Asbestos Report Released

first_imgTo maintain the safety of residents’ homes, the Nova Scotia government has accepted expert environmental advice to establish a surveillance and asbestos management program for 100 public housing units in Sydney. The Department of Community Services released the Phase 2 report, prepared by Pinchin LeBlanc Environmental Limited, a Dartmouth firm with national affiliations, today, Dec. 20. Joan McKeough, director of the Cape Breton Island Housing Authority, informed residents on Tuesday by a letter that said, based on options identified by Pinchin LeBlanc Environmental Limited, the most appropriate method of controlling the asbestos in the Whitney Pier Terrace and Ashby Terrace is to leave it undisturbed and to undertake a surveillance and asbestos management program. If any major renovations are required, the insulation will be removed. “We want to reassure residents that their homes are safe. Sealing off the attics and carrying out the surveillance and management program will ensure the continued safety of residents’ homes,” Ms. McKeough said. An asbestos management program establishes a set of procedures and processes to be followed for the life cycle of a building and to ensure the safety of the tenants, contractors and staff. Air monitoring tests were conducted on all 100 units in the Whitney Pier and Ashby Terraces with only one asbestos fibre detected. Five repeat tests on the same unit detected no traces of asbestos fibres. “Research has indicated that it takes frequent exposure to asbestos at high levels over many years to cause asbestos-related illness,” said Dr. Ann Roberts, regional medical officer of health for the Department of Health Promotion and Protection. In his report, Ron LeBlanc, president of Pinchin LeBlanc Environmental Limited, said, “Our company considers surveillance with a management program to be the more appropriate option for the Whitney Pier and Ashby Terraces.” Mr. LeBlanc said, “The residents are as safe today with a good asbestos management plan, as they would be if the insulation was removed.” He also said that leaving vermiculite insulation with asbestos in place is the standard industry approach. Most jurisdictions in Canada have chosen similar options, as the enclosure and long term management plans are sufficient to meet tenant and worker safety, as well as being the least intrusive. Earlier this year, the Cape Breton Island Housing Authority discovered that the vermiculite attic insulation in the terraces in Whitney Pier and Ashby contained asbestos. The attics were sealed in the spring to prevent the insulation from entering the living space and to prevent access to the attics. Pinchin LeBlanc Environmental Limited was hired by the departments of Community Services and Transportation and Public Works to review initial work carried out in the spring by the Cape Breton Island Housing Authority and to identify options for long term management of the asbestos. The Phase 1 report, released in July, confirmed that the methods, procedures, and materials used for sealing all met or exceeded federal and provincial standards. The Phase 2 report can be found online at . With the implementation of the asbestos management program, the housing authority can safely carry out work to make empty units available for new tenants and help reduce the current waiting list for public housing. Ms. McKeough said the housing authority will consider requests from tenants who wish to move. Transfer decisions are made by the housing authority’s board of directors, based on availability. “The housing authority and our board of directors are committed to working with residents and appreciate the residents continued cooperation with the upcoming surveillance and management program,” Ms. McKeough said. “We will continue to work with our residents to take all the necessary steps to maintain the safety of these homes.”last_img read more