Mystery handout features right name, wrong number

Sydney tar ponds cleanup targeted - It was the right name, wrong number on a mystery handout sent to some residents over the weekend.

By Erin Pottie
Cape Breton Post
Mon., May 17, 2010

An unsigned handbill dated May 2010 instructed people to contact a provincial Department of Environment official if they’re concerned about cleanup work at the Sydney tar ponds.

A contractor is currently working to solidify and stabilize the south tar pond after nearly 100 years of steel and coking coal production left more than a million tonnes of contaminated soil and sediment.

The leaflet tells anyone who’s feeling uneasy about dust, smell or noise from the project to "feel free to leave a message — day or night." However, the number reaches a rooming house occupied by three people on Townsend Street.

Tenant Gerald Basker told the Cape Breton Post on Monday he had no idea why his number was listed on the flyer, adding a call from the Post was the only one he received about the matter.

Terry MacPherson, senior manager of the province’s Sydney tar ponds cleanup regulatory branch, said the flyer featuring his name wasn’t issued by anyone connected to the project. MacPherson said the number listed on the flyer as his Charlotte Street office number is actually one digit off his cellphone.

He believes whoever sent out the pamphlet may have done so after hearing a recent radio show. "That might have been something that came out of an interview I did with CBC radio a week before last," said MacPherson, who said he’d mentioned on air that "anyone (who) has a question or a concern regarding the project ... that they could call our office."

Bruce Nunn, a communications adviser with the Environment Department, said anyone who wants to file a complaint should call 563-2100. He said all complaints are followed up. If the call is made after hours, a message can be left and will be returned.