MRC seeks public feedback on upcoming waste management contract

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Deborah Powell

CAMPBELL’S BAY – The MRC Pontiac held a public consultation on domestic waste management, June 19, at the RA Centre. More than 30 people attended the session, including six mayors and a number of municipal councillors.

Deborah Powell

CAMPBELL’S BAY – The MRC Pontiac held a public consultation on domestic waste management, June 19, at the RA Centre. More than 30 people attended the session, including six mayors and a number of municipal councillors.
The objective of the evening was to get public feedback for the mayors before they make a final decision on the matter this November. Until then, elected officials will hold working sessions in order to develop waste management scenarios. Some    public input has already been received through the online waste management survey, available since last year. The current contract for domestic waste collection in the MRC Pontiac expires March 31, 2015.
The meeting began as an information session as Kari Richardson, MRC Pontiac Environmental Coordinator, and Rémi Bertrand (photo), MRC Pontiac Director General, presented the objectives for the evening, informed participants of relevant provincial regulations and goals, and gave recent history of waste management in the Pontiac. Information regarding the current nature of our garbage, means of disposal and cost were also presented.
“Will we be consulted on the scenarios?” asked Clarendon resident Barry Stemshorn. “That has not been determined yet,” replied Rémi Betrand, who said the issue of waste management would be on the agenda for the Outaouais prefect’s meeting, July 3. The last attempt to find an Outaouais-wide solution to waste management, which began in 2008, ended in 2012 when no bids were received for tender as the whole region doesn’t     produce enough waste to make an incinerator a viable investment.
Tom Orr, whose company presently holds the    contract for domestic waste collection in the Pontiac, was also present at the meeting. “Ratepayers need to look at the real numbers and get the facts about the cost of waste management and where we’re at,” he emphasized. “Lachute is a state of the art facility and it’s not closing. Our waste tonnage is well below what the Quebec government is aiming for. If you’re trying to sell a local solution for waste disposal on the basis that it would create jobs, taxpayers need to realize they will be paying for those salaries.”
Orr explained at an   earlier waste management discussion held in Shawville last March that, while a local solution may be possible in the future, the technology doesn’t yet exist to deal with Pontiac waste locally in an economically viable manner       considering the relatively small amount of waste   produced.
The introduction to the MRC domestic waste survey states “In order to find a more ecological, financially viable solution, elected officials of the Pontiac MRC wish to consult the public before decision making.” The deadline for input has been extended to July 31.  The survey can be found on the MRC website or a copy can be obtained from the MRC office.