Bad strategy

Brian Peters
Voice of the People - Halifax Herald
Mon., Feb. 7, 2005

As a longtime participant in environmental issues on Cape Breton Island, I am astounded that the Sierra Club of Canada was denied representation on the community liaison committee set up to advise the Sydney Tar Ponds Agency. The Sierra Club of Canada has taken a lead role in deliberations on this most critical environmental issue. It has mobilized significant resources to assist in determining the most appropriate strategy to clean up the tar ponds. And from my perspective, it has been the entity that best reflects the opinions and concerns of the community that has been enduring the greatest impact from this, Canada's worst toxic site.

I am concerned that by denying the Sierra Club of Canada's membership on the committee, the Sydney Tar Ponds Agency is exacerbating the problems that have plagued the decades-long search for the right solution. Over the years, it has become apparent to me that the agency has developed an animosity toward the Sierra Club and its leaders, the result of which has been derailed progress and wasted money. On the other hand, the Sierra Club has consistently promoted the best available science and technology to protect community health and the environment.

Recently, there has emerged an environment of conciliation among the parties concerned about the Sydney tar ponds. This decision to exclude the Sierra Club of Canada is a bad strategy by the agency, and it threatens to further divide government and community in our quest for a safe and effective cleanup.

Brian Peters
N.E. Margaree