November 7, 2005

Agreement will provide economic opportunities for First Nations in Sydney Tar Ponds cleanup

SYDNEY, NS-The federal and Nova Scotia governments have signed a protocol agreement with the Cape Breton Mi'kmaq First Nation communities relating to discussions about economic opportunities in the Sydney Tar Ponds and coke ovens cleanup. As a tangible first step in implementing the agreement, the Sydney Tar Ponds Agency will contract the cleanup of the cooling pond as an aboriginal set-aside. This will limit bidding on the project to firms with majority First Nations ownership and control. "For over one hundred years our traditional lands and waters have been impacted by the steel industry. The signing of this protocol agreement today represents the beginning of a new era of collaboration between the province, the federal government, and the Mi'kmaw people," said Chief Terrance Paul. The cooling pond is a circular body of water in front of the Tar Ponds Agency office. Its function was to cool water used by Sysco's rolling mills. The cleanup of the cooling pond is one of four preliminary projects intended to prevent environmental damage while the major portion of the cleanup undergoes environmental assessment. Expected to begin next summer, the project will include stabilization, solidification, and capping of the pond, and pilot testing of stabilization and solidification technology in adjacent sections of the south Tar Pond. The federal government is providing $280 million and the Nova Scotia government $120 million toward the Tar Ponds cleanup project.

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