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Mayors reject entrepreneur's waste transfer station
The Equity 2008-11-12, Wilbur McLean, Equity Editor

PONTIAC * By a large margin, the Pontiac MRC council of mayors voted against Clarendon entrepreneur Tom Orr's tender to create a waste transfer station for Pontiac Friday morning.

After about an hour of discussion, 11 mayors voted to turn down Orr, who was the only bidder when tenders were sought by the MRC for a solution to Pontiac's waste management problem. Three mayors-Bristol's Scott Wilson, Campbell's Bay's Jean-Louis Auger and Sheenboro's Roy Perrault-voted to accept the tender. Four mayors were absent.

Orr, who showed up about half-an-hour into the meeting, was not pleased with the decision and addressed the mayors after the vote.

"I spent three months of my own time and $50,000 of my own money to give you a tender that fit exactly the specifications you wanted," said Orr, who was visibly upset but remained calm throughout his impromptu, three-minute long address.

"You wonder why nothing happens in Pontiac and its right here. It's you guys."

Orr continued to chastise the mayors for their decision while most mayors looked down or away from Orr.

Orr had spent much of the last few months creating a tender for the transfer station, a project he had initially proposed to the MRC more than a year ago but was rejected.

Orr's transfer station would have created a centralised location where Pontiac's 18 municipalities could take their waste before having it shipped to either the landfill in LaChute or the Danford Lake landfill, if that project occurred.

Without a transfer station, each municipality would be responsible to ship its own waste to either landfill, including all the associated transportation costs.

Last summer, the mayors called for tenders to create a waste transfer station, realizing that chances were slim of having a permanent solution by the provincially mandated Jan. 9 deadline for the closure of trench landfills, which are used universally in Pontiac.

Orr was the only bidder, but at the majors' regular council meeting to discuss the bid recently, they decided to wait to make a decision as they had not learned the fate of the Danford Lake landfill project that was awaiting a decision from the provincial government.

The mayors then called a special meeting for Oct. 29 to discuss the issue and again decided to put off a decision.

"We have been told that a decision regarding our project is imminent and I take those words very seriously," Pro Warden and Allumette Island Mayor Brian Adam said at that meeting.

With the thought that a decision would arrive soon, the mayors opted to wait until Friday's meeting, which was four days before the financial figures in Orr's tender expired as per the terms of his bid.

With last week's provincial election call in Quebec, there is now no chance of a response being received from the provincial government before the Dec. 8 election day.

The Danford Lake landfill project had been in front of the Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development Line Beauchamp since January.

Orr pointed out at Friday's meeting that Gatineau recently passed a resolution to make their next waster solution an environmentally-friendly one that would preclude a landfill.

"How are you going to fill a landfill if Gatineau is not on board?" asked Orr.

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