DANFORD LAKE • The Coalition Against Danford Megadump is encouraging residents of the Municipality of Alleyn and Cawood to vote against proposed rezoning bylaws at council's next meeting.
The coalition held an information update meeting Sunday at Bethany Hall, bringing members up to speed on the past month's developments in the proposed landfill project.
The main point the coalition stressed was the importance of a bylaw vote that is scheduled after council's next meeting April 3 at Bethany Hall.
One bylaw in a package of new rezoning bylaws includes procedures to complete rezoning property where the proposed engineered landfill site will be built.
The bylaws were adopted in draft form by council at a special meeting held March 15.
"In November of 2004 council passed five bylaws, which had to get final approval three or four weeks ago," said coalition member Paul Dingledine.
After the meeting, a registry will be struck of residents eligible to vote for or against the bylaws.
"The rules are that if a certain percentage of the population oppose them, it throws them into a referendum," said coalition president Andre Carriere.
The referendum question will need to be a clear one with a yes or no answer.
"Anyone who fits the definition of people entitled to vote can vote," said Carriere of Municipality of Alleyn and Cawood residents. "If the majority of people plus one oppose the bylaws, then they don't get passed. It has the affect on the ability of the project to go ahead."
If residents turn down the bylaw package, they will lose other bylaws concerning planning, subdivision, construction and swimming pools.
"If we go to a referendum it is critical there is an overwhelming number against it," said Dingledine.
The next phase will be to show great opposition at provincially-funded BAPE hearings in regards to the proposed landfill project in the coming months..,
Currently, the coalition is collecting signatures for a petition against the proposed landfill, and so far have over 2,500 names signed. Council said it would not refuse a petition at its March 6 meeting.
"We think they said they would accept this petition," said Dingledine. "Council meetings are bizarre - only the mayor speaks - which would be unfathomable in Ottawa. And council sit like children at a dinner table. Council meetings are as good as any entertainment in Danford Lake."
The coalition hopes to hold more organized events in the future to spread its efforts, as well as invite mayors of neighbouring MRCs to discuss waste management together.
"We don't want a defective, old technology to carry us into the next 30 years," said Carriere. "Why not go with something more modern?"
Residents are still feeling a bit out of the loop on the proposed landfill project.
"It's been kept very hush-hush," said Danford Lake resident Bill Rogan. "There seem to be only a few key people who know."
He said the town needs more information before going ahead with the project.
"The majority of people who live here don't want it," said Rogan.
Some residents don't just oppose the project all together, but wish council would look into alternative options to waste management. "There's got to be a better way to go to get rid of garbage," said Brennan Walter of Messines. "A landfill is not the way to go." Walter owns bush land about three kilometres from the proposed site in Danford Lake. He says the landfill will eliminate the tranquility in the area. "It's going to affect the quality of the environment, encourage nuisance animals like rats and sea gulls and create more traffic on the highway," said Walters. "We already lose more deer to vehicles than to hunting."
A minority of Danford Lake residents have finally stood up to the coalition. New green signs calling on citizens to 'say yes for Danford's future' have been erected in the last week along Hwy. 301 downtown Danford.
"We welcome these green signs," said Dingledine.
The coalition says it has over 220 anti-dump signs posted with permission.