The efforts of two of Whitney Pier’s most committed community advocates are being honoured at the bike park in Open Hearth Park. The park has been named after Ron and Don Deleskie.
Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal Minister Geoff MacLellan joined the Deleskie family today, Nov. 22, in Sydney to officially unveil the sign.
“The Deleskie brothers never gave up their fight to have the tar ponds and coke ovens site remediated,” said Mr. MacLellan. “The newspaper picture of Don Deleskie in the coke ovens digging up the toxic waste generated international attention and was key to the start of the remediation work.
“It took a lot of courage and determination to do what the brothers did. We are very pleased to meet the community’s request to pay tribute to the brothers so they are remembered forever more.”
The Don and Ron Deleskie Bike Park includes a safety course, which features traffic conditions that cyclists may encounter on public roads including stop and yield signs. The bike safety course includes training in the safe and appropriate operation of bicycles on public streets. It is located in the north area of the Open Hearth Park near walking and biking trails, dog park, skating area and outdoor amphitheatre.
“Don and Ron would be proud that something has been accomplished from their hard work. They’ve always worked for the people and this is for the people,” said Elsie Deleskie, Don’s wife.
The Open Hearth Park was officially opened on Labour Day weekend. It sits on the former site of the Sydney tar ponds and coke ovens. It also features multi-use sports fields, artificial turf field, children’s playground and splash-pad area, and stationary exercise equipment.
The federal and provincial governments signed a $400 million cost-share agreement to clean up the tar ponds and coke ovens over a ten year period. The clean-up project was completed ahead of schedule and within budget.