Government agency will replace JAG
By Tanya Collier MacDonald
Cape Breton Post
Wed., Sept. 17, 2003
A new government agency will seize
the reins from the Joint
Action Group, as the community-driven
process - here since 1996 - prepares
to shut its doors
for good, Thursday.
Within 30 days the new
agency, yet to be named, will
have a storefront in Sydney,
said Garth Bangay, regional
director general for Environment Canada.
The storefront will house
the government employees
described in a terms of reference
issued Tuesday as "bearing complete
all aspects of the project,
including public relations and
It will also oversee a new
community liaison committee
- a group of 15 individuals
nominated from organizations
in this area.
The committee will ensure a
two-way flow of information
between the agency and its
member organizations, as stated
in the government document.
It also states the agency
is mandated to provide committee
members with timely
and accurate information
regarding project plans and
activities and, in return, the
committee will serve as a
"sounding board" for the
The committee will not be a
decision-making forum and is
limited to - asking questions
and offering advice to the
agency, keeping member organizations
the agency with information
and concerns from the community,
offering suggestions to the
agency, providing feedback
when requested, and having
access to technical experts
when approved by the agency.
Once the agency is in place,
it will call for expressions of
interest from interested organizations.
A chairperson will be appointed
by government for a two year tenure.
The meetings, expected to be
monthly at first, will be closed
to the public, but the committee
may participate in public meetings
when requested by the agency.
Dan Fraser, chairperson of
the Joint Action Group, said it's
unfortunate that government
representatives are no longer in
a partnership with this community.
"-It's quite a departure," he said.
JAG is having its last roundtable
as a government-funded
group today but can continue as
an independent organization.
But before they go, members
would like to hear a response
from government concerning
JAG's recommendation on how
to clean up the toxic tar ponds
and coke ovens. It has recommended
waste at the site be removed
and destroyed with co-burning
the favoured method.
"We still haven't heard anything," said Fraser.