Central Avenue residents clam up over contamination

The Northwestern Health Unit yesterday issued a press release on the possible short and long-term effects of inhaling diesel fumes.
But if that’s worrying residents of Central Avenue here affected by the diesel oil ground contamination from the nearby CN Rail site, they aren’t talking to the media about it.
“We’ve been advised by people not to make any [statement to the press] at this point,” said Kathy Lawson, who lives at 813 Central Ave. “It’s probably not in our own best interest until we have sat down with CN on [July] 13.
“Apparently it’s because their claims people will be [there],” she continued.
“We can’t do anything at this point that might jeopardize a meeting with [CN],” she claimed. “They have a final report that they have to deliver to us and if we do anything to antagonize that . . . .”
But Lawson added she felt “extremely anxious,” like her life was on hold.
CN has agreed to meet with residents at some point during the week of July 13 but no date or time has been set.
It is thought the meeting will involve a discussion on how far the leak has spread, results of the most recent testing, and possible financial compensation.
Bill Limerick, with the Northwestern Health Unit in Kenora, received a 200-page report regarding the Central Avenue area last Tuesday that had been researched and compiled by KGS for CN.
While the report has not been made public, the health unit did issue a press release yesterday regarding the potential health problems associated with inhaling diesel fumes.
It listed short-term symptoms as nausea, eye irritation, increased blood pressure, headaches, light-headedness, loss of appetite, poor co-ordination, and difficulty concentrating.
Breathing diesel fumes over a long period of time might result in kidney damage and lowering the blood’s ability to clot, it added. People who are showing these symptoms are advised to see their family doctor.
In the meantime, Lawson said her family is healthy.
“We, in our family, have not had any illness in the last six or seven months other than maybe a touch of the ’flu,” she recalled. “I couldn’t honestly say that [diesel fumes] have caused us any problems.”
Limerick was not available for comment as of press time.