Program Sought To Protect Tar Ponds Property Owners From Financial Loss

Page A4
Tanya Collier MacDonald
Cape Breton Post
Tuesday, May 16, 2003

Click here to learn more about the project known as the Port Hope Area Initiative
or Click here for more specific information on the Port Hope Property Value Protection Program

A program aimed at protecting property owners from financial loss due to planned cleanup efforts at Canada's worst toxic waste site is being sought by members of the Joint Action Group.

During a steering committee meeting Wednesday, a motion initiated by the Remedial Options Working Group addressing the need for property value protection was passed. It will be discussed again at a May 28 roundtable session where final approval is needed before being forwarded to government partners.

Dan Fraser, JAG chair person, read the motion's preamble at Wednesdays meeting.
"During the construction period of large remediation projects, residents in close proximity can be subject to increased noise, dust, odours or vapours from the remediation activities. These real or perceived risks can lead to uncertainties for their safety and may cause financial difficulties with respect to their property values.
"In order to protect for potential loss during the construction period, a property value protection program is proposed."

Properties to be considered are those generally within 350 metres of the tar ponds and coke ovens sites. A more detailed zone definition is outlined in the proposed program.

It was noted that the request is not a relocation effort and is based on the - Port Hope Area Initiative - Property Value Protection Program - now under way between the federal government and residents from that Ontario municipality. It has been reported that the Property Value Protection Program for Port Hope was officially launched on Oct. 1, 2001, to compensate property owners who realize financial loss on the sale of their property and loss of rental income or mortgage renewal difficulties as a result of the Port Hope Area Initiative.

That initiative involves the proposed clean up and long term management of low-level radioactive waste materials in in that area.

During Wednesday night's JAG session, Mike MacKeigan public utilities manager for the Cape Breton Regional Municipality, cautioned the group.
"People in this community will take a hair and make it a football field wide."

Neila Mac Queen, a Dorchester Street resident who has several properties surrounding the toxic site, said she was pleased to see a program could be presented to government soon.
"I thought once the tar ponds work started I would have to leave my home."