Sierra Club exclusion hard to understand

Letter by Donna Montgomery-Frizzell
Cape Breton Post
Thurs, Feb. 10, 2005

It is difficult to understand the logic behind the exclusion of Sierra Club of Canada from the Sydney Tar Ponds Community Liaison Committee.

Sierra Club of Canada is a respected national environmental group that has existed since 1963. It has about 10,000 members, supporters and youth affiliate members across Canada who support communities on issues such as industrial farming, sustainable forestry, sustainable mining and contaminated lands.

Sierra Club people may not be timid about standing up for what they believe in, but when it comes to public health issues and the environment they are definitely kind and nice.

Sierra Club has a long history of working together with communities on tough environmental issues and has maintained a strong voice for the community in the long saga of the Sydney tar ponds. Sierra Club is not trying to hijack the process but is providing a well-informed alternative view.

It appears as if the Sydney Tar Ponds Agency is using past incicidents where environmentalists were excluded as an excuse to exclude Sierra Club representation at this time. Sierra Club has many members who are more than capable of bringing serious discussion to the table, and has a wealth of knowledge and resources to draw from.

People in this area want representation by someone who will bring unbiased reports back to the community.

Given that David Suzuki, an internationally recognized scientist, endorses the work of the local chapter of Sierra Club on the Sydney remediation, perhaps the tar ponds agency should reconsider what appears to be a very biased and exclusionary stance and do what is best. Make room at the table for Sierra Club.

Donna Montgomery-Frizzell
chair, Stewards of St. Ann's Harbour Association