Thursday, August 19, 2004 Link To Herald The Halifax Herald Limited

Green tour sloshes through tar ponds


SYDNEY - A publicity team rolled into Sydney on Wednesday to promote General Motors' new hybrid-fuel vehicles and mark the coming cleanup of the tar ponds and coke ovens.

Mission Green touts that project as one of 85 "that are creating a cleaner, healthier environment for all Canadians."

Gary Sowerby, leader of the Mission Green national tour, said he picked Sydney because with a recent $400-million government commitment and after 20 years of attempts, the tar ponds and coke ovens will finally be cleaned up.

Mr. Sowerby, who lives in Halifax, gained notoriety in the 1980s for making several contintental and global vehicle treks in record times.

Since then he's had several jobs, including producing media launches for auto companies.

Mission Green's website ( will feature each of the 85 projects it visits. The site is meant to highlight, through stories and photos, positive green projects across the country.

The tour will also tie GM's 85 per cent ethanol-blend vehicles with other green initiatives.

Asked what intrigued him about the tar ponds and coke ovens project, Mr. Sowerby acknowledged he didn't know very much about the proposed cleanup.

"I don't want to get into things I don't really know anything about," he said. "I don't profess to be an expert on any of the initiatives."

In fact, there aren't many details known yet. The provincial agency charged with cleaning the sites has only said generally what it will do. It is writing a specific definition of the work, which will then undergo an environmental assessment.

Frank Potter, an engineer with the Sydney Tar Ponds Agency, said the document should be ready in October or November.