Monday, July 7, 2003 Link To Herald The Halifax Herald Limited

JAG done meetings about burning of tar ponds sludge

By Matt Hunt Gardner

Point Aconi - The Joint Action Group had its last meeting Friday with Boularderie Island residents who don't want tar ponds sludge burned at a power plant on their island.

Parker Donham of the Sydney Tar Ponds Agency, JAG's provincial partner, said Saturday that almost all the residents at every meeting opposed the project.

In late May, JAG recommended to government that co-burning contaminated sediments at the Point Aconi power plant would be the best option to clean up parts of the Muggah Creek watershed.

The proposal came after consultation with Cape Breton Regional Municipality residents that concluded it was the most popular of four options.

Boularderie Island residents quickly opposed the idea. The island has many farms, including the egg and vegetable operation of Sydney-Victoria MP Mark Eyking.

JAG met with a community liaison committee, the Cape Breton branch of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture and the Point Aconi Community Development Association, which also opposed the idea.

JAG decided to hold more consultations, culminating Friday.

"It would be wonderful if there was an easy solution that everyone could agree on," Mr. Donham said.

But residents of Boularderie Island "should know that they will be factored into that decision."

The recommendation to co-burn the sludge with arsenic, lead and fuel-based chemicals has not been approved by government, nor has Point Aconi been chosen as the site.

Mr. Donham said the province should make a decision on the recommendation by fall.