There has been a lack of transparency, misinformation and violation of the democratic rights of residents and ratepayers by the Municipal Council of Alleyn and Cawood (Pontiac, Outaouais). The issue of the proposed Danford Lake Landfill Project has prompted the Coalition Against Danford Megadump to write to Premier Charest asking him to intervene to stop the project. Copies of the letter were also sent to the Ministers of Environment and of Municipal Affairs of Quebec.
The promoter for the project, LDC, after having failed in its attempt to have the landfill project installed in Quyon (Pontiac), has convinced the Municipal Council of Alleyn and Cawood that the potential revenue increase from “tipping fees” is worth compromising the community values as stated in the municipal letter of December 2003 (“…the environment and atmosphere of the community is an attraction to others, but also something that the residents cherish and wish to hold onto. Danford Lake residents value their slower pace of life, their pristine environment and exceptional unspoiled beauty of the area”), and worth risking the future of generations to come. The Coalition is critical of the MRC Pontiac for sitting idly by while allowing LDC to shop the project around in search of the community it can best lull into accepting the project, leaving serious divisions between the council and their constituents in its wake.
The Coalition maintains that from the introduction of the project to Alleyn and Cawood in late 2004, residents of Alleyn-and-Cawood have been misled and that the required consultation process has been seriously flawed :
- The Mayor and the promoter claim that an « information leaflet» sent by the Mayor to the citizens of Alleyn-and-Cawood on October 5, 2004, informed them of the regional engineered landfill project.
- This “information leaflet” can not be considered to constitute a public consultation process, since it deliberately misled the recipients. With no subject line, no signature, and many without a letterhead, the leaflet merely informed residents that, because of new environmental regulations, the current trench landfill would have to be shut down and that the council was proposing to replace it with a new landfill, called an “engineered landfill”. It did not contain a single word about the real scope of the project. (It did not describe a regional landfill project to serve the entire Outaouais, that would receive not only municipal household waste, but also industrial, commercial, institutional, agricultural, and construction waste, and that would lead, among other things, to a significant increase in truck traffic through the village and on the roads leading to the site.)
- So-called “public” information meetings were held at a time when a majority of seasonal residents could not be present in the community to attend or when many of the permanent residents would be absent (the first day of hunting season). The choice of times for these public meetings can not be considered coincidental.
- Since the formation of the Coalition and the surfacing of open opposition by a growing number of residents to the project, the Mayor and Council have refused to accept oral questions in Council meetings, have not provided answers to questions submitted in writing, have refused to consider a referendum of ratepayers on the issue, and have allowed paid municipal employees to actively promote the Megadump project in accompaniment with the promoter and his representatives. Ratepayer attendance at Council meetings has grown to the point of overflowing the small library in which they are held. Rather than moving to a larger community centre a few hundred meters away to allow more ratepayers to attend the next Council meeting (as is their democratic right) on February 6, 2006, the Council has decided to restrict admittance, requesting that only a limited number of “ratepaying Coalition members” attend to ask questions. Ratepayers are being denied their charter rights to information and their most fundamental right as citizens in a democracy to vote on a matter that will alter their quality of life and that of generations to come. Small wonder that ratepayers in the Municipality are losing their trust in their elected officials.
The Coalition states unequivocally that the Council members are serving the promoter’s interest and not the population that they were elected to represent. They are letting the developer take over the process, and bowing to a threat by the developer of a lawsuit if the project does not go ahead. It is time for the Province to intervene to restore democratic rights in the municipality.
The Coalition Against Danford Megadump (Coalition contre le mégadépotoir de Danford) is the official simplified name under which the Citizens Coalition Against the Danford Lake Landfill Project, formed on December 11, 2005, has applied for incorporation as a non-profit organization. Membership is growing rapidly and financial donations are pouring in to enable the Coalition to step up its campaign against the project.
Coalition Against Danford Megadump
P.O. Box 911, Danford Lake, Quebec J0X 1P0
For more information, please contact:
André Carrière, President (819) 684 8876
Michèle Borchers, Vice-president (613) 237 0794 (819) 467 2219 (819) 934 4639