Hall wants environment minister to visit tar ponds

By Chris Shannon
Cape Breton Post
Wed., Dec. 13, 2006

SYDNEY - A municipal councillor wants federal Environment Minister Rona Ambrose to take a tour of the tar ponds and coke ovens site.

Coun. Vince Hall of the Cape Breton Regional Municipality requested in a letter addressed to the minister that she have a first-hand look at one of the worst toxic sites in the country.

Hall said he wants to be able to voice his opposition to incineration one of the possible methods of eliminating some of the toxic sludge to Ambrose in person. "I think it's long overdue for governments to make an announcement on the decision of what technologies they do in fact plan to employ to clean up the tar ponds," Hall said.

He said he's willing to give Ambrose "the benefit of the doubt" before passing judgment on her commitment to the project, that's expected to take at least the next 10 years and $400 million to complete.

Recommendations from the three-member joint panel, which concluded hearings in May, suggest the community might have to manage the project indefinitely. As well, the panel found that further pilot studies should be performed on proposed solidification and stabilization technologies.

The project is currently undergoing an audit at Public Works and Government Services Canada. It's not yet known if Ambrose will accept Hall's offer to tour the tar ponds. A spokesperson from her office didn't return phone calls Tuesday.