Parliamentarians to visit tar ponds, report on remediation expected

By Debbie Gwynn
Cape Breton Post
Fri., Aug. 15, 2008

SYDNEY - An all-party committee of parliamentarians will convene in Sydney to view the tar ponds cleanup and present a report to parliament which could become a blueprint for government decision making on future remediations, said Mark Eyking, Liberal MP for Sydney-Victoria.

The visit, requested by Eyking during the spring session of the House of Commons, will enable the committee to view the progress of the $400-million tar ponds cleanup.

Eyking said he hopes the visit will promote awareness across the country of what the residents of Sydney have been through and what they are going through during the most prominent remediation project taking place in Canada today. "

We are doing the biggest cleanup in Canada here in Sydney," said Eyking, "not only is it an environmental issue but it is, just as important, a new industry - environmental cleanups/environmental technologies."

Eyking emphasized the involvement of Cape Breton University as it strives to create a centre of excellence for environmental cleanups that can be used across North America in the future.

CBU announced plans in June to develop a $20-million environmental research facility to take advantage of opportunities presented by the cleanup of the tar ponds and coke ovens site. At the time, Keith Brown, vicepresident of development with CBU said the centre would make the university home to one of the most significant research facilities in Atlantic Canada, opening up new areas for environmental management research and programming.

" We will be showcasing it," said Eyking, "not only as an environmental issue but as an industry that is going to be very important in Canada and North America in this century."

Eyking said with many industries, especially heavy industries, closing down throughout Canada and the U.S., it is possible the cleanup of the Sydney tar ponds could provide a strategy enabling governments and communities to streamline how they manage future cleanups.

Committee members will receive a briefing from the Federal Department of Public Works and Tar Ponds Agency representatives followed by a tour of the cleanup site.