Coalition contre le mégadépotoir de Danford
Coalition Against Danford Mega-dump
C. P. 911, Danford Lake (Québec) J0X 1P0
Danford Lake, 14 August 2006
Mme Nathalie Normandeau,
ministre des Affaires municipales
Aile Chauveau, 4e étage
10, rue Pierre-Olivier-Chauveau
Subject: Third refusal of a referendum by the Mayor of Alleyn-et-Cawood, Regional County Municipality of Pontiac, Outaouais Region
Once again, the Mayor of Alleyn-and-Cawood has refused his citizens the right to participate in a referendum on the regional landfill project in their municipality.
As stated in our letter of 16 May 2006, nearly 300 people attended the Municipality of Alleyn-and Cawood's public consultation meeting held on April 3, 2006 regarding modifications to municipal bylaws. At that meeting, participants were informed by the urban planner, in the presence of Municipal Affairs officials, that Alleyn-and-Cawood ratepayers would be afforded the opportunity of participating in a referendum on zoning changes if a sufficient number of qualified voters signed a register. This declaration raised their hopes again. They felt that they were given their future back, after their mayor had repeatedly refused to permit a referendum on this issue.
At the May council meeting, to the surprise of all, the Mayor of Alleyn-and-Cawood declared that he refused to organise such a public consultation, because a referendum would cost too much money. Instead, he chose to pass the file on to the next level of government, the Regional County Municipality of Pontiac.
On 26 June 2006, the Warden, the mayors and the urban planner of the Regional County Municipality of Pontiac, gathered at their monthly meeting, publicly declared (in French and in English) before the media and a group of Alleyn-and-Cawood residents that the Regional County Municipality of Pontiac would send the file back to the Municipality of Alleyn-and-Cawood, since the latter first had to organise a public consultation on zoning changes. The Warden even declared that, should there be a majority of residents opposed to the project, the project would die right there.
In mid-July 2006, an official from the Regional Directorate of the Quebec Ministry of Municipal Affairs confirmed to representatives of the Coalition executive that the Mayor of Alleyn-and-Cawood had to comply with the law and organise such a consultation, that he had no other choice.
To the surprise of all, the agenda of the August 7 council meeting did not include the landfill project nor any public consultation concerning zoning changes. When questioned about this, the Mayor reluctantly answered that someone first had to revise the municipal by-laws and that this would take months. He laconically added that there was no need for a public consultation on zoning anyway, thus contradicting all information obtained from the MRC and your own ministry.
Pouring oil on the fire, the Mayor once again decided to curtail the length of the question period, allowing only 10 minutes for questions on the landfill project and 10 minutes for questions on other issues. This is in spite of the fact that his citizens have desperately tried for the last nine months to obtain answers from him on an issue that is the most important one that their municipality has ever had to deal with, since what is at stake is the very quality of life of its present inhabitants and the generations yet to come.
Citizens attending monthly council meetings have always behaved in a respectful and civil manner. However, their frustration and their indignation have now reached boiling point, and we fear that things may get out of hand.
Madam, once again, we urge you to act quickly and intervene in this situation in order to protect and uphold basic democratic rights. Action must replace words. It is time to enforce the law: the people of Alleyn-and-Cawood must be given an opportunity to vote on this issue, as the law allows.
André Carrière, President
Mr. Jean Charest, Premier
Mr. Benoît Pelletier, minister responsible for the Outaouais Region
Mr. Claude Béchard, minister of the Environment
Mrs Charlotte L’Écuyer, Member of the National Assembly (Pontiac)
M. Réjean Lafrénière, Member of the National Assembly (Gatineau)
M. Norman McMillan, Member of the National Assembly (Papineau)
M. Roch Cholette, Member of the National Assembly (Hull)
Mrs Louise Harel, Head of the Official opposition
Mr. Mario Dumont, Head of the Action démocratique du Québec
Mr. Michael McCrank, Warden, Pontiac Regional County Municipality
All mayors of the Pontiac Regional County Municipality of Pontiac
Mrs. Paulette Lalande, Warden, Papineau Regional County Municipality
Mr. Marc Carrière, Warden, Regional County Municipality of Les Collines-de-l’Outaouais
Mr. Pierre Rondeau, Warden, Regional County Municipality of La-Vallée-de-la-Gatineau
Mr. Marc Bureau, Mayor of the City of Gatineau
Mr. Nério de Candido, lawyer
Local, regional and national media