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Downwind, downstream and down the road
The Equity, January 11, 2006

Dear Editor,
Just imagine, a 22-storey mountain of other people's garbage in the backyard of the tiny unspoiled rural village of Danford Lake, Huge trailer trucks roaring past on unsuitable highways every few minutes all day long for decades to come...
No way! say growing numbers of ratepayers and concerned citizens. The fight against this environmental insult has just been joined, says a spokesperson for the newly formed Citizens Coalition Against the Proposed Danford Lake Landfill Project.

On Dec. 11, after carefully examining the information made available to them and weighing the pros and cons, the residents from the municipalities of Alleyn-and-Cawood and Kazabazua formed a coalition opposing the establishment of a regional landfill site to be operated by a private consortium (LDC) about 5 miles (eight km) west of Danford Lake, north of Hwy. 301. Despite their best efforts concerned citizens have been unable to date to obtain satisfactory answers to all their questions about the promoters and the impact of the proposed landfill site.

As proposed, the landfill site would cover 545 acres (220 hectares.) It would service the Outaouais Region, all 13,000-square miles of it, four regional districts (MRC's), including the City of Gatineau and could receive up to 250,000 tons of waste per year (household, industrial, commercial, agricultural, construction, disinfected biomedical waste, and waste from incinerators, from paper mills, from oil refineries, and from slaughterhouses). It would result in a 7.5 million-ton, 230-foot (70 metre) high mountain of garbage and would receive waste for at least 30 years. The impact however would last for hundreds of years.

The Citizens' Coalition opposes the landfill project since the proposed site is not suited for a regional landfill, because it simply does not make sense to establish a mega-landfill site in a pristine environment that has been a heaven for nature lovers, hunters, fishermen, hikers and canoeists for over 100 years.

There is a strong danger that treated leachate released into the two rivers next to the site, the Kazabazua and the Picanoc, both of which flow into the Gatineau River, might irreversibly contaminate them.

The site is based on the worst possible substrate, sand and gravel. Even experts agree that there is no existing fail safe technology that would guarantee the protection of the underground water.

It is mainly accessible by two already heavily used roads (HIghway 105 North and 301 South), where the traffic and the number of accidents have been increasing at an alarming rate during the past few years.

The trucks carrying the waste to and from the site would be passing right through the heart of a small and peaceful town (Danford Lake). Near several lakes and right across recreational areas, and will impact on many other communities along the 105 and even along the 148.

The site poses a health hazard to those living downwind (landfill sites generate gases like methane, carbon dioxide and sulphur dioxide) and down stream (potential for polluted drinking water). Just consider the health problems associated with the Cantley landfill site.

Property values will be adversely affected and investment in land and building in the area and the communities on the highways leading to the site will be negatively affected - who wants to build next to a mammoth garbage heap or suffer the noise along a busy highway?

A small rural community of a few hundred souls should not sacrifice its pristine and peaceful environment to make profits for independent investors who purport to solve the entire Outaouais Region's future waste problems. Like Gatineau's new mayor, the Citizens' Coalition believes that waste should be dealt with as close to its source as possible to raise awareness among its producers and entice them to recycle more.

The residents of Alleyn-and-Cawood are downwind, down stream and down the road from the proposed site. They do not want to rob their children and grandchildren of future resources or to store up pollution problems for them for generations to come.

The council for the Municipality of Alleyn-and Cawood has agreed in principle to host the project based on the promise of a few jobs and some income. A few jobs and some income for the municipality do not outweigh the serious environmental and social effects of a mega-landfill site on our communities. Just ask the Cantley residents.

Citizens Coalition Against the Proposed

Danford Lake Landfill Project

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