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Despite the request of the Coalition Against the Danford Megadump for a delay to consider alternative solutions for residual waste management, the MRC de Pontiac, in the presence of the media, voted on June 26, 2006 to add a site in the Municipality of Alleyn-and-Cawood as a possible location for an engineered landfill in the Pontiac.
While not gaining a delay, the Coalition was assured by the Warden and other mayors that the decision on an engineered landfill in Alleyn-and-Cawood was squarely in the hands of that Municipality and that the MRC could not and would not impose a decision on them. In fact if Alleyn-and-Cawood wished to host a megadump, it would now have to change its zoning bylaws to allow for this type of land use. The Municipality would then be required by law to have a public consultation, set up a registry, and if there were enough signatures against the zoning change, hold a referendum. The mayors assured the Coalition that there was no other way to proceed. Furthermore, in response to a hypothetical question from the floor as to what would happen if the referendum were held and a majority of the ratepayers in Alleyn-and-Cawood voted against it, the Warden replied that the project would “die right there” – the results of the referendum would be binding.
The Coalition considers this clarification progress, since it has long been fighting for a referendum to let the constituents in Alleyn-and-Cawood decide on an issue that would have implications for generations to come. The Warden for Pontiac also confirmed this in an interview with Radio-Canada.
However, he added: "A lot of people are against it for no reason but, we don't want it. I keep telling people to come up with plausible alternatives. You know, don't just tell me you don't want something, because we have no choice, we have to come up with something." We agree, and we have been proactive in searching out plausible alternatives.
For seven long months, citizens from the region have shown that they are against the engineered landfill project in Danford Lake proposed by LDC, owned by Cohen and Cohen, an Ontario demolition and recycling company, and by M. Denis Rouleau, of Gatineau. Over 3600 signatures are on petitions opposing the project. Further the Coalition has put together a concrete and well-documented case for abandoning this unwise project, and has laid the results of their research on landfill alternatives before the residents, the Warden and elected officials of Pontiac and also the rest of the Outaouais:
- at public meetings organised by the Coalition;
- at monthly meetings of the MRC Pontiac;
- by letters sent to the MRC of Pontiac;
- through articles in the regional press;
- through interviews on radio and television; and,
- through our Webster at www.savedanford.com.
Even more specifically, the Coalition made a presentation on May 23, 2006 to the mayors of the Pontiac regarding landfill alternatives (plasma gasification and modern incineration) which dramatically reduce the need for landfill and meet the most stringent environmental requirements. Following this meeting, several mayors from the Pontiac and from elsewhere in the Outaouais have expressed their interest in these new and far less risky methods of waste management and their desire to follow up on them.
The alternative solutions proposed are plausible, sensible, sustainable, financially viable and would bring higher employment opportunities to the area. They would also respect the values encouraged by Alleyn-and-Cawood in its declaration of 2003, namely, its more leisurely, tranquil way of life in a beautiful natural environment that is the envy of so many outsiders.
Michèle Borchers, Vice-President
Coalition Against the Danford Megadump