Pontiac Environmental Protection annual meeting

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Sophie Demers

Pontiac Environmental Protection (PEP) held its annual general meeting September 27 in Shawville, and according to Deborah Powell, PEP president, there were no major changes.

Recent activity was outlined in the annual report. PEP has a seat as part of the “Nature Group” with the Outaouais Table for Integrated Resource and Public Land Management (TRGIRTO). It meets every two months; special sessions are also organized throughout the year to discuss issues concerning the region’s public forests including the climate crisis and potential consequences.

PEP member Cathy Fox organized an outing to the Ottawa Valley Waste and Recycling Centre this past summer to look at their compost facilities.

“It would be great if everyone took a critical look at the waste they produce, think about ways to reduce it and take action to do so!” said Powell as a message to residents. “Refuse, reduce, reuse, rot, re-purpose, repair, regift, refurbish, recycle…. There is no such thing as “away”! Everything ends up somewhere,” she added.

The organization was also represented at a CREDDO event last November, which aimed to identify priority actions for the region to contribute to achieving international targets of the Global Framework for Biodiversity. PEP is also represented on the MRC Pontiac’s Multi-Resource Committee.

The group will look into potentially modifying the roost structure at Dr. S.E. McDowell School in Shawville in order to improve the chances of it being used again by Chimney Swifts, a threatened bird species.

In terms of nuclear issues, PEP continues to support Algonquin Anishinaabe peoples’ efforts to oppose Chalk River’s proposed Near Surface Disposal Facility, an above-ground radioactive waste disposal facility planned to be located along the Ottawa River.

PEP was established in 1978 with the mission to promote the conservation, protection and restoration of the natural environment as well as the sustainable use of natural resources. The group has 16 members; many are involved in other organizations and activities such as Friends of Chats Falls, local Nature Conservancy of Canada stewardship activities, Mont O’Brien, and others. Five members are volunteer Riverwatchers for Ottawa Riverkeeper.

The organization’s board is made up of the president, Deborah Powell, vice-president, Paula Armstrong, Robert Wills as treasurer, Cathy Fox as secretary, and Barry Stemshorn as administrator.