Industrial park still in trouble

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Fred Ryan


Fred Ryan

Despite assurances by the present owners of the old Smurfit-Stone paper mill site in Litchfield, new allegations of environmental non-compliance have reached the media. The Green Investment Group Inc. (GIGI) and its affiliates purchased the site, assuming responsibility for monitoring the lagoons and settlement ponds; this includes regular reports to Quebec’s Ministry of the Environment, on the condition of the ponds, plus any inflow or outflow (which would reach the adjoining Ottawa River). According to the Environment Ministry, these reports have not been made regularly, prompting an investigation of non-compliance—which could lead to criminal charges.
Both the American management of GIGI and their Pontiac vice president, former Lawrence Cannon attaché, Gerry Phillipe, deny any non-compliance. Phillipe told the Journal he has no knowledge of requests or investigations by the Ministry on this matter. The Ministry insists multiple notices of non-compliance have been sent to the company.
The Warden of MRC Pontiac, which has shepherded this project as Pontiac’s main industrial site, also told the Journal he is unaware of any such problem, although he noted a difficulty in contacting Phillipe, who lives and works from Aylmer.
Since the site is not industrially used, there should be no new
pollutants in the lagoons, but the sentiments of those ponds are suspected of containing toxic material which should, at best, be monitored for any over-flow or escape into the river.