As you know, with the exception of the Pontiac, all other three Municipal Regional Councils [MRCs] in the Outaouais and the City of Gatineau have committed to choosing a waste management method other than landfill. This means that roughly 90% of the waste produced in the Outaouais would not go to Danford Lake.
The Pontiac, despite being a party to the quest for such a new option, is the only MRC to be struggling with an interim solution for the disposal of its waste. Therefore, for the Pontiac, the Provincial Government agreed to extend by nine months (i.e. until September 2009) the January 2009 deadline for closing the existing local trench landfills. Other MRCs are compacting their waste in transfer stations before sending it to the Lachute landfill until the new option becomes available.
The Coalition against the Danford Megadump actively continues to exercise influence at all applicable regional and provincial political levels. It has repeatedly driven a number of key messages to those in the chain of decision-making. In February, we met with Mr. Norman MacMillan, the Minister responsible for the Outaouais Region.
Among these key messages are the following three:
1. We strongly support the safe transformation of waste into useful energy and the regional efforts in this direction.
2. We do not support the approval of a landfill in Danford (landfill technology is problematic over time and an outdated form of waste management). There is an insufficient critical mass of waste produced in the Pontiac to justify the establishment of an engineered landfill in that MRC. Approving such a landfill would require the importation of waste from elsewhere and would undermine the broader regional effort for a modern and ecological solution.
3. There already exists a number of proven technologies (we have provided examples to the decision makers).
In December 2008, a consulting firm [SM Inc.) submitted its report regarding various alternatives. The Region’s Technical Committee reviewed this report and submitted its findings to the Wardens Table.
As it regularly has in the past few years, the Coalition attended the latest Regional Council (Conférence régionale des élus de l’Outaouais) board meeting (May 18) and used the Public Question Period to ask for an update on the file. We were told by the President of the Wardens Table that the Region was making excellent progress and that the new Policy on Waste Management, due to come out soon, will provide additional assistance to the Region in its choice of the right technology.
On May 20, the Coalition wrote a letter to the Quebec Minister of the Environment (with copy to all provincial and regional decision-makers) reiterating its key message: citizens and elected officials in the Outaouais are united in their efforts for a waste-into-energy solution.
Quite a few of you have recently contacted the Coalition to find out if the Proposed Amendments to the Quebec Landfill and Incineration Act (http://www.mddep.gouv.qc.ca/matieres/reglement/enfouiss2009-modif.htm) might have any impact on the Danford Lake Project. In our view, they are not likely to have any, because they mainly apply to northern and remote areas.
Stay tuned for our next progress report.