More contaminated soil found at Sackville flood project; clean-up costs rise to $500k

Excavation continues on flood project that includes a 40,000 cubic metre pond where an estimated 14-thousand tonnes of contaminated soil and other toxic materials have been found

Sackville Town Councillors were summoned to a special meeting at noon on Monday where they were asked to approve spending another $125,000 to dispose of 5,000 more tonnes of contaminated soil discovered last week during the excavation of a flood control pond south of St. James Street on land that was used as a railway yard for more than a century.

Last month, council  approved spending about $400,000 to dispose of 9,000 tonnes of soil laced with petroleum and aromatic hydrocarbons as well as heavy metals. At the time, officials described the contaminated area as a “pocket” on property the town bought from CN Rail on an “as is” basis.

Town engineer Dwayne Acton explained on Monday that an additional 5,000 tonnes of soil mixed with various materials including buried concrete, creosoted wood and a six inch terra cotta water main would now also have to be trucked to the Envirem Organics disposal site in Memramcook.

Both Acton and Pierre Plourde of Crandall Engineering — the company that is overseeing the flood control project — warned however, there’s no way of knowing for sure whether more contaminants will be discovered as excavation continues.

‘Just a pocket’

Coun. Allison Butcher

Councillor Allison Butcher sounded uncharacteristically angry as she questioned the original use of the word “pocket” to describe the contaminated area that had not been discovered during drilling for soil testing.

“I know people had asked before why didn’t we find these [contaminated soils] when we were doing the bore holes and I was thinking, well, it’s just a pocket,” Butcher said. “Well, this is a freakin’ big pocket,” she added, her voice rising in apparent frustration.

“When does it become not just the town needing to pay for this bump in our road,” she said, “and when does Crandall chip in or when do we stop needing to keep paying and paying and paying?”

Butcher suggested that Crandall should have foreseen the contamination when it originally assessed the project and should now share at least some of the clean-up costs.

Crandall engineer Pierre Plourde responded that in civil engineering projects, contractors such as Birch Hill Construction, are paid for every tonne of soil they remove and truck away based on amounts that are sometimes higher and sometimes lower than originally estimated.

He explained that some aspects of the project, such as installing pipes under the CN tracks, cost much less than expected.

“It goes both ways,” Plourde said. “We’re managing the contract as a whole, but when you look at it, some items will be higher, some items will be lower…It’s a unit bid contract as opposed to a lump sum contract.”

‘Money pit’

Coun. Shawn Mesheau

Councillor Shawn Mesheau  said he agreed with Butcher that Crandall Engineering should take some responsibility for the project’s rising costs.

“This is becoming a money pit,” he said. “CN is known not for taking care of its properties and as we dig we find more and I’m just wondering what type of liability that Crandall has here.”

Mesheau said that even though the town is paying only 25% of the costs, it’s still taxpayers who are footing the bill and there’s no guarantee that more contamination won’t be found.

“The fact is is that the due diligence wasn’t done on this piece of property to ensure that we aren’t up against this again,” he said. “There’s a lot of balls that have [been] dropped here and I’m sorry, but as a councillor sitting here and going to be requested to spend another $125,000 of taxpayers’ money and we’re still not sure? That concerns me.”

Mayor defends ‘due diligence’

Mayor John Higham

Mayor John Higham said that until the contaminated soil was discovered, the town had no indication that it might be on the excavation site.

He noted that the province had not flagged it on its listing of potentially contaminated land.

“You’ll recall that in the parcels [of land] that we brought together, there was only one plot that had a flag of a potential, probable contamination and we chose not to purchase that site,” Higham said. “CN was not flagged as a probable contamination at that [provincial] level.”

The mayor added that bore hole testing conducted by independent engineers showed no contamination and the full environmental impact assessment conducted by the province did not flag contaminated soil as a potential problem.

“If there’s a question about due diligence, I think it’s important that the community understands just how much has gone into that,” Higham said, “and that’s how we got here, [there] was no evidence whatsoever through all of those steps and all of those independent looks.”

CN’s the ‘villain’

Deputy Mayor Ron Aiken

Deputy Mayor Ron Aiken said he was critical of Crandall when the flood control project had to be redesigned because bids for the original project came in at double the costs that had been projected.

But he suggested that having spent part of the weekend digging for a buried septic tank on his own lawn, he realizes it would take time to find and remove contaminated soil.

“The real villain here is the CN Rail who indiscriminately buried large tonnes of toxic junk and now we’re expected to clean it up,” Aiken said. “I realize going after CN is a completely fruitless exercise because they have more lawyers than we do.”

Aiken agreed with other councillors, including Michael Tower, who said that in spite of the costs, the town was doing the right thing by removing the contaminated soil.

4-2 decision

In the end, the deputy mayor seconded Councillor Tower’s motion to allocate $125,000 to dispose of the contaminated soil.

Councillors Andrew Black and Joyce O’Neil also voted for the motion, while Councillors Butcher and Mesheau voted against.

Councillors Bill Evans and Bruce Phinney could not attend Monday’s noonday meeting.

To read the town’s latest update on the contaminated soil, click here.

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20 Responses to More contaminated soil found at Sackville flood project; clean-up costs rise to $500k

  1. Louis says:

    Aiken said. “I realize going after CN is a completely fruitless exercise because they have more lawyers than we do.”

    Really? That’s how it works? That seems awfully pragmatic, all of a sudden.

    Perhaps Councillor Aiken would care to share how much the Town spent on lawyers going after me? *That* expense sure didn’t seem to bother them. That might put things into perspective in terms of the Town’s willingness to spend money on lawyers.

    This problem would actually seem like a USEFUL place to spend money on lawyers. Or perhaps what is really being said is that CN is better “plugged in” to the corridors of power known as the NB legal system than the Town is (and in turn, the Town better plugged in than a foreigner such as myself), hence the hopelessness…

    Still, one would like to know…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Rima Azar says:

    Although finding contaminated soil is not an exact science, considering the possibility of contamination at the moment of the initial land purchasing transaction would be the least of the pieces of public wisdom.

    Our town seems to think that we are stupid…Maybe we are collectively stupidly apathetic. Who knows? However, the good news here is that some of us do see the emperor’s nakedness…Some of us have been seeing it for a while now.

    This nude scene is far from being sexy.

    When is enough enough?

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Percy Best says:

    I’ll just comment on one small section of the above for now because there is way to much to put in one reply.

    “Mayor John Higham said that until the contaminated soil was discovered the Town had no indication that it might be on the excavation site.”

    During the run up to the final tender process for Phase II, that now incorporated the old ICR/CNR Freight Shed area, the Town Manager in Charge seemed to do everything he could do to restrict any Sackville citizen from offering input or judgement of what would, or could, be a potential problem. A public consultation meeting that was promised, did NOT happen. Of course the ‘man in charge’ had no indication of contamination because citizen input was effectively muzzled seemingly by the ‘man in charge’.

    Practically every long term Sackville Citizen over 60 years of age is fully aware of the historical part that this magic triangle provided in the growth of our town. And if we only still had our Heritage Board then I am sure they would have done their best to see that the track beds and the freight yard would have been left intact for future use once they were flood free. This has been done in a multitude of towns and cities. But sadly that group, after infiltration, was disbanded by (Yup, you guessed it).

    The land they are digging out now is where the frequently heavily greased turntable sat on a huge bed of very long railway ties. This grease dripping contraption was able to rotate the steam locomotives around 180 degrees (Lazy Susan style) so they could pull their load of RR cars back towards Halifax, or back towards the West, or even back to Cape Tormentine.

    The land they are digging up today is where the huge mounds of coal were kept to fire the engines, as well all the lubricant to keep those old engines and railcar wheels turning smoothly. I remember well the first diesel engine locomotive coming into the Sackville Station, and saying to my Mom — “Wow Mom, where is the huge plume of black smoke?”

    And as to my knowledge our NB Provincial Study did not flag Federal Land (Railway Corridor Land) as to whether it was either polluted or contaminated. They of course stayed away from those sections and left it up to the Federal Government to deal with.

    This whole Lorne Street Phase II project really needs a good looking at. Way too many unanswered questions. A totally independent inquiry is needed, and needed now! So Town Council, if you want answers, a short inquiry is the way to get them. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Why are the council and mayor letting the ‘technocrats’, pond diggers, and climate fear specialists run their town and policy and decision making .. simple question happens to have a complicated answer: Read Patrick Wood’s books, especially “Technocracy Rising” .. and before Les Hicks rags on me yet again about being a lousy reporter in the region just know this: people are not stupid Les and they know when their government is not acting on their own best interests… Patrick now does a podcast show on youtube which you’ll find helpful .. and informative… he’s been researching the work of globalists for decades and the problem is the OPPRESSIVE top down global governance the UN pushes “Agenda 2030” SDGs sustainable development goals .. which includes making fools of themselves about co2 being a pollutant.. its not ..as a way to tax us more than they already do .. its a scam .. their interference into our local governments is difficult to ignore at this point and the pressure they exert on all our staff and politicians.. what I called “the green cabbal” when recently speaking with Shawn Mesheau and Bruce Phinney.. its why I would not run for any office at this point.. it is fully corrupted by this sustainable development UN Agenda 2030 global governance… Patrick Wood’s website: http://technocracy.news .. I have the book if you want to borrow it Bruce… thanks again for all your great efforts around here.

    Like

    • Rima Azar says:

      One must look toward Europe to see your point Sally. Europeans seem to be telling us something in their elections: They feel totally left behind by the Government of Technocrats in Belgium deciding of their fate in their local communities (“Madame” Denise Bombardier commented on this phenomenon as the effect of streamroller or “rouleau compresseur”). And then we wonder why we have “populist” movements and why the Middle Class feels neglected? Why Trump has been elected in the USA? And why last week I met a Black Trump supporter from the Bronx, New York? Food for thought, all this.

      Like

    • Les Hicks says:

      Hi there. Thanks for passing on the information about Patrick Wood and his books. It’s interesting to note that he also maintains an active teaching ministry at ‘His Church’ in Tempe, Arizona, and founded RevelationGate Ministries. On their website, under ‘Statement of Beliefs’, they write “We believe in the resurrection of both the saved and the lost: they that are saved unto the resurrection of life in Heaven, and they that are lost unto the resurrection of damnation and eternal life in Hell. We await the pre-tribulation rapture of the church, and we believe that the second coming of Christ with His saints to rule on earth will be personal, pre-millennial, and visible. (Taking the Bible literally in what it declares for the end times.)”

      I can only assume from this that Mr Wood also believes that the earth is only 6,000 years old (taking the bible literally). I suppose anyone who is looking forward to the end of the earth as much as he is would try to discredit the peer reviewed climate scientists (you do understand how scientific publishing works?) who are warning that if we don’t do something immediately to curb human caused global warming we will indeed reach the end of the world (for our species anyway). Try as I might, I can’t take the writings of anyone with Mr Wood’s beliefs seriously.

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  5. Les Hicks says:

    Can someone please explain to me why the Town of Sackville should have to go through the legal system in an attempt to force the corporation responsible for the contaminated soil, CN, to pay for the clean-up of the mess that they caused in the first place? What is the purpose of the Provincial and Federal Governments’ Departments of Environment legislation if it’s not to protect the environment from pollution like this and to prosecute the ‘polluting parties’ and force them to pay for the clean-up of the pollution that they have caused. It is outrageous that in the 21st century, with all of the knowledge our society has gained through years of research about the importance, and the need, for environmental protection, our governments are not willing to stand up to large corporations like CN. Should our provincial MLA’s and federal MP’s not be taken to task about why our governments are failing in their responsibilities to the taxpayers of our province and country?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kelly Alder says:

      Government helping?I emailed our new Mla about drastic drops in our business and what will likely be further decline with the policies she agrees with( carbon tax, ect) and her response to me as a struggling business owner was, “ Do you have any ideas as to what we need to push for to replace the lost economy that these policies are eliminating”. I was so taken back that she expected me to come up with solutions to fix things that she is pushing for! So to answer your questions if you think the local elected officials will do anything, I highly doubt it. They answer to the bureaucrats , not the other way around.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Rima Azar says:

      Good point Les! Where is our Green MLA Megan Mitton? Can she help us?

      Perhaps she is still too busy pushing for climate emergency? How about pushing for some cleaning emergency in our town–both soil and public funds management?

      This brings me to another question about the environment. She did an excellent job advocating for citizens concerned by the quarry. What happened to this story in the end? I lost track.

      Thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Kelly Alder says:

        I have heard that the company (Bowsers) I still going forward with that quarry. They have all the permits they need and are still planning on proceeding with that project. I heard this directly from one of their employees. So if they have all the permits, from gov’t, I highly doubt she will ever be able to do anything about it. Keep in mind that our provincial riding will see two government run things closing in this riding. I don’t think it is by accident that this happened and unless she is able to prove that the quarry will in fact destroy the environment in that area I doubt anything will stop the company from achieving their goal of using that land for such a endeavor.

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  6. Wrayton says:

    Sackville’s railway dates back to the Inter Colonial railway in the 1860’s and was owned and run by the federal government as a crown corporation up until CN was privatized in 1995. Most of the contamination at the site occurred under the watch of the federal government.

    The railway in Sackville has paid a lot of taxes and employed a lot of people over the years and is one of the reasons the town even exists. Finding contamination as a relic of the past is unfortunate but once found it must be dealt with. 500k may seem like a lot but it pales compared to the huge amount of money and progress the railroad has brought to the town over the last 150 years.

    It’s unrealistic to blame this on the Town or Crandall Engineering. It’s best to just clean the mess up and move forward, making sure we don’t let contamination like this happen in the future.

    Like

    • Louis says:

      I don’t see why Crandall would be to blame, but I completely blame the Town for not looking for the obvious before committing to this piece of land.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Les Hicks says:

      Hi Wrayton,

      Do you have any information regarding the legal responsibilities of a private corporation for actions taken before that corporation was privatized? I haven’t been able to find anything on it myself but it would be interesting to know. It is very generous of you to say forgive and forget – that would be fine if it was just your $500,000 paying for the clean-up instead of the taxpayers as a whole. In relation to your statement that it is unrealistic to blame this on the town, here is some information from the Legalline.ca website regarding federal and provincial regulations concerning clean-up of environmental contamination :

      “We provide easy-to-understand legal answers written in plain language. Legal Line is a Federal not-for-profit organization providing access to Canadian laws since 1993. Educating the public about the law is a necessary step in advancing Access to Justice.

      One of the most basic rules of environmental law is that contamination which threatens the environment or people’s health must be cleaned up. Environmental laws have rules about who is responsible for the clean-up and who will typically pay for it. The government has broad powers to order a person or company who owns or controls a contaminant to cleanup any environmental damage. It can also order the current owner or a previous owner of the property to do the clean-up.

      Pollution caused by a previous owner of a property : If a previous owner contaminated a property, then either the current property owner or the polluter can be held responsible for the clean-up. If the person who caused the contamination cannot be found or cannot pay for the clean-up, then the current owner will have to pay. The current property owner can then try to recover the cost by suing the original polluter for the cost of the clean-up. Property owners have a legal obligation to inform people who buy their property that it is contaminated. If they do not inform the buyer, they could be sued by the buyer for the cost of the clean-up and any other financial losses.

      Buying property that could have environmental problems : The general rule regarding the purchase of any property is “buyer beware.” When you purchase a property, you should investigate what the land was previously used for to determine if it may be polluted or contaminated. In addition to protecting your own health and ability to use the property, you could also be held responsible for any environmental problems that arise in the future. When you are considering buying a property, discuss all environmental concerns with your lawyer to ensure you are protected. A lawyer can also help you recover the cost of cleaning up contamination on your property that was caused by someone else.”

      In the publication ‘Compliance and Enforcement Policy (NB Department of Environment)’, under Cost Recovery, it states that ” “In keeping with the “polluter pays principle” and in the interests of fairness, when public funds are expended to achieve compliance with environmental law (e.g. to expedite an emergency clean-up), the Department is empowered to take action to recover those costs from the responsible party.
      In many cases this can be accomplished using cost recovery powers granted to the Minister under the Province’s environmental legislation, and, in some instances, may require legal action through the courts.”” This seems to state very clearly that the party that created the pollution is deemed by the Department of Environment to be responsible for the clean-up and that the Department itself can force the responsible party to pay.

      So it seems that there are actually three parties responsible for this latest fiasco – CN for failing to fulfill it’s legal obligation to inform the buyer of the contamination, the Town of Sackville administration for a blatant lack of due diligence in not thoroughly investigating the possibility of contamination and obtaining legal advice before purchasing an industrial property, and the New Brunswick Department of Environment for failure to enforce their own regulations. All in all, it would be a comedy of errors if it wasn’t the taxpayers who are paying for these mistakes.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Wrayton says:

        The point I am making is that the contamination was caused by a tax payer owned crown corporation. So if you sue back all the way to the original polluter you would have the taxpayer suing itself because it was the Canadian government who caused the polution. A useless endeavour. Just clean it up!

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    • Les Hicks says:

      Hi again Wrayton, I did understand your point about CN having been a crown corporation until 1995, and it is a good one, but my query was whether the privatized CN corporation was deemed to be responsible for the acts of the crown corporation before privatization. It would be really interesting to see what type of arrangement was made in the transaction privatizing the corporation. Still haven’t been able to find any info on that regarding continuing responsibilities for previous events, but it seems that it is still the same company, with the same name, except it is now a publicly traded company.

      Also, it’s interesting to note that, according to a 2004 article in the following source : https://www.policyalternatives.ca/publications/commentary/cns-track-record, “When CN was privatized in 1995 the federal government provided $900 million in relief for debt that was incurred to pay for much-needed improvements, such as double-tracking to improve traffic flow. CN recently pulled up sections of this double-track for use in its US rail operations. The company is also having difficulties with safety, and much of its highly touted profitability comes from ‘savings’ made at the expense of infrastructure maintenance. Today’s CN is a monopolistic corporation whose first priority is not the interests and safety of Canadians (over 70% of the company is American-owned).” The safety issue of course is referring to all of the derailments that occurred due to lack of proper maintenance of the tracks.

      Also, in an article from the Frontier Centre for Public Policy : https://fcpp.org/2000/09/01/deregulation-privatization-and-the-rebirth-of-the-cnr/, regarding conditions of the deal privatizing CN, it states that “To ensure the new company did not sink under the weight of its debt, the federal government bought back much of its non-railroad holdings, including real estate, manufacturing companies and shopping centres.”

      In a Canadian Encyclopedia article from 2003 (originally an article in Maclean’s magazine in 1998): https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/cn-cuts-3000-more-jobs, it is noted that “A Crown corporation until 1995, CN has undergone a radical transformation in recent years. In its drive for efficiency, CN – with its latest cuts – has sliced its workforce almost in half since 1992, from 33,341 to 18,000. Along the way its stock has become a top performer, shooting up from $27 at its initial public offering in 1995 to a high of $96 earlier this year.”

      So it does seem that the Federal Government compensated CN quite generously when it was privatized, and the corporation has since become mainly American owned, with a poor safety record due to cost cutting, and considerable profits made from both slashing its workforce and maintenance cost-cutting. There is also, of course, the issue of CN not fullfilling its legal obligation to notify a potential purchaser of its property of possible contamination on site.

      I personally don’t think the Canadian taxpayer owes CN anything now, and considering it is still the same company, just privatized, it should be held accountable for problems dating before the privatization took place. But I’m not a lawyer, I’m just a p.o.’d taxpayer.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Rima Azar says:

    Thanks Mr. Kelly Alder for the information about the quarry (my question).

    I also read with interest the point of view of Wrayton and the spicy exchange between Sally and Mr. Les Hicks.

    If I may, and to jump into the *conversation* of comments, taking a distance from this article’s important story, I hope I can share a letter written by Dr. Marc Simard (“La Presse”; May 2nd, 2019) as a response to Greta Thurnberg. I used Google translate (French original link below).

    http://plus.lapresse.ca/screens/11049a20-a257-488e-a309-b19bc2784c91__7C___0.html

    Before sharing this letter, I feel like adding a personal reflection on the world’s reactions to the climate problem, focusing on children and on my worries about the non-scientific approach to matters (if Mr. Wark accepts my post):

    I value, and even admire, people’s aspirations for a better planet and climate. However, I am sad to see generations of youth around the world who are being “used” in the name of the climate, starting from Greta T. to all the children/youth, including ours in Canada and NB.

    Regardless of the climate and the duty to take care of our planet, I find that this movement resembles totalitarian ideologies, which may or may not be religious. When not religious, they may look like those trendy movements in the Soviet era. Whichever their goal or form, these movements are all based on the following simple idea: Scared people are easier to control.

    For me, scaring children like that has a name. It is called youth instrumentalization. It is a form of political “(a)buse”. Youth are already vulnerable, searching for their own places in the world. As adults, we have a responsibility to say enough is enough. The climate is changing, but maybe it is time for Greta T. and the kids of the world to go back to school. We need their still developing educated brains to innovate solutions and they probably need their own sanity.

    In my opinion, “manipulating” youth is worse than man-made climate change. It can leave emotional scars, at least in some, that can last a life-time (way beyond the climate “apocalypse”). I have seen comparable phenomena in a past life of 15 years of civil war…

    In addition, it is neither wise nor scientific when we stop questioning science, both as knowledge producers and consumers (its methods, its prediction models, its uncertainties, especially in studying complex phenomena like the climate). For me, this phenomenon has deviated from the intelligent environmentalism. This non-scientific approach to such a serious issue worries me, both as a scientist and as a citizen of our planet. Since when we cannot question a so-called consensus (e.g., Why 1.5 degrees? Why not more or why not less? How did we get to this statistic? Why this method and not another? Why can’t we question science anymore without being accused of being climate science skeptical or… deniers.)

    Plus, even if I care about the environment, I say that not all ideas called “green” are necessarily good or sexy just because they are green (even if green is the growing fashion and… even if I am naturally biased by the dark green colour of my mom’s eyes 😊): One must and should remain critical, especially with one’s preferred colour. Why don’t we think of the possible consequences of our endorsed ideas?

    In trying to explain how I see the difference between “intelligent” environmentalism and radical (or non-rational) environmentalism, I will allow myself to draw a parallel with the following religion-related examples: Islam (good) and Islamism (problematic because it is an authoritarian political ideology that seeks to impose radical Islam on society; its first victims are moderate Muslims who are the vast majority) or between Judaism (good) and the practices of ultra-Orthodox Jews (problematic as their radical views are imposed on secular society as in Israel) or between Christianity (good) and its historic excesses (problematic when violence replaced love as in the Crusades and in past European religious conflicts, etc.). Basically, what I mean to say is that too much of a good thing (Islam, Judaism, Christianity, Environmentalism, etc.) can easily yield bad outcomes, when pushed to the extreme. History teaches us that this can happen when people do not allow themselves to question their beliefs or practices. Simply put, everyone thinks they have “the Truth” and no one tolerates the other’s perspectives.

    In a related vein, it is not because an idea or call for action of some sort has the word “global” in front of it that it is necessarily in our best interests, as a community, society or as a country (even if “green” and “global” are going hand in hand). Some ideas can be naive or even silly. Yet I would not be that surprised if other apparently noble ideas could be orchestrated, or maybe funded, by unknown entities to de-stabilize countries in order to favour other economies. We can easily fall into a trap, despite our noble intentions. Of course, yet some other green and/or global ideas can be realistically clever (if so, I would be all for them).

    In sum, regardless of the climate, bad, silly, or corrupt ideas may be blue, red, orange, green, white, etc. The colour is irrelevant here. It is their consequences that can last for years to come.

    I will stop here… and here is Dr. Simard’s letter:

    CLIMATE Who will want to return to the pre-industrial era?

    In response to the speech of the young climate activist Greta Thunberg delivered to the British deputies last week
    Marc Simard
    Historian

    Greta, you will allow me to tu tu tu in the Scandinavian way.

    First, you will allow me to tell you that I am not comfortable with this way that you have to present yourself as the spokesman for future generations, let alone the accusation that you make to the previous generations to be responsible for global warming and the cataclysm you are announcing.

    It lacks a little humility as well as humanity towards the billions of human beings who have preceded you. I also find your statement that you are working to “wake up adults” a bit pretentious.

    The problem of greenhouse gases and its main consequence, global warming, certainly appeared with the industrial era (about two centuries), but it was not really revealed to the population that there are about thirty years with the Rio Summit (1992). One can certainly understand that you are fully impregnated with this speech, you who have lived all your life inside this paradigm. But I do not share your point of view that “the future has been sold”, let alone that we have “lied to you”.

    For 30 years, hundreds of millions of individuals and businesses have been working to improve the situation.

    What happened, simply, is that the humans of the generations that preceded you have lived their best, perhaps irresponsibly at times, it is true, but without deserving of a looting trial. of Mother Earth. In fact, it is a great cynicism to tell the people who, even less than a century ago were starving, that they must start tightening their belts now that they have approached the buffet, as if consumption was acceptable only when it was reserved for elites.

    As in the Middle Ages

    In fact, your fight is very similar to that of the penitents of the Middle Ages who, in the presence of a cataclysm like the plague, made processions where they incited the people to repent and improve their behavior, as if these moralizing admonitions had some chance to ward off evil. Worse, I can see behind you and your comrades Savonarola and his bonfire vanities. Reading your speech also reveals one of the three flaws that Kundera reproached youth, his heavy “seriousness” that oozes from all your words.

    Moreover, your exhortation is unfortunately too late to prevent global warming from producing some of its deleterious effects already in motion.

    To stop producing greenhouse gases by 2030 is simply impossible unless we put in place a green dictatorship all over the planet, which would take us from Charybdis to Scylla.

    There is also, in your pharmacopoeia, an insidious call to economic decline (“to go back to the wild”) that never ceases to amaze. The decline that you and your comrades are calling for would lead to a widespread impoverishment followed by a decline in services and a decline in life expectancy. If the economy shrank, how would we maintain hospital services, schools and public services such as information and transportation, for example?

    What you offer to the inhabitants of the Earth is a significant reduction in their quality of life to avoid a cataclysm that is certainly expected by scientists, but is not even certain. Who would want to return to the pre-industrial era, to general manual labor, to the shrinking of space, to omnipresent and hasty death because “awake” young people accuse them of immorality and shout at the Apocalypse?”

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  8. Percy Best says:

    Still writing on the Mayor’s input!

    I checked out the list of possible contaminated sites in NB that the Mayor referred to and of the 988 listings there is only one from Sackville and that one item states that the Richibucto RCMP station (Item #00022738) in Sackville was possibly contaminated. Good to know that we have another police force, other than the Sackville Detachment looking after us. LOL Might be a long ETA though when one requests emergency service.

    The fact is that such sites as our heavily contaminated ex Town Garbage Dump site at the end of Landing Road, or the ground below the old Enterprise Foundry or the Fawcett Foundry did not make the list certainly makes one wonder as to the validity of it.

    The Mayor stated that “there was only one plot of possible contamination and we choose not to purchase that site.” I have no idea where that response came from but we will find out as I am sure the landowner would need to know as well. It certainly was NOT on that list.

    The Mayor stated that the three series of boreholes that were done showed no sign of contamination. Well, the three times that Stantec arrived in Town and drilled multiple boreholes, were Dec, 2017, Jan 2018 and on Feb 2018. They certainly did a lot of boreholes all the way out to the Tantramar River but there is only one time that they actually drilled a borehole (BH-303) on what was CN property. Yes they only drilled one lonely hole on the contaminated property and even that was very near Crescent Street and far away from the actually Freight Yard. BH-303 location (as well as all the others) is shown on the map that was part of the Crandall Engineering Tender Package that I purchased. The reason for so many other holes was to see what types of layered geological material was below. In their very extensive report nothing is mention about looking for the possibility of any contaminates.

    Again, a full and unbiased investigation is needed!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Rima Azar says:

      Percy, thank you for your two GREAT detailed comments. Perhaps even more will follow?

      For me, this story is an insult to the memory of people who have lived here long enough to know how things have worked, and thus, to fully grasp what does not make any sense to them and… even to the rest of us (less knowledgeable yet highly concerned).

      I totally agree with your call for a comprehensive and independent investigation. I just hope that this time it will be a truly independent investigation, that is not like the Lordon report!

      Like

    • Louis says:

      Percy – the kind of research and information gathering which you did and presented here seems to me to be exactly the kind of thing that was NOT done by the Town. You’d think that they would, but surely they didn’t, else they wouldn’t have gotten into this mess.

      It’s apparent from what you’ve gathered that the data on contamination is, to put it mildly, “incomplete”.

      I’d very much like to know where the greenshirts on Council (and elsewhere in this town) are on this issue, which actually matters to the local environment? Can we have a “Contamination Strike” like the “Climate Strike”? Cute kids encouraged to skip school by their teachers and marching up and down with pre-prepared signs? Councillors giving impassioned speeches? Maybe a former Councillor taking up, in the Legislature, the issue of the difficulty in getting the likes of CN to pay up for their contamination? (Imagine, for example, if the province were to back efforts to make the likes of CN pay, either by putting their *own* lawyers directly on it, or helping to fund any necessary litigation? Just the mere *threat* of it would probably change the balance of power generally and municipalities province-wide would be much better equipped to negotiate solutions in like cases, as a result. I know that it’s boring stuff, compared to what they do now, but it might actually do something useful for the community.)

      The basic problem, I’m afraid, is that using legislative platforms to grandstand is a lot easier – and of greater personal benefit – than using them to actually govern.

      Hopefully the voters will remember this at election time.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Norm cole says:

    I find it hard to understand why tax payers are paying to clean up contaminated soil that with out a doubt was caused by cnr,wether they suckered the town into the purchase or not cn is absolutely responsible for the contamination.No if ands or buts totally responsible to clean up thier mess. Maybe we need better lawyers because i dont feel that if this happened anywhere else it would not be addressed the same way anywhere in Canada 🇨🇦.im just saying

    Liked by 2 people

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