Thursday, July 29, 2004 Link To Herald The Halifax Herald Limited

Former JAG chairman, military officer to run for mayor of CBRM

By TERA CAMUS / Cape Breton Bureau

SYDNEY - The former chairman of the Joint Action Group is expected to announce his candidacy today for mayor of Cape Breton Regional Municipality.

Dan Fraser, a retired military officer with the Canadian Armed Forces, has scheduled a news conference for this afternoon at the University College of Cape Breton to finally make official one of the worst-kept secrets in the municipality.

Mr. Fraser ended his stint as head of JAG last fall when the provincial and federal governments pulled the plug on the government/citizen group's effort to find a cleanup solution for the toxic Sydney tar ponds and nearby coke ovens.

After seven years of infighting and clashes among government bureaucrats, citizens and environmentalists, and after more than $70 million was spent, JAG delivered a $1-billion solution to its government partners.

But JAG's cleanup suggestion was ultimately rejected this spring when government committed just $400 million for a method that has yet to be defined.

Mr. Fraser, during his term as JAG chairman, didn't hesitate to take on Mayor John Morgan when the mayor suggested government was using JAG to delay the massive cleanup at the former steel- and coke-making sites.

Since JAG was disbanded, Mr. Fraser has spent much time attending regional council meetings.

Mr. Morgan is also expected to reoffer in the Oct. 16 municipal election but he has yet to make it official. A call to his office Wednesday wasn't returned.

The deadline for nominations is Sept. 14.