Residents prepared to fight against burning of sludge

By Julie Collins
Cape Breton Post
Friday, July 18, 2003

North Sydney resident Bill MacDonald is prepared to do whatever it takes to prevent the burning of toxic sludge from Canada's worst toxic site at the Point Aconi power plant. "If it means lying on the road and preventing trucks hauling sludge from entering our watershed area, that is what I will do," said MacDon ald. "I know I won't be alone. There are a lot of other people prepared to do the same."

The possibility that the toxic sludge will be burnt at the power plant was realized when the Joint Action Group (JAG) made a recommendation to governments in May. Shortly after, JAG and government officials met with representatives from Point Aconi in a bid to provide information addressing issues raised by residents.

If it is deemed that the power plant isn't an option, JAG officials expect government will look around to see if there is a cement kiln available or some other fluidized bed incinerator with a co-burning unit.

There is a petition presently being circulated on the Northside by a local group opposed to the burning of sludge at Point Aconi. "We have to protect the water supply at Pottle Lake," MacDonald said. "It was bad enough when the trucks were hauling coal and we had to contend with the dust. Even if they move the toxic waste by rail it is still travelling through our North side communities."

During a community meeting held in June, residents living near the Point Aconi power plant strongly stated they are unwilling to have the waste incinerated in their community. "I believe the incinerator in Sydney can burn the contamnation. An access road could be built in to the site wouldn't affect any homeowners and wouldn't bother anyone. Governments have to realize that our most precious resource is our water supply and we have to do what we can to protect the watershed area."

MacDonald said he plans to monitor the situation. "It isn't fair that they are going to take a problem from one community and take it to another, knowing the fear and concern this will bring," he said