PUBLICATIONThe Halifax Chronicle-Herald
DATE Saturday June 26, 1999
MacLellan blames NDP for protest near home
Sydney - Premier Russell MacLellan is accusing the New Democrats
of orchestrating the protest across the street from his home.
"Really what this is is an NDP sleepover," the premier said Friday
at the Sydney airport.
"It's to throw as much chaos into the campaign. It's the NDP way
of proceeding, to take people's attention away from the real issues."
But protester Ada Hearn denied politics was playing a role in their
fight to get the province to buy more homes from people who live
near the Sydney tar ponds and coke ovens site.
"Russell's a pinhead," she said while standing in front of the 13
tents set up in the vacant field across the street from the
premier's remodelled Victorian home.
"This is a perfectly clear example of what toxic waste does to
somebody, when they think like (the premier)."
A spokesman for NDP Leader Robert Chisholm said the leader "did not
want to dignify" the accusation with a response.
Ms. Hearn said the Liberals should have thought about the timing of
their decision to stop paying Ann Ross's hotel bill last Saturday
after 37 days. Ms. Ross was the first to camp out across from the
premier's home, but she ended her three-day protest Monday.
"If they were worried about the election, they . . . should have
worried about it then," Ms. Hearn said.
Ms. Ross, whose home is contaminated with arsenic, pulled up her
tent stakes Monday night after she was not permitted to bring in a
portable toilet on the vacant lot. She has reluctantly returned home.
But some of her neighbours are continuing the camp-out.
The group has set up tables, signs and a 900-litre inflatable pool
for their children.
Protester Susan Mirao was upset local fire departments wouldn't fill
the pool with water. She said she thinks no one wants to cross the
"These little kids . . . will suffer in the heat because they're
playing their political games and they're taking it out on the
children," she said.
Ashley Steel, 15, said she's also concerned about how the younger children will fare in the heat. The temperature Friday was in the mid- to high 20s.
The premier has no plans to speak to the group.
"There's nothing to talk about now. I won't be rude to them, but I
mean it's not about health concerns."
Mr. MacLellan said he thinks the first protester, Ms. Ross, was
genuine, but he dismissed the second camp-out as politically
He said he will meet with Environment Minister Michel Samson today.
The province has already offered to buy 24 homes on Frederick Street
and Curry's Lane to create a buffer zone and test area for toxins
that have migrated from the coke ovens.
"I can't promise anything," Mr. MacLellan said.
"I don't want to get into a commitment during an election campaign. I don't want this to become an election issue."
Some residents have said they want money to do their own independent
testing. But Mr. MacLellan, who also campaigned in Shelburne on
Friday, said a comprehensive study is being carried out.
"It takes a long time to put all these things in place and to do the
job. This is going to take place over years. It's going to be
thorough and it's going to be very detailed."
The premier said his neighbours are upset about the demonstration.
With Cameron MacKeen, provincial reporter, and Brian Medel, Yarmouth
Community at large takes charge
To the Editor:
It is refreshing to see a local business association taking the initiative
to host an experienced international group to discuss with the community
clean up of the Sydney tar ponds. It has been said over and over again
that Sydney Tar Ponds are not complex and unique to the point of baffling
expert international firms the likes of Illinova Resource Recovery.
Mr. John LaLanne, vice-chair of the Business Improvement District
Commission in Sydney stated he would like to see the process started,
meaning a cleanup of the tar ponds. It is about time that the community at
large demand an end to the diddling a round" and select a method to clean
up that smelly eyesore which is hurting every aspect of our beautiful
island and its people.
What needs to be done about the coke ovens site may take a little more
time. However no action on the tar ponds is no longer acceptable.
So if the currently-designated community stakeholders committee is going
to clean up the tar ponds, then please get on with the job. Letís have
timelines and dates: when is the clean up starting, when is it projected to
Community Alliance spokespersons:
John Kingston, Fran Morrison, John Morrison email@example.com