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It may be time to dump Danford
by Wilbur McLean, Editor, The Equity¸Shawville (Pontiac),August 1, 2008

There is a healthy amount of excitement among municipality politicians about the possibility of an incinerator in Pontiac.

With critics, including THE EQUITY, lamenting the lack of action by politicians regarding Pontiac's waste management problem, it would make sense that the trio of municipalities, Shawville, Clarendon and Pontiac, would be happy to have found what appears to be a solution.

There is a difficult question that may have to be asked relatively soon, however.

What becomes of Danford Lake?

With each passing day that no answer is heard from Line Beauchamp, the provincial minister of environment, it appears less likely she will approve a landfill for Danford Lake.

The file has been on her desk for months with no response.

So it appears the incinerator is the more likely long-term answer to a quickly approaching deadline for the closure of all trench landfills in Quebec.

However, what if in a few days, or a few weeks, Beauchamp does approve the Danford Lake landfill? What becomes of the incinerator?

That question was posed to both Municipality of Pontiac Mayor Eddie McCann and Clarendon Mayor Jack Lang. They both had the same response: "I don't know".

However, the answer is becoming increasingly clear: it may be time to dump Danford's proposed landfill and for everyone in Pontiac to jump on board with the incinerator.

At this late point especially, there is no perfect solution to our waste problem.

Incinerators certainly aren't perfect and the technology being used is new enough that there isn't yet a consensus on their desirability.

However, what the incinerator appears to offer is greater than what can be attained in Danford.

Newer studies indicate incinerators nowadays to be relatively clean and safe.

The project's promoter, John Keyuk, told THE EQUITY the incinerator would be "well below" Canadian standards for emissions.

At this point, Danford's dump has been largely vilified as being too big, too ugly, too dangerous and undesirable.

Even the provincial arm of the government that conducts social and environmental studies concluded the dump was not desirable.

If the promoter can be believed, an incinerator could be operational by the end of 2009, which would mean only one year of either keeping trench landfills open (with permission from the province) or shipping garbage to Lachute (which is very expensive).

This is a new opportunity to start from scratch. The promoters and municipal officials lost the public relations battle with the Danford Lake landfill.

If the new promoter and politicians can convince people that the incinerator would indeed be a good solution for us, then the Danford Lake project should be abandoned, whether or not it's approved by the province.

Wilbur McLean

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