Attempt to claim tar ponds work to be made

Cape Breton Post
Tues., Oct. 18, 2005

SYDNEY - In a bid for local businesses to claim a substantial piece of the $400-million cleanup of the tar ponds, a local committee has developed a six-point plan.

The committee is also seeking a meeting with the Sydney Tar Ponds Agency, which is overseeing the cleanup, to develop a workshop for local environmental products and service providers as to how they can best tap into the project.

As well, the committee is planning to help local companies partner with off-island firms to better position themselves to receive project contracts.

The tar ponds and associated sites are considered the largest toxic waste dump in Canada and remain the legacy of nearly 100 years of steelmaking in Cape Breton.

Barbara Stead Coyle, general manager of the Cape Breton Partnership, said the six initiatives include developing an inventory of local providers outlining their resources, skills and services; identifying capacity shortfalls and offering suggestions to make local providers more attractive; and promoting the adoption of criteria to measure local content. "The importance of the cleanup to the Cape Breton economy is clear. Processes need to be put in place to ensure the opportunity is not lost," said Stead Coyle.

Stead Coyle will soon leave the Cape Breton Partnership to begin working for the Sydney Tar Ponds Agency as co-ordinator of economic benefits for the cleanup.

She will direct the agency's efforts to help ensure that Cape Breton workers and companies achieve the maximum economic benefit from the cleanup.

She will oversee the creation of an online registry of Cape Breton businesses—to make bidders on cleanup contracts aware of local companies and their capabilities—and a similar registry for local residents interested in working on the cleanup.