Wednesday, June 8, 2005 Link To Herald The Halifax Herald Limited

Chamber wants tar ponds updates


SYDNEY - The Sydney and Area Chamber of Commerce is calling on the federal environment minister to launch monthly progress reports and update area businesses as the tar ponds cleanup gets underway.

In a letter to Stephane Dion, chamber president Bruce Meloney says that even though the community is struggling with cleanup fatigue, "it will be important to maintain regular and frequent communication with the community."

He calls on the minister to send his department officials as well as members of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency to meet informally with the chamber to discuss such things as the status of the assessment process, timelines, milestones and other significant challenges.

"We've worked hard to generate interest across the community in moving the cleanup forward," said Mr. Meloney in a release Tuesday.

"As the project is about to enter the assessment phase, there is concern that communications will falter and our ability to access key information on a timely basis will be affected.

"Our membership and community leadership in general are determined not to allow this to happen," he said.

Meanwhile, Nova Scotians have a month to offer their two cents' worth on how the review of the proposed Sydney tar ponds cleanup will be handled.

The federal and provincial governments have released a draft agreement on a joint panel review for the project. The deadline to submit written comments is July 7.

The draft calls for a panel of three experts to conduct the review.

Federal Environment Minister Stephane Dion has said the review will be done by next June.

The draft agreement is available on the web at and