In the wake of a decision that is being called confusing, the Coalition Against Danford Megadump has fired off a strongly worded letter to Michael McCrank, Warden of the Pontiac Regional Council of Municipalities (MRC de Pontiac) asking him to reconcile the Council vote with his own public statements that the MRC would not impose a decision regarding the landfill on the population of Alleyn-and-Cawood, where the site of the proposed landfill is located.
In its letter, the Coalition has also called into question an unacceptable arrangement whereby whenever a mayor on the Council brings forward a proposal, all other mayors on the Council are automatically bound to vote in favour of it!
“This ’you-scratch-my-back and I’ll-scratch-yours’ understanding totally undermines the political and public consultation process”, said the Coalition President, André Carrière. “This is backroom politics at its worst. It may be fine for voting on who gets a road paved or a traffic light installed, but to see it applied to a regional landfill that has the potential to negatively impact the environment of much of the Gatineau and Pontiac areas is truly worrisome and an affront to the free political process.”
On September 25th, the Pontiac MRC Council designated the Municipality of Alleyn-and-Cawood as a site of regional significance for the establishment of a regional megadump. The Council further gave notice of a draft bylaw that would change the Pontiac MRC’s Land Development Plan to allow for the project.
The Coalition’s letter provides a list of occasions during which Mr. McCrank and other Pontiac mayors publicly stated to the media and to the Coalition that the MRC would not impose a decision on the population of Alleyn-and-Cawood for an engineered landfill site in that municipality (see Schedule 1).
In the letter, André Carrière wrote: “We were further assured that, should the Council of Alleyn-and-Cawood wish to pursue an engineered landfill site, they would be required to change their planning and zoning by-laws; sufficient opposition to the zoning change would trigger the process leading to a referendum. In fact, [the Pontiac Warden] stated at the June MRC meeting that a majority opposed to the zoning change would ensure that the project would ’die right there‘.”
The letter also asked Mr. McCrank to confirm in writing that the MRC will not unilaterally impose a decision on the population of Alleyn-and-Cawood and that the ratepayers of Alleyn-and-Cawood will have the opportunity to vote on any change to their planning and zoning by-laws regarding the proposed engineered landfill.
During May and August 2006 meetings of the MRC of the Pontiac, the Pontiac Warden and other Pontiac mayors stated that the MRC would not impose a decision on the population of Alleyn-and-Cawood, and that a public consultation process would take place with the possibility of a referendum if enough people sign the up the so-called register. The Warden repeated this statement in the Public Consultation meeting on June 12, 2006.
CBC Radio on June 27, 2006, interviewed the Pontiac Warden. The interviewer stated: “Mike McCrank is warden for the regional county of Pontiac. He says if Danford Lake can’t get its rezoning through, the landfill won’t go there”.
Ottawa Citizen, October 12, 2006 (Democracy dies with dump deal, by Fred Ryan): “The MRC’s council of mayors, after promising the citizens earlier this summer that it would have a referendum on the landfill, decided at the end of September to short-circuit [… ] a referendum […].”
On December 22, 2005 on CBC Radio in Ottawa, Mayor Squitti stated:
“…it’s going to be a community decision”
For More Information
Vice President, Coalition Against the Danford Mega Dump
819-467-2219 or 613-237-0794
President, Coalition Against the Danford Mega Dump