Campus News

Published by Communications and Public Affairs (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338

News Release

April 20, 2004

Dean to co-chair Ontario’s ‘Pollution Action Team’

A University of Guelph professor and dean will co-chair a new provincial unit that will examine how to prevent spills and dangerous air emissions.

Isobel Heathcote, dean of graduate studies, was appointed to the seven-member Industrial Pollution Action Team by Environment Minister Leona Dombrowsky. The group has been charged with developing recommendations for preventive measures to help protect the St. Clair River and Ontario’s air and drinking water.

“It’s an honour to be asked to co-chair the team,” said Heathcote, who holds a joint faculty appointment in the Faculty of Environmental Sciences and School of Engineering. “I look forward to working with the technical experts, industry and the communities to find better ways to protect important water resources.”

A U of G faculty member since 1991, she is currently Canadian co-chair of the Science Advisory Board of the International Joint Commission. From 1979 to 1985, Heathcote held a number of positions in the Water Resources Branch of the Ministry of the Environment. She is a graduate of the University of Toronto and Yale University.

The St. Clair River has been the scene of a rash of toxic industrial spills in the last nine months, including three last month that forced the closure of water intakes. “The action team is a good opportunity for industry to come forward and be part of the solution to this serious problem,” Dombrowsky says.

Other members of the team are: Co-chair Maria Van Bommel, the Liberal member for the riding of Lambton-Kent-Middlesex; James Brophy, an occupational health and safety expert; Chief Donna Day, Walpole Island First Nation; Darren Henry, band council member and chair of the environmental committee, Aamjiwnaang First Nation; C.Q. Jia, a professor in the School of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry at the University of Toronto; and Bela Trebics of the Wallaceburg Advisory Team for a Cleaner Habitat.

The team will report back to the minister with recommended measures in June.

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, (519) 824-4120, Ext. 53338 or Rachelle Cooper, (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982.

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