Liberal Mp Takes Cleanup Of Tar Ponds Personally
Eyking describes cleanup of toxic waste site as one of biggest challenges of life

Tanya Collier MacDonald
Cape Breton Post
Thursday, May 22, 2003 (Page A4)

The Cleanup of Canada's worst toxic waste site has become one of the "biggest challenges" of Mark Eyking's life.

The Sydney-Victoria representative in Ottawa has suddenly become entangled in the cleanup both professionally and personally. He has spent the past two and a half years bringing the need to clean up the Sydney tar ponds and coke oven sites to the forefront, but now that issue has really hit home.

Since a community-consultation process ended in April, co-burning toxic waste from the sites has been deemed the remediation method of choice. That means incinerating contaminated waste at a capable power plant or cement kiln. The closest power plant is Point Aconi power plant, owned by Nova Scotia Power. The closest cement kiln is on the mainland.

Eyking Farms, the Liberal MP's family-owned business in Millville, is located near the power plant. "My concern as a resident, and also as an MP, and a farmer, is if it was going to be burnt here, what effect could it have on the environment, the people and the air. There's no doubt I'm going to be watching it very closely."

Eyking said he does feel comforted by the fact there is a community liaison committee organized since before the power plant opened in 1993 - a committee he was once a member of. The committee is comprised of representatives from the fishing and farming sectors, other community stakeholders, government and Nova Scotia Power Inc.
"There is a community watchdog in place. At the end of the day, you don't want any more impact on our environment than there is already."

A motion to consider co-burning as a possible method of destroying contaminated waste from nearly a century of steelmaking is being presented to JAG roundtable Wednesday'for the Joint Action Group's final approval. It has already passed its steering committee. The recommendation will then be forwarded to government, which will then respond.

As it stands now, JAG cites co-burning the toxic material as the best way to destroy the waste.