Use incinerator savings to move people out

Letter by Debbie Ouellette
Cape Breton Post
Sat., Feb. 10, 2007

Thanks to everyone who tried in vain to get us into the meeting at the Membertou Trade and Convention Centre for the Jan. 28 Sydney cleanup announcement. Three of us were locked out because earlier we had carried signs, a few blocks away, which said stabilization-and-solidification was not proven technology for the tar ponds.

Thanks to everyone who sent letters and e-mails to ministers and the newspaper on our behalf, and to the Cape Breton Post for its editorial (Barred Dissenters Owed an Apology, Jan. 30). We have sent letters to the provincial and federal ministers of public works asking for a public apology.

I am disappointed in Sydney Tar Ponds Agency spokesman Parker Donham's comments about why we were locked out (Protesters Turned Away from Tar Ponds Announcement, Jan. 29). He accused us of trying to get in the hall with signs to hijack the meeting. We never went near the hall with signs and didn't have any intention of disturbing the meeting.

People who visit Sydney to get information about the cleanup are sometimes told, when they meet STPA, not to meet with some members of this community. When they do meet with some of us, they are amazed at how informed we are, and some are brought to tears when they hear our stories.

Many got rich at the expense of the health of this community. Do the right thing this time and place a buffer around these sites. Give the residents who want to be moved away that option. Removing incineration from the table saves $73 million which could be used to move people out of harm's way.

We can't rely on air monitors. We are the air monitors. When the sludge is disturbed, emissions will leave the site. The workers will have protection so they won't get sick, but there is no protection for the residents.

The chain link fences around these sites protect no one.

Debbie Ouellette