All cleanup solutions should be rejected

Cape Breton Post
Letter to the editor - Dave Hines
Monday, June 4, 2003

With the deepest respect for all efforts extended on this project, I used my workbook on Muggah Creek cleanup options to determine that all recommendations are unacceptable.

The descriptions of the options were minimal and the workbook did not allow space for informed decision-making.

Incredibly complex processes for disposing of massive amounts of contaminated materials are summed up in two to three lines. These processes can deteriorate into any number of complications, which I feel a need to be informed about before suggesting a future for Sydney.

Even with a two-hour workshop, the complexities of risk involved in these processes cannot be scratched on the surface. These workshops aided people only in walking through the steps of the workbook and filling in the boxes.

This is such a high profile issue that when John Manley, delivering his federal budget speech, said the federal government is committed to helping clean up the tar ponds, he expected the whole country to know exactly what he was talking about.

If we cannot develop a solution that can stand up to the scrutiny of environmental groups, Sydney is losing a chance to shine. The tar ponds and coke ovens sites have plagued us for decades; to invest huge sums of money into a cleanup and not have a clean slate from all views seems a crime.

What concerns me most about the workbook is that the people of the area become responsible for which methods of cleanup are used. Any future complaints about the processes can be brushed aside with the comment: "We did only what the community requested."

I reject all recommendations on the basis of incomplete information.

My solution is to contract independent studies to companies and environmental organizations. A board of technical professionals would review these studies and select a main solution. This would be submitted to government along with the studies.

I feel it is more effective to take this responsibility out of the hands of the community and put it into those of skilled professionals with the backgrounds to make informed decisions.

Dave Hines
Patnic Avenue, Sydney