Former Frederick Street resident begins legal action

Tanya Collier MacDonald
Cape Breton Post
Monday, Aug. 14, 2003

A former Frederick Street resident is declining to comment on a notice of intended action she has at the Supreme Court of Nova pcotia that cites several government departments and the Joint Action Group as defendants. "I don't want to say anything, " Debbie Ouellette told the Cape Breton Post, following a JAG roundtable session in Sydney, Wednesday.

In May 1998, Ouellette asked to have her family moved from their home on Frederick Street when a yellow-coloured goo was spotted oozing from a brook bank near their residence.

At that time, soil samples showed elevated levels of lead, polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) and arsenic - which was found to be 18.5 times higher than acceptable limits set out by the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment.

In 1999, Ouellette and other Frederick Street residents accepted a voluntary buyout offered by governments and moved off the street that borders Sydney's coke oven site. Ouellette was also a member of JAG until she resigned in November 2002.

In the notice of intended action, the author states that the notice is based on the "intentional and negligent acts or the omission of facts, and which acts or omissions included; negligence, and failing fiduciary duty and failing to take adequate action which resulted in loss and damage to the plaintiff and the injury loss and damage was aggravated by the failure of the defendants to take necessary precautions to ensure the safety of the plaintiff and to secure the plaintiff's interests and to protect the health of the plaintiff under the Nova Scotia and Canadian Environmental Acts."

JAG's legal council from Sampson McDougall Barristers and Solicitors notified members that once a statement of claim is filed by Ouellette, each party has a certain amount of time to file a formal defence to the action.