Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Oct. 2: Ask, just ask,.........

and you will receive...

Re: Request for Information - RTIPPA

An environmental investigation was completed in 2012 for the Highfield Square Mall property located on Main Street. Not all areas of Highfield Square were assessed as part of this investigation.

The assessment identified the following in some areas of the property:
  • Contaminated fill soils (heavy metals – arsenic and copper) above the applicable CCME1 commercial criteria;
  • Impacted groundwater (aluminium, arsenic, cadmium, iron, zinc and chloride) at concentrations in excess of the CCME freshwater aquatic life guidelines;
  • Impacted groundwater (zinc, cadmium and PCE2) in excess of the non-potable MOE3 criteria.

Additional assessment work is required to determine the extent of the PCE contamination in the groundwater.

1 CCME: Canadian Council of Minister of the Environment
2 PCE: tetrachloroethylene
3 MOE: Ontario Ministry of the Environment

Elaine Aucoin
Director of Environmental Planning and Management

This is the very speedy response I received to an official request for information that I sent to city hall. Earlier requests I had made (before the right to access to information from municipalities was a applied) got me nowhere. City councillors, especially for Ward Two, I found to be quite useless.  But an official request brought this very quick response - for which I thank Elaine Aucoin. Now - what does it mean?

I do not pretend to be an expert in pollutants. But, surely, a list of pollutants, all above acceptable levels, like the list above must be some concern for , among others, the following reasons.

1. The investigation has not even been completed yet. It could well be worse.
2. The city's option on buying this land expires within weeks. That's not a whole lot of time for further investigation, public information, and discussion.
3. As matters are, this does not sound like an ideal location for a civic centre and a park, however attractive architect drawings might look.
4. Removal of contaminated soil is a very lengthy and expensive process. Usually, it has to be trucked a thousand miles or more to a district willing to accept it - for a price. (Of course, I can see this city council simply dumping it in the river.)
Highfield Square is a lot of soil to dump - and you can't just go down a foot or so. We so far have no idea how deep  this will have to go.

Is this all being saved up for us as a surprise for AFTER we have bought the land?

For the Moncton Times and Transcript, why didn't you ask these obvious questions? People might get the impression you are deliberately keeping us in the dark.

For reporters at the TandT, remember that a reporter does not simply take dictation. A reporter asks questions. So pray for that day you can quit the Irving press and get a job with a real newspaper.

In related news,New Brunswick and its municipalities came under heavy criticism yesterday in a university report that rated them the worst of a rather bad lot in the Atlantic provinces when it came to speed and usefulness in delivering information. The province, St. John, Fredericton and Moncton all scored straight Fs in both categories.

Obviously, the Moncton Department of Environment Management and Planning stands well above the sordid lot that surrounds it. I had a full response from ms. Aucoin within two working days.

But there is a problem in this province. There's a culture of secrecy, even of fear - and it hangs over an even deeper culture of political dishonesty (to put it as gently as I can.)

By the way, you will not read about that report on New Brunswick's Fs in The Moncton Times and Transcript. I got it on the only reliable source of local news in this province - CBC radio. Get that Norbert? It was your hated CBC, not your wretched Times andTranscript, that carried a story of such obvious importance.

By the way, I notice no mention in today's paper (or any other day's) of the report on Shale gas and public health. This is the one long ago submitted to the provincial government by Dr. Cleary. It was supposed to be made public at the end of September, just in time for the general meeting of New Brunswick doctors.

But, surprise, surprise. It hasn't been released. Now it's too late for the meeting - and I have a strong suspicion it may never be released. After all, who in this government or in the shall gas industry or at the Times and Transcript gives a damn about public health?

Section A of the paper is the usual free ad (a big story about renovations to some bars - be still, my heart).  There are also two pictures (pp. 3 and 10) women walking in the rain with umbrellas. I have no idea what those pictures are supposed to tell us-and the captions give no hint.)

Newstoday has an interesting story about Canada's Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird giving hell to the UN for not stopping the bloodshed in Syria. I don't think I am ever so ashamed to be a Canadian as when I read the news about this man. He may be a hypocrite. He may be stupid. He may be both. But even he should know well the bloodshed in Syria is not being caused by only the Syrian government. It is being caused as well by the other side - the side we and the US and Saudi Arabia and the emirates who are supplying money, training, special ops, weapons and mercenaries to the rebels - of whom a high proportion are people the US itself declares to be terrorists.

What started all this? The west and the richer Arab states and Israel want Syria broken up into smaller and weaker states. They want chaos. That will give Israel a freer hand to attack Lebanon and get its fresh water. It will also open up Iran to easier attack. And, of course, the fact that Iran has oil has nothing to do with it. No. The west and Israel just want to overthrow the Iranian government so they can give it the blessing of democracy - the king of Saudi Arabia is a great fan of democracy.)

Actually, Iran is already a democracy. In fact, it's on its second democracy. The first one was overthrown by Britain, France and the US who replaced it with a dictatorship in the 1950s.

But the UN is in the way. That's why the west is busily destroying the UN, so it can replace it with more cooperative organizations like NATO and the Arab league.

And John Baird? Baird is a loud-mouthed hypocrite who can be trusted to kiss the ass he's told to kiss. Take a long look at the photo of him. This is what Canada has fallen to in the world.

In letters to the editor, a shining example of how long it can take some people to get the point. A writer complains that Crandall University is being criticized simply because it will not endorse homosexuality. 

In fact, nobody has asked Crandall to endorse anybody. The whole debate is about whether Crandall has a right to discriminate against people. Endorsing them has nothing to do with it. I don't endorse Baptists. But I don't discriminate against them. I have no objection to Baptists becoming teachers or lawyers or secretaries. Some of my best friends are Baptists. That's not the question. What we asking Baptists to do is 1.obey the law and 2. act like Christians.

The letter concludes with "God bless the folks at Crandall". Absolutely. They need all the blessing they can get to overcome their unfortunate ways. I notice, with approval, that gays do not make it a practice to discriminate against Baptists. I would ask, then, for Baptists to be as law-abiding and as Christian as gays.


1 comment:

  1. I *think* when we are talking "impacted groundwater" we are talking AT LEAST wholesale excavation and removal to the groundwater level. I have no idea how deep that is on the site, but to give you an idea, you dig until you hit water. Of course, they could just leave it..... making a good place for folks (especially children) to spend some "quality" time visiting (and cure any old age worries they may have).
    The T&T reporters live in fear of losing their jobs.... where else can they do absolutely nothing and get paid for it, long enough at that work and you are not fit to work anywhere else!