Government of Canada's Response to the Environmental Assessment Report of the Joint Review Panel on the Sydney Tar Ponds and Coke Ovens Remediation Project

9.0 Government of Canada Response to Panel Recommendations

Recommendation 1—Nova Scotia Environment and Labour

The Panel recommends that the Nova Scotia Minister of Environment and Labour approve the undertaking subject to conditions which address the recommendations in this report.

Government of Canada (GC) Response: This recommendation applies to the Province of Nova Scotia.

Recommendation 2—Sydney Tar Ponds Agency Mitigation Measures

The Panel recommends that the GC and the Government of Nova Scotia (GNS) ensure that mitigation measures proposed by the Sydney Tar Ponds Agency (STPA) as an integral part of the Project are implemented.

GC Response: The GC agrees with the recommendation. In order to be satisfied that mitigation ultimately adopted for the Project is duly implemented, the GC will seek specialist knowledge through the establishment of a single window federal/provincial Environmental Management Committee (EMC). The EMC will provide expert advice to Governments on Project related environmental management initiatives. Pursuant to the Act, the EMC will also assist the GC in developing a follow-up program, to verify the accuracy of the environmental assessment and to determine the effectiveness of mitigation.

Recommendation 3—(Federal) Toxic Substances Management Policy

The Panel recommends that Environment Canada (EC), with the assistance of Health Canada (HC), provide advice to Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) to ensure the Project is in full compliance with the Toxic Substances Management Policy. The federal departments should ensure that an analysis of risks, costs and benefits is completed of the North Pond Polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) removal alternative. That analysis should give appropriate consideration to social issues. The results of the analysis should determine if the PCBs in the North Pond hot spot are to be removed or if minimizing PCB exposure and the site's potential risks are to be addressed by way of the Full Containment, No Incineration project alternative. The Panel recommends that PWGSC and Nova Scotia Department of Environment and Labour (NSEL) require STPA to conduct the same analysis of South Pond PCBs.

GC Response: The GC agrees with this recommendation and will ensure that the Project is consistent with the guidance provided by the Toxic Substances Management Policy.

Pursuant to this recommendation, the GC commissioned a comparative analysis of risks, costs and benefits (RBA) for the Project and the Alternative. The study considered nine analysis categories: Health, Environment, Regulatory and Permitting, Psycho-social, Community Acceptance, Local Economic Benefits, Political Issues, Project Implementation Schedule Control and Project Costs.

Study results show that the relative risks associated with the Project are higher than those for the Alternative for most of nine analytical categories. Most of these findings can be traced to the incineration component of the Project, which introduces a higher level of complexity to the remediation process, as well as issues related to the potential emission of toxic substances from the incineration operation.

In accordance with the results of the RBA, and on the understanding that the GNS is in accord, the GC supports the refinement and implementation of the general remediation strategy identified as "The Alternative"for purposes of the environmental assessment. In reaching this position, the GC notes that the Panel agreed with the Proponent that this approach should be considered a technically and economically feasible means of carrying out the project, and concluded that it could be implemented without significant adverse environmental effects.

Recommendation 4—Combined Emissions and Expected Ambient Air Concentrations

The Panel recommends that NSEL and PWGSC require STPA to calculate the total expected ambient air concentrations due to the combination of all Project-related emission sources and the existing pollutant levels in the local air shed. The results of this analysis may affect the ecological and human health risk assessments. NSEL and PWGSC should require STPA to re-evaluate the risk assessments and incorporate the results into the Project design and applications for regulatory approvals, as appropriate.

GC Response: The GC agrees with the recommendation and the STPA will be required to review all predicted Project-related air emissions, and combine with the current ambient baseline conditions, to determine a total predicted air quality for the air shed. STPA will also be required to use this information to re-evaluate the analysis conducted in the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), including the cumulative effects, as part of the detailed design process. HC and EC will provide expert and specialist knowledge and information during this initiative.

Recommendation 5—The Solidification / Stabilization Process and Air Emissions

The Panel recommends that NSEL and PWGSC require STPA, as part of a pilot in situ study of the solidification/stabilization process (Recommendation 13), to evaluate the potential for air-borne emissions and implement appropriate mitigation measures and integrate these measures within the Project design.

GC Response: The GC agrees with the recommendation. The potential for air borne emissions from in situ solidification/stabilization will be evaluated as part of a pilot study (see response to Recommendation 13), and appropriate mitigation measures will be integrated within the Project design.

Recommendation 6—Remediation and the Air Monitoring and Follow-Up Program

The Panel recommends that NSEL and PWGSC require STPA (with the appropriate involvement of EC, HC, the Medical Officer of Health, the Cape Breton District Health Authority, and the Project Community Liaison Committee) to design an Air Monitoring and Follow-up Program for the Project. The program should be based on technically sound principles and procedures with special consideration given to:

GC Response: The GC agrees with this recommendation. The STPA will be required to design a detailed air monitoring plan for the construction activities as part of the overall Project monitoring program that gives consideration to the points outlined in the recommendation. The RAs will also ensure the development of a follow up program, in keeping with their responsibilities as defined by the Act, for the Project which includes verification of predicted impacts on air quality and mitigation efficacy. Air quality monitoring results will be factored into follow-up program protocols and procedures in an integrated fashion.

Recommendation 7—Groundwater and Surface Water Protection Design Requirements

The Panel recommends that, prior to providing funds or issuing approvals to proceed with solidification/stabilization, NSEL and PWGSC require STPA to:

GC Response: The GC agrees with the recommendation. STPA will be required to undertake additional hydrogeological modeling, the results of which will be reviewed and incorporated into the final design of the Project. The results of this analysis will be used to provide refinement of the final project design.

Recommendation 8—Groundwater Monitoring Program

The Panel recommends that, prior to providing funds or issuing approvals to proceed with the Project, NSEL and PWGSC require STPA to develop a detailed groundwater monitoring program for the various Project areas, including the intermediate and deeper bedrock zones. The program should demonstrate:

GC Response: The GC agrees with the recommendation. A detailed groundwater monitoring program for all project elements potentially impacting groundwater resources will be developed. This will include detailed rationale for the employment and expected efficacy of monitoring wells in relation to the detection of the penetration of contaminated groundwater through the cap from all sources. Engaging the Cape Breton Regional Municipality (CBRM) to determine its future plans for the monitoring and mitigation of leachate flows from the CBRM landfill site, however, is a provincial responsibility, and the GC defers to its provincial partners to address this issue.

Recommendation 9—Cap Design

The Panel recommends that, prior to providing funds or issuing approvals to proceed with solidification/stabilization, NSEL and PWGSC require STPA to:

GC Response: The GC agrees with the recommendation. The GC in consultation with the Province of Nova Scotia will ensure that the issues identified in the recommendation form an integral part of the final design of the Project.

Recommendation 10—Cap Monitoring Program

The Panel recommends that, prior to providing funds or issuing approvals to proceed with solidification/stabilization, NSEL and PWGSC require STPA to develop a cap monitoring program with an aim to:

GC Response: The GC agrees with the recommendation. The GC, in consultation with the Province of Nova Scotia, will ensure that a cap monitoring program is developed and implemented to address the issues noted in the recommendation. This will form part of the overall Project monitoring program and will comprise a portion of the federal follow-up program.

Recommendation 11—Solidification/Stabilization Criteria

The Panel recommends that, prior to providing funds or issuing approvals to proceed with solidification/stabilization, NSEL and PWGSC require STPA to:

GC Response: The GC agrees with the recommendation. The GC, in consultation with the Province of Nova Scotia, will ensure that during the detailed design phase, testing is conducted as per the recommendation made by the Panel. Site specific testing criteria will be established for the project, where appropriate, after analyzing the bench scale and pilot testing data. Results will be evaluated by both the GC and NSEL. (Refer also to Response for Recommendation 13.)

Recommendation 12—Treatability Study

The Panel recommends that, prior to providing funds or issuing approvals to proceed with solidification/stabilization, NSEL and PWGSC require STPA to:

GC Response: The GC agrees with the recommendation. The GC, in consultation with NSEL, will incorporate a treatability study into pilot test protocols as part of the implementation of Panel recommendation 13. All four of the recommendation 12 components will be addressed by the Pilot Scale study as provided for below.

Recommendation 13—Pilot Scale Study

The Panel recommends that, prior to providing funds or issuing approvals to proceed with solidification/stabilization, NSEL and PWGSC require STPA to:

GC Response: The GC agrees with the recommendation. The GC, through the federal / provincial Project Management Committee (PMC) and in consultation with NSEL, will ensure that a pilot testing program will be conducted at each location (that is, North Pond, South Pond and Tar Cell) by the STPA. A full pilot testing program will be developed that also addresses Recommendations 11 and 12. This program will also include Quality Assurance and Quality Control (QA/QC) protocols. Results will be provided to EC and NSEL for review and comment.

Recommendation 14—Wastewater Treatment

The Panel recommends that NSEL require STPA, when submitting information in support of approvals to discharge wastewaters to:

GC Response: The GC agrees in principle with the recommendation, noting that the majority of the recommendation pertains to NS. EC is responsible for the pollution prevention provisions of the Fisheries Act, and will work with NSEL to monitor environmental compliance in this regard, particularly as it applies to Section 36 of the Fisheries Act. Section 36 will be enforced in accordance with the Fisheries Act Habitat Protection and Pollution Prevention Provisions Compliance and Enforcement Policy.

Recommendation 15—Fish Migration

The Panel recommends that NSEL and PWGSC require STPA to consult with DFO in the design of the Project's constructed watercourses and in the design of a long-term aquatic biodiversity monitoring study of the Coke Ovens Brook and Wash Brook watersheds.

GC Response: The GC agrees with the recommendation. The STPA will be required to consult with DFO on the design of constructed watercourses and long-term aquatic biodiversity monitoring studies of the Coke Ovens Brook and Wash Brook watersheds.

Recommendation 16 – Landfarming

The Panel recommends that, prior to providing funds or issuing approvals, STPA revaluate the need to undertake landfarming at the Coke Ovens site and provide the rationale for the decision to the Project's funding partners for approval.

GC Response: The GC agrees with the recommendation, and will require STPA to re-evaluate the need to undertake landfarming on the Coke Ovens site.

Recommendation 17—Water Quality Monitoring

The Panel recommends that PWGSC and NSEL require STPA to:

GC Response: The GC agrees with the recommendation. The STPA will be required to design and conduct a water monitoring program for potentially contaminated groundwater and surface water attributable to the Project that may be discharged to Sydney Harbour.

Recommendation 18—Ecological Risk Assessment

The Panel recommends that PWGSC require STPA to undertake a quantitative assessment of the risk of remedial activities to marine receptors within the South Arm of Sydney Harbour. The risk assessment should incorporate changes in the flux of contaminants from the Tar Ponds during and following completion of the Project.

GC Response: The GC agrees with the recommendation and will ensure that a quantitative assessment of risk of remedial activities to marine receptors be undertaken. Existing data will be considered in the conduct of this initiative.

Recommendation 19—Long-Term Monitoring of Sydney Harbour

The Panel recommends that PWGSC, in consultation with NRCan, DFO, Environment Canada, and STPA, design a long-term monitoring program to document improvements in the environmental quality of Sydney Harbour. DFO should assume the lead for long-term monitoring.

GC Response: The GC agrees in principle with the recommendation. The GC will ensure that STPA develops and implements a monitoring program that will focus on determining the impacts of the project on Sydney Harbour. The design and results of the monitoring program will be critically evaluated by the EMC in order to facilitate the addition of federal/provincial expert and specialist knowledge and advice. The GC will also ensure that the results of the quantitative risk analysis (per Recommendation 18 above) are incorporated into the design of the monitoring program. Fisheries and Oceans Canada ((DFO) will provide expert advice in this regard.

Recommendation 20—Air Dispersion Modeling & Risk Assessment

The Panel recommends that NSEL and PWGSC require STPA to conduct additional dispersion and risk assessment modeling once the number of incinerators and details of the incinerator design are finalized to confirm the predictions presented in the EIS. This analysis should be provided to EC, HC, and NSEL for review and comment.

GC Response:GC Response: The GC agrees with the recommendation. The dispersion modeling and risk assessments that were conducted for the incinerator, as part of the EIS, will be re-evaluated once the final design details of these facilities are determined. If it is determined that the assumptions used to conduct the dispersion modeling and risk assessments are no longer valid, then these analyses will be conducted again to account for these variations in design. Analytical results will be reviewed by EC and HC in consultation with their provincial counterparts.

Recommendation 21—Pollution Control and Monitoring Technology

The Panel recommends that:

GC Response: The GC agrees in principle with the recommendation. Concerning the first recommendation component, EC is currently in the process of revising the Federal Mobile PCB Treatment and Destruction Regulations. A more stringent emission criteria for PCBs is included as part of the proposed revisions. The GC supports the use of the Canada Wide Standards (CWS) developed through the CCME process for dioxins and furans with respect to emissions from incineration facilities; these standards are also included as part of the proposed revisions to the Federal Mobile PCB Treatment and Destruction Regulations. The GC, in conjunction with provincial counterparts, will evaluate the feasibility of identifying destruction and removal efficiency (DRE) for hexachlorobenzene, associated with the proposed incineration project.

The second and third components of this recommendation are directed to the Province of Nova Scotia. The GC will cooperate with the Province in this regard as appropriate.

Recommendation 22—Enclosure of Incinerator Facilities

The Panel recommends that STPA be required by NSEL and PWGSC to enclose the incinerator and all ancillary storage areas for feedstock, bottom ash and fly ash in order to capture and monitor any fugitive emissions and to prevent adverse weather effects.

GC Response: The GC agrees with this recommendation and will ensure that the incinerator facility is enclosed in an appropriate structure.

Recommendation 23—Effects on Wells at the Victoria Junction Site

The Panel recommends that NSEL and PWGSC require STPA to monitor the affect of Project water usage at the Victoria Junction (VJ) site on the underlying aquifer and on private wells drawing from the aquifer, and to develop an appropriate mitigation plan should adverse effects be identified.

GC Response: The GC agrees with the recommendation. The STPA will be required to monitor the effect of Project water usage at the potential incineration site, the VJ site, on the underlying aquifer and on private wells drawing from the aquifer, and will develop an appropriate mitigation plan should adverse effects be identified.

Recommendation 24—Monitoring of Surface Water Resources

The Panel recommends that NSEL and PWGSC require STPA to monitor the environmental effects of incinerator operations on surface water bodies and aquatic resources. Monitoring techniques should employ best environmental practices and results reported to the public and to the operators of local water supply systems.

GC Response: The GC agrees with the recommendation. The STPA will be required to monitor the effect of Project water usage at the VJ site on the underlying aquifer and on private wells drawing from the aquifer, and will develop an appropriate mitigation plan should adverse effects be identified.

Recommendation 25—Phalen Site Water Supply

Should an incinerator be sited at Phalen, the Panel recommends that NSEL and PWGSC require STPA to consult with CBRM and confirm that the municipality will be able to supply the required volume of water.

GC Response: The GC agrees with the recommendation. The STPA will be required to consult with CBRM to acquire the required volume of water.

Recommendation 26—Incinerator Bidders' Track Record

The Panel recommends that, when requesting proposals for incineration services, STPA require bidders to provide full disclosure of their track record in constructing and operating comparable facilities including their record of regulatory compliance, and this information be:

  1. placed on the public record
  2. given significant weighting in the bidder evaluation process

GC Response: The GC agrees with the recommendation and through the federal provincial PMC will ensure that STPA acquires the appropriate information during tendering as outlined in the Recommendation.

Recommendation 27—Bond Requirements

The Panel recommends that STPA require the successful incineration bidder to post a bond sufficient to cover the costs of completing the safe destruction, disposal or management of the contaminated materials intended for incineration, in the event that, for reasons of equipment malfunction, accidents, or failure to comply with regulatory requirements, the bidder is unable to deliver the contracted services in a safe and timely manner.

GC Response: The GC agrees with this recommendation and through the federal/provincial PMC will ensure that STPA obtains the required information from incineration bidders as outlined by the recommendation.

Recommendation 28—Increasing Regulatory Capacity

The Panel recommends that NSEL review existing staff capacity in relation to the skill set and experience required to oversee an effective permitting and enforcement program for hazardous waste incineration, identify gaps, and fill those gaps through appropriate training or staff acquisition.

GC Response: This recommendation pertains to an area of provincial responsibility.

Recommendation 29—Thermal Relief Valve

The Panel recommends that STPA be required by NSEL and PWGSC to install appropriate pollution control mechanisms on the thermal relief valve if it is technically possible to do so, and to investigate and incorporate ways to monitor emissions from the valve. STPA should also be required to develop appropriate protocols to deal with malfunctions.

GC Response: The GC does not agree with this recommendation. With the current state of monitoring technologies available, the GC believes the installation of pollution control mechanisms on the thermal relief valve and its associated monitoring is not economically feasible. The GC, however, will ensure that STPA develop appropriate monitoring protocols and contingencies to address potential malfunctions.

Recommendation 30—Monitoring Upset Conditions

The Panel recommends that STPA be required by NSEL and PWGSC to monitor upset conditions at the incinerator and report them immediately to regulatory authorities, including the Medical Officer of Health. An appropriate response plan should also be put in place.

GC Response: The GC agrees with the recommendation. The STPA will be required to develop appropriate monitoring, response and communication plans for potential upset conditions at the incinerator facilities.

Recommendation 31—Monitoring Environmental Effects of Incineration

To validate the conclusions of the modeling and risk assessments the Panel recommends that NSEL and PWGSC require STPA to include the following in its monitoring and follow-up program:

GC Response: The GC agrees with the recommendation. The STPA will be required to implement a monitoring program that includes establishing baseline conditions and monitoring contaminant levels in country foods. The Proponent will also be required to evaluate the scientific feasibility of monitoring sensitive lichen species.

Recommendation 32—Community Involvement

The Panel recommends that STPA, in collaboration with the Community Liaison Committee (see Recommendation 55) be required by NSEL and PWGSC to develop a community consultation program to engage with residents in the vicinity of the incinerator site to provide information, identify and address concerns, and establish an ongoing reporting protocol.

GC Response: The GC agrees with the recommendation, and will cooperate with provincial initiatives in this regard as appropriate.

Recommendation 33—Economic Benefits Strategy

The Panel recommends that STPA be required by NSEL and PWGSC to develop a comprehensive economic benefits strategy to ensure that economic benefits and employment accrue locally to the greatest extent possible. The strategy should include a monitoring and reporting program to track local business and labour participation in the Project. The strategy should also address ways in which the Project can help to develop local business capacity and labour market skills in order to have lasting effects after completion of the remediation.

GC Response: The GC notes that the STPA has an Economic Benefits Strategy in place and that in any case the specific objectives and scope of this recommendation pertain to areas of provincial responsibility.

Recommendation 34—Women's Employment Strategy

The Panel recommends that STPA carry out a gender analysis as part of their forthcoming labour capacity study, and work with local women's organizations, business organizations and education and training institutions to develop a women's employment strategy to promote and facilitate the participation of women in the non-traditional trades and technologies required by the Project. STPA should also monitor the participation of women throughout the life of the Project. This strategy and associated monitoring program should be integrated into the overall Economic Benefits Strategy and its reporting requirements.

GC Response: The GC agrees in principle with this recommendation as the principles of equity and diversity are basic tenets of federal government employment policy, and notes that this recommendation pertains to an area of provincial responsibility.

Recommendation 35—African Nova Scotian Employment Strategy

The Panel recommends that STPA, in consultation with the Cape Breton Black Employment Partnership Committee, develop equity policies and training and outreach programs to promote and facilitate the training and employment of African Nova Scotians on the remediation Project, and should monitor the results throughout the life of the Project. This strategy and associated monitoring program should be integrated into the overall Economic Benefits Strategy and its reporting requirements.

GC Response: The GC agrees in principle with this recommendation as the principles of equity and diversity are basic tenets of federal government employment policy and notes that this recommendation pertains to an area of provincial responsibility.

Recommendation 36—Transportation Management Plan

The Panel recommends that STPA be required by NSEL and PWGSC to develop a Transportation Management Plan before Project construction begins. STPA should consult with NSTPW and CBRM in preparing the Plan, which should address infrastructure impacts, transportation routes, timing, dust management, safety issues, contractor compliance, communications, monitoring and reporting. The Plan should include an easily accessible complaints mechanism and proposed mitigation alternatives. STPA should review the Plan with the Community Liaison Committee on a regular basis (no less than once a year).

GC Response: The GC agrees with the recommendation and will cooperate with the NSTPW in ensuring that a detailed Transportation Management Plan for the Project is developed and forms part of the Project Environmental Management Plan (EMP).

Recommendation 37—Ensuring Rail Safety

The Panel recommends that STPA be required by NSEL and PWGSC to file a Rail Safety report with NSTPW before Project approval is given. The report should document:

GC Response: The GC agrees with the recommendation and will cooperate with the NSTPW in ensuring that an assessment of rail safety is carried out as part of the Transportation Management Plan referred to in the GC response to recommendation 36.

Recommendation 38—Use of Rail to Transport Construction Materials

The Panel recommends that wherever possible, STPA identify and employ additional opportunities to transport construction materials by rail to the Project sites to reduce transportation impacts.

GC Response: The GC agrees with the Panel's recommendation to reduce road transportation impacts. The STPA will be required to investigate the transportation of construction materials to the Project sites by rail and/or sea, wherever practical.

Recommendation 39—Future Use Plan

The Panel recommends that STPA, in collaboration with CBRM, develop a future use plan for the remediated Tar Ponds and Coke Ovens sites that addresses the requirements of the evolving Port to Port Corridor concept, the community's interest in active living open space opportunities, the issues and concerns of adjacent neighbourhoods, the practical realities of the remediation process, and subsequent monitoring and maintenance. The plan should draw on examples of best practice in brown field redevelopment wherever possible, and identify the resources necessary for implementation.

GC Response: The GC agrees with the recommendation, and will work with NSTPW as it consults with CBRM, and other stakeholders in order to develop future use plans for the sites, consistent with the terms of the MOA.

Recommendation 40—Minimizing Restrictions on Future Uses Through Site Design Enhancements

The Panel recommends that STPA, in collaboration with CBRM and other stakeholders review the Project design with respect to maximizing the capacity of the two sites to support a variety of future uses, as identified through the future use planning process addressed in Recommendation 39. The Panel further recommends that STPA incorporate all feasible site enhancements, such as bearing capacity and cap design improvements, and conduits for future site services, which fall within the designated funding.

GC Response: The GC agrees in principle with the recommendation. NSTPW will be asked to continue discussions with CBRM in order to develop future use plans for the sites. Where appropriate, and in keeping with terms of the MOA, the design may be modified to accommodate potential future use.

Recommendation 41—Maximizing Aquatic Habitat Restoration as Part of Future Use Planning

The Panel recommends that STPA, in consultation with NSEL, NSDNR, DFO and EC, develop a detailed habitat restoration plan for the Tar Ponds area, drawing the disciplines of remediation engineering and landscape architecture. The goal of the restoration plan is to increase the area of reclaimed estuarine habitat, while still enabling the effective encapsulation of contaminated sediments.

GC Response: The GC agrees with the recommendation. The STPA will be required to consult with the appropriate provincial and federal agencies in the development of the associated restoration plans.

Recommendation 42—Tree Planting

The Panel recommends that STPA, in consultation with CBRM and other community stakeholders develop a native tree planting plan for both sites, together with a strategy for early implementation. The species of trees and shrubs selected should be compatible with the type of managed terrestrial ecosystem required to ensure the integrity of the caps. The Panel also recommends that STPA consider creating a native tree species nursery on site to provide the necessary planting stock which may otherwise be difficult to obtain.

GC Response: The GC agrees in principle with the recommendation, and within the terms of the MOA will encourage the use of native trees where replanting is contemplated.

Recommendation 43—Maintenance of Community Open Space

The Panel recommends that, in the event that STPA and CBRM do not identify viable alternative commercial or institutional uses for the remediated lands site that are acceptable to the community, STPA be required by NSEL and PWGSC to set aside a portion of the annual monitoring and maintenance budget to contribute funds over a 25-year period to cost-share the operation and maintenance of a trail and open space system on the remediated lands. This set aside would be part of STPA's responsibility to ensure the continued integrity and function of the encapsulation and drainage systems. If alternative land uses are pursued, the Panel recommends that sufficient land be set aside to provide an active transportation link between Whitney Pier and downtown Sydney, and that STPA ensure that remediation design (bearing capacity, cap design, soil coveretc.) minimizes the cost of developing the facility.

GC Response: The GC agrees in principle with the recommendation. Within the terms of the MOA, the GC will ensure that the Panel's recommendation is considered as part of the final design of the Project.

Recommendation 44—Perimeter Enhancement Strategy

The Panel recommends that STPA's final Project design be required by NSEL and PWGSC to include a perimeter enhancement strategy to mitigate any interactions between the Project and local residents at the perimeter of the site and to add value to adjacent residential areas through added amenity at the interface area (landscaping, community facilities etc.). In the process of developing the strategy, STPA should consult with residents of the adjacent neighbourhoods through the Community Liaison Committee.

GC Response: The GC agrees in principle with the recommendation. The current Project already contemplates the type of features envisioned in the Panel-recommended "Perimeter Enhancement Strategy". In keeping with this recommendation, further opportunities to enhance and protect the perimeter of the Project site will be examined as part of Project design.

Recommendation 45—Property Value Protection Program

The Panel recommends that STPA, in consultation with CBRM, be required by NSEL and PWGSC to develop a property value protection program to be applied to properties in the immediate vicinity of the remediation sites and at most risk of being affected by noise, odour, dust or transportation.

GC Response: The GC agrees in principle with the recommendation, although it believes that mitigation will result in positive, not negative, effects on property values. In any case, the GC will ensure that subsequent effects monitoring and follow-up will consider, as appropriate, any meaningful impacts on property values that might be attributed to project activities. The GC will consult with the Province of Nova Scotia to ensure that related issues are thoroughly examined over the course of final Project design and implementation.

Recommendation 46—Contingency Planning for Heritage Resources

The Panel recommends that when STPA develops the contingency plan related to archaeology and heritage resources to be included in the Environmental Management Plan, this information should be shared with parties with an interest or a potential role to play upon discovery of items of significance. These include First Nations representatives, government, academic, and community interests.

GC Response: The GC agrees with the recommendation. The STPA will be required to develop a contingency plan for Heritage Resources as part of the Project Environmental Management Plan.

Recommendation 47—Federal-Provincial Regulatory Plan for the Tar Ponds and Coke Ovens Project

The Panel recommends that before the Project construction begins, the federal and provincial governments prepare a coordinated regulatory plan for the Project and commit to it by signing a MOA. The regulatory plan should address the following issues:

GC Response: GC agrees in principle with this recommendation and believes there is merit in federal environmental regulatory agencies working cooperatively with NSEL and other provincial regulatory bodies to develop a formal, comprehensive and coordinated federal-provincial effort in the enforcement of applicable regulations. As environmental effects monitoring is not a regulatory issue, the GC will not include this item in a regulatory plan. Rather, environmental effects monitoring will be addressed through the implementation of actions in response to recommendations 2 and 54.

Recommendation 48—Federal Expert Advice

The Panel recommends that PWGSC seek assistance from EC, HC, DFO, and NRCan to ensure that mitigation measures and a follow-up program are implemented.

GC Response: The GC agrees with this recommendation. PWGSC, through the EMC, will seek expert advice from other federal departments over the course of mitigation and follow up program design and implementation. Refer to the response to Recommendations 2 and 54.

Recommendation 49—Tying Funding to Technology Testing

The Panel recommends that the Project's funding partners implement a performance-based funding process that would see the dispersal of funds being tied to the:

GC Response: The GC agrees in principle with the recommendation and recognizes the importance of the implementation of the necessary financial control mechanisms in respect of the Project. In this regard, financial, risk management and governance frameworks that meet federal Treasury Board standards have been developed and implemented, pursuant to the MOA. The GC believes that these existing mechanisms are both appropriate and adequate.

Recommendation 50—Tar Ponds and Coke Ovens Remediation Maintenance and Monitoring Act

The Panel recommends that, before the completion of the construction phase at the Tar Ponds and Coke Ovens sites, the GNS enact legislation to address the long-term management, maintenance, monitoring and reporting required to ensure that the containment and water control and treatment systems on the remediated sites are maintained and monitored for as long as the contaminants remaining on site present a potential risk to people or the environment. The Act should include provisions for reporting and accountability. The Act should specify under what conditions maintenance and monitoring can cease.

GC Response: This recommendation pertains to an area of provincial responsibility.

Recommendation 51—Provincial and Federal Ownership of Remediated Lands

The Panel recommends that the capped portions of both the remediated Tar Ponds and Coke Ovens site remain in provincial or federal ownership until such time as the integrity of the cap is no longer a requirement as defined in Recommendation 10.

GC Response: The GC agrees with this recommendation. As detailed in the MOA, federal lands will be transferred to Nova Scotia by the end Project implementation or before. Related monitoring requirements will be implemented as part of the cost share agreement in relation to the Project for up to 25 years. Monitoring requirements beyond this period will be determined based upon interim monitoring results.

Recommendation 52—Approval of Monitoring Program

The Panel recommends that approval for the Project be contingent on STPA preparing an adequate monitoring program that addresses all issues raised during the environmental assessment process and has been reviewed and approved by all key federal and provincial departments.

GC Response: The GC agrees with this recommendation. The STPA will be required to prepare a monitoring program which will be processed through the mechanisms outlined in the responses to Recommendations 2, 47 and 48 and 54.

Recommendation 53—Tar Ponds and Coke Ovens Remediation Monitoring Oversight Board

The Panel recommends that PWGSC and NSEL, before construction begins, appoint an independent three-member monitoring oversight board with a formal mandate tied in to the Federal-Provincial Regulatory Plan. The monitoring oversight board would act in a formal technical review capacity and to ensure the general public that the Project is proceeding within its approved guidelines. The board would meet as often as required and no less than twice a year, and would report to PWGSC and NSEL. All reports from the board would be made public. At the completion of the construction phase the role of the board would be reevaluated and would thereafter be tied into the mandate of the Tar Ponds and Coke Ovens Remediation Maintenance and Monitoring Act. The Panel believes that public access to monitoring information is crucial. Wherever possible real time monitoring should be employed with the results posted on the web. However, the Panel recognizes that sometimes real time monitoring may involve a trade-off with respect to accuracy or sensitivity. This information should also be provided to the public.

GC Response: The GC agrees in principle with this recommendation and believes that the objective concerning independent oversight will be adequately met through the activities of the EMC and the Independent Engineer as established pursuant to the MOA. The GC also acknowledges the need and desire to inform members of the public and stakeholders of program results, as the Project proceeds, in an open and transparent process. The GC will work with its provincial partner to ensure that this occurs.

Recommendation 54—Reporting Monitoring Results

The Panel recommends that STPA be required by PWGSC and NSEL to develop a Monitoring Results Reporting Protocol as part of the Monitoring Program, indicating what results would be reported, how, and when, and indicating the rationale for each decision. While web posting is likely to play a central role, the Protocol should identify other methods of communication required to provide access to information as widely as possible. NSEL should periodically audit STPA's compliance with its own Reporting Protocol.

GC Response: The GC agrees with the recommendation. The STPA will be required to develop a Monitoring Results Reporting Protocol (MRRP) to communicate monitoring results to appropriate federal and provincial agencies, key stakeholders and the public. This MRRP will be incorporated in the environmental management plan.

Recommendation 55—Community Liaison Committee

The Panel recommends that PWGSC and NSEL require STPA to maintain its Community Liaison Committee and to modify the Committee's current terms of reference so that the appointment process is open and transparent, and that all key community interests are represented. The terms of reference should include a protocol to ensure that individual members will effectively relate to and report back to the people and organizations they represent, and should give the Community Liaison Committee (CLC) a mandate to conduct its own community outreach activities during the Project. STPA should provide the CLC with sufficient resources to conduct its business and to report back to the community. The CLC should use an open forum such as a community meeting or open house at least once a year, and should also meet at least bi-annually with the Monitoring Oversight Board.

GC Response: The GC agrees in principle with this recommendation. As appropriate, the GC will support NSTPW as it addresses response to the specific concerns outlined in this recommendation.

Document "Government of Canada's Response to the Environmental Assessment Report of the Joint Review Panel on the Sydney Tar Ponds and Coke Ovens Remediation Project" Navigation

Date modified: