Haunted by garbage

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It was the legendary Yogi Berra who once said “it’s like deja-vu all over again”. This best describes the current attempt by the MRC Pontiac to build a mega garbage incinerator.

Those of us who were around in the 1980’s, especially the residents of Bristol, will remember when a promoter from Toronto along with the owner of the Hilton Mine at that time, proposed to convert the open pit mine into a mega garbage dump. Of course, the promoters green-washed the garbage dump as a “state of the art sanitary landfill site”, similar to how a garbage incinerator is now re-branded as a “waste-to-energy facility”.

According to the promoters, the dump would solve our garbage issues, have little to no environmental impact, and bring great economic development and jobs to the Pontiac. Those who opposed it were called “radical beyond reason”. When residents of Norway Bay and cottagers expressed concern, promoters and supporters dismissed them as “outsiders” as though their opinions didn’t count.

The promoters went so far as to produce a glossy promotional report masked as an environmental impact assessment and economic plan. Nevertheless, the open pit mine didn’t end up being converted to a mega garbage dump. How come?

With scientific evidence showing the true potential environmental and economic impacts, along with strong opposition from citizens and Bristol’s mayor and council, the promoters packed up and left town.

So, does all of this sound familiar to what we are experiencing now?

Sadly, the residents of Litchfield are facing a similar struggle. This time, the MRC is imposing a proposed mega garbage incinerator on them. Litchfield Mayor Colleen Lariviere summed up the situation so well with the statement: “If we have 5,000 tons of garbage in the Pontiac and we get rid of 40% of that through composting, it doesn’t leave us a whole lot of garbage to deal with. Why don’t we look at that avenue?”

Although we may believe we live far enough away from a garbage incinerator and will not be affected, pollution knows no boundaries.

I encourage you to get involved and sign the petition (available by emailing friendsofthepontiac@gmail.com). Maybe next time, you’ll be facing a similar situation to the residents of Litchfield.

Remo Pasteris
BRISTOL