First Nation communities hoping to pick up tar pond projects

Cape Breton Post
Fri. Jan. 26, 2007

SYDNEY - Cape Breton's five First Nation communities are developing a steering committee to maximize economic benefits arising from the tar ponds cleanup.

Dan Christmas, Membertou's senior adviser, said that until this point, the First Nation community has taken the lead on picking up projects from the planned work, which includes an aboriginal set-aside to remediate a cooling pond on the contaminated site.

"We wanted to expand the circle and bring in the other four communities as well," said Christmas. "We want to ensure all First Nation communities have access."

However, each community will need approval from its chief and council before a steering committee can be formed, he said.

The need for a steering committee became evident during a day-long workshop hosted by the Membertou-YMCA Entrepreneur Centre, Thursday. "We were overwhelmed by all the information and the size and the scope of the project," said Christmas.

The session aimed to build on an agreement to involve First Nation communities in Sydney's cleanup plans. Hosted by the Membertou-YMCA Entrepreneur Centre, the session began with a presentation by the Sydney Tar Ponds Agency and ended with plans to build on an agreement signed in 2005 by Cape Breton's five First Nation communities and federal and provincial governments.

The session was attended by about 40 aboriginal leaders and advisers.

Picture omitted - Caption below

A day-long workshop involving Cape Breton's five First Nation communities ended Thursday with representatives agreeing to work at developing a steering committee focused on projects coming from the Sydney tar ponds cleanup. Shown from left are Joe Sullivan, Earth Tech project manager; Dan White, acting local benefits officer at Sydney Tar Ponds Agency; Tuma Young, Eskasoni CEO; and Dan Christmas, Membertou senior adviser. Submitted by Owen Fitzgerald