Thursday, April 21, 2005 Link To Herald The Halifax Herald Limited

Some parties have questioned the accuracy of the Herald story below. Click here to read the Health Authority's actual report on this topic, or check out the CBDHA Web site environment segment ("TAR PONDS-COKE OVENS") for additional information. (Note from Dan McMullin of Sierra Club Cape Breton Group - dated Apr. 21, 2005)

C.B. health board wants full review of tar ponds plan


SYDNEY - The Cape Breton district health authority announced Tuesday that it prefers a full-panel review of the plan to clean up Sydney's tar ponds and coke ovens sites.

The authority's board and medical staff both agreed that the federal Department of Public Works and Government Services should recommend a full-panel review to the environment minister when the current community consultation is complete.

The authority says there are several things the assessment must do, like make sure there's lots of community consultation and continued public participation, that the panel have the ability to assess cleanup alternatives, and that an ombudsman be appointed so community concerns are addressed in a way people will understand.

The authority also wants to make sure the health impacts of any discussed cleanup alternative are fully disclosed so the community will know how appropriate each option is.

The authority's board is putting together a group to look at the environmental risks associated with the cleanup plan.

Public Works and Government Services is collecting the opinions of Cape Bretoners on their preferred method of environmental assessment of the tar ponds and coke ovens project.

In May the department is expected to notify the Environment Department of its recommendation - either to continue with an in-house comprehensive study or to switch to a full-panel review led by an independent expert.

The debate in Cape Breton over the two methods has been raging since late last year, with the Sierra Club of Canada leading the pack of those seeking a full-panel review.

On Tuesday, the Cape Breton Regional Municipality announced that it had officially sent its recommendation to Public Works.

Municipal council prefers a comprehensive study.