It was so bad we stopped the work on the Coke Ovens Site because we complained so mush that we were getting sick.

        Even when reporters were on Frederick Street to do a story. The brook was the main attraction. They would turn of their cameras and would feel sick like we were. When we asked them to say something. They were not allowed as they were there to do a story only.

         They placed air monitors in my yard and two in the next property. If they were on 24 hours that was it. I only remember one time they were on.

        The rest of the time they were useless as they were never turned on when they should have been. In order for the air monitors to be on they needed to be plugged in my basement so power can go through them.

        For seven months the machinery sat on the site doing nothing and in December Phillip’s were paid over $ 400.000  dollars for that contract.



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       Wayne Pierce from Environment Canada took samples from my yard to be tested.

       Also Mary White took samples from my yard and mixed the samples rate in front of my eyes. My guess they didn't went the numbers coming back high. In the document it said please mix samples SS-2 and E   SS-2 was my number.

        We were concerned with the high levels of arsenic that Dr. Jeff Scott arranged for us to have test done for arsenic and lead.

        When my family went to the hospital a nurse took hair samples and put the hair in a skinny tube with a lead pencil. It was so funny.

        When the arsenic and lead results came back from a little girl who was two at the time who moved on our street for only five months to a man who worked on the Coke Ovens Site for forty years. 28 of us had the same numbers for arsenic and lead. How could this be.

        They decided to do a Cantox study. At the cost of $50,000 for three weeks work to come back and tell us there was nothing wrong on Frederick Street.

        Yet from my back step I could see coal dust burst in the air from the site. The smells of coal tars were bad on them days.

        Shrubs and tree leaves were turned black and dying. Can you just imagine what we were breathing  in.

        Workers on the site wore protective clothing and mask. We were not given the same precautions. All we had was a clain linked fence between us. The workers even cutting the grass on the site were dressed in white suits.

        Aug 4 1998  I video taped a huge patch of  black goo outside the  fenced in areas of the Coke Ovens Site.

         Wayne Pierce took a sample. When the results came back Naphthalene was 9.960. 166,000 times higher than CCME guidelines and the exceptable limit was 0.6.

        We also had a huge fire at the landfill. They had fire trucks from 15 departments to put the fire out.

         In the Cape Breton Post on June 17 1998 an article read. Mike Britten stated there are also about 100 miles of under ground pipes that hasn't been purged. Britten said he believes there are underground materials and chemicals that, when exposed to the air, could burn. If other contaminants are added to the mixture there could be an explosion. During a visit he witness small bursts of fire coming from the underground.

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         Also 8 dogs died of cancer who lived on Frederick within three years.

        The people who lived in our home before us. I found out they all died of cancer.  Bowel cancer, lung cancer, breast cancer. Also there was a survey done on eighteen homes and results were the same.

        My son Steven played in an area with his trucks during the summer months. I asked for a sample to be taking there. When that sample came back levels for arsenic were 435.05.

        We had a heavy rain again. Steven our son went down the basement to work on his bike. He came back upstairs and said mommy that orange stuff is in the basement.  I ran down stairs and sure enough a huge patch was sitting on the basement floor. I was shaking.  I ran back upstairs and got my video camera and video tape the area.

         Environment Canada came down took samples and said the test would be back in 10 days. I locked up the basement. The kids were no longer allowed in.

        I getting anxious as the days were getting closer to finding out what was in my basement. I found out media knew before I did what my results were. This really upset me. I called Terry MacPherson. I asked him was arsenic found in the samples of my basement. He did not answer me. I repeated the question again he did not answer. I was screaming at this point on the phone finally he said yes.

         That same night I went to a Jag Meeting. When I walked in all eyes were on me. I stayed cool until it was my turn to speak. My last works to government if my kids get arsenic poison from living in their own home. There will be hell to pay.

         The next day Micheal Samson called me and said there was a room at the Delta Hotel for my family. My husband wanted to stay back with Queeny our dog. I said no way she is part of this family and she is coming with us. She was as good as gold.  Even if this was for a short time I knew final my kids were safe. We stayed there 37 days until we were told we had to leave.

        Our homes were worth nothing as we lived on contaminated land for years and did no it. The government knew.  They bought our homes out of compassion. Not because I had arsenic in my basement. I can prove why I got moved. It’s on video tape.



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       Our homes were torn down and now Frederick Street is just a memory for us. It no longer looks like home.

        Since we moved Queeny our dog had a tumor on her face. We had to put her to sleep. We were willing to pay the money to make her better but the vet said it was no use. My health went down hill for weeks as  I couldn't except the fact she was the last dog who lived on Frederick Street to died of cancer.

        Since I left Frederick Street I spend a great deal of time on the computer and asked questions. As we speak most papers are filed in the court. I am going to speak for myself in court. I can't give you the day and time. But I can't wait to speak in front of a judge

For the record



        I asked this question to STPA about the Domtar tank material. Where the 88 blue containers are gone after months sitting in railcars and they will not tell us where the material went or how it was destroyed.  I would like STPA to send this information to the panel and me. Parker Donham said he would tell us and so far he has not.



         Why do we have a Department of Health, a Department of Environment, a Department of Fisheries and Oceans. Why are they allowing the owners of the coke ovens and tarponds who contaminated our fish and water  in Sydney Harbour  daily and for years. Why are the owners  not being charged heavy fines for doing so? Who do they protect?  

        They did not answer my question. Madam Chair can I also take this as an undertaking. I want the answer to this question brought back to the panel and me.

        Also a study was done on the fish that were on the Coke Ovens site. Some had tumors on them and as you heard here about two weeks ago  from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans the fish were not good.



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         If you go to STP 0157 Health Canada on page five   Issue:   In the ESI health risks   were identified for the workers not wearing   appropriate  personal  protective   equipment during remediation activities at tarponds and coke ovens site.

        My question to Health Canada representatives what were the  health risks  that were identified for the workers  not wearing  appropriate personal protective equipment during remediation activities at tarponds and coke ovens site. They did not answer my question. Madam Chair can I also take this as an undertaking. I want the answer to this question brought back to the panel and me.



        STP 0120  In the (EIS) PDF file "Exective Summary" on page   2-3   I cut and pasted this quote. The contamination at the sites had created increased risks to human health and the environment."  Finally they admit after all these years we were at risk.

        Has it been proven this contamination has not caused  adverse affects on either human or the environment? They did not answer my question. Madam Chair can I also take this as an undertaking. I want the answer to this question brought back to me and the panel.



What I Would love to see happen:

        If they have to move people out of harms way this has to be done first before they disturb the sites.

        Place red zones around the Coke Ovens and Tarponds is a must.

        Realtime air monitors have to be on at all times when work is taking place on the sites. If they have to be on 24 hours a day. Seven days a week. So be it.  We want written guarantee that this will happen.

        I would like to see a cleanup not cover up. Just covering it over does not get rid if the problem.

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      Cover all areas when work is taking place at the coke ovens and tarponds sites. They can build domes on footballs fields. Why couldn’t they do the same here.

      Look at all technologies that will clean the sites once and for all.

      No incineration period. This was the lease preferred option in the Jag workbooks and 4.565 people who signed a petition in less than 36 hours do not want incineration.  Placing an incinerator at Victoria Junction is the worst night mare we all don’t want to face.

      Tell the truth. Be honest we trust no one.

      We need to see all documents break down costs and audits should be done as to where all the money in the pass and the present is gone and to who.

      Local Jobs Local people put to work.

In Closing:

       In closing I am here today to tell you and show you that in the pass and in the present. The residents are being affected just by disturbing the sites.



       Residents that live in and around these sites paid the price. So will the  animals we love.



       In 1998-1999 to me the Coke Ovens Site was a sleeping  monster.  My fears of the unknown will always be with me.



       These experts have to reconsider what will be the safes technologies and are proven with out a doubt they protected us.



       The millions of dollars spend in the last 20 years could have move an army away from these toxic sites. Just on consultants and staff along  millions were spend.







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I want to take this time to thank two of my  special friends   who are sitting beside me tonight. I have many friends but I just can't name you all. Marlene I can’t thank you enough for all you do for me. You never went praise for all you do. We are so lucky to have you. The many nights we were on the phone when I was crying and wanted to give up you by my side. You kept me strong and we still today we talk on the phone to each other before we go to bed.  Thank you for being my friend.

Then I met Neila I am really special because I have an angel beside me to. What a lady to know.  Thank you for being my friend   and mom your’re my life and I love you with all my heart.

To my family the many hours I spend in the last 7 years away from you.  I’m sorry but thank you for putting up with me. I Love You

And Elizabeth Mae I can't thank you enough for all you do for us. How proud we are of you. Go girl !  Go green! . We’ll vote for you.



Thank you  panel members for being here. I really appreciate your patients in the last few weeks. And your staff went above and beyond for all of us



Thank you   



Debbie Ouellette