Friday, July 19, 2024
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Charles Dickson
Campbell’s Bay August 16, 2023
Two people participated in the public question period of last Wednesday’s meeting of Pontiac MRC mayors, and both raised concerns about the proposal to build a garbage incinerator in the Pontiac.
Linda Davis, a resident of Shawville, began with a question about the status of the $50,000 that the mayors allocated in 2020 to conduct a research and feasibility study on the incinerator project.
“The $50,000 that was set aside – not one cent has been spent,” replied Warden Toller. “Thirty thousand of it got reallocated into other parts of our budget with other needs,” she explained.
“The only money that has been spent was approximately $4,000 on a bus trip when we went to see the Durham-York energy facility, and that came not even out of that budget. It came out of the Council travel budget, so we still have $20,000 unspent,” said the warden.
Another of Davis’s questions related to a statement she says the warden made in her June 19 presentation in Shawville naming the financial consulting firm Deloitte as the company that would be hired to conduct a study on the incinerator project. Davis said that through an access to information request she has learned that there has been no process put in place by the MRC seeking tenders from firms to conduct such a study.
“So, I wonder how it is that if no potential contractors have been identified, why would you name-drop Deloitte as being the company that would be getting this contract?” Davis asked.
“It’s a good question and, as you know, sometimes, in certain fields there are very few companies that have the experience,” the warden responded, explaining that there is probably no company in Quebec that has experience in the field of energy from waste because there is no such facility in the province.
“The Deloitte mention was because Deloitte did the business plan for Durham-York, so they have the experience and they are an international company,” said Toller.
As Davis continued with her questions, the warden reminded her that there was a limit of two questions and five minutes per person.
Davis continued with a comment about the high cost of conducting a study on the proposed garbage incinerator, saying it would go well beyond the $200,000 figure that the warden had said, in her two public information sessions she convened in late June, would be coming in the form of a grant.
She said that the environmental impact assessment done for the Durham-York incinerator anticipated that dioxins and other toxins would be found in the breastmilk of mothers living within a 10-km radius of the facility if it were running at a 400,000 tonne/year capacity.
“Thank you, you’ve hit your five minutes” said the warden who then concluded the exchange with Davis by returning to the question about the budget envisioned for the business plan.
“We’ve decided as a Council to only spend $120,000. We’re not spending $200 [thousand], and that is not to include an environmental assessment, Linda; that is simply for the business plan,” said the warden.
The next question came from Steven Weiss, of Fort Coulonge, who introduced himself as a 22-year veteran truck driver, among other credentials.
“I am kind of supportive of anything that brings jobs in the Pontiac, but I do have some questions,” he said.
“Has anyone looked into the amount of damage that’s going to be caused by the transport trucks that are going to be hauling waste in from Ontario on our road system?” he asked.
“And is that being taken into consideration when viewing the tax requirements on this business that’s going to be damaging our roads, our brand-new bridge that we’ve repaired here?” he asked, making reference to increases in rubber and metals being put into the environment by heavy trucks.
“So, you’re asking for more load capacity to be put on the 148, I’m assuming,” said Weiss. “I’m just wondering, have you guys looked into the impact of heavy trucks coming down the road and what it would cost tax payers.”

“Yes, we do know that these are going to be 53-foot-long trucks,” said the warden, adding that, according to one of the Council’s mayors who has knowledge of trucking, each truck could carry about 38 tonnes of waste.
“So, for the amount of waste that we would hope to bring to our facility each day, we are looking at 30 to 35 trucks,” she said. “And it’s hoped by that time they will be electric, as well.”
“I don’t know a lot about the braking system or tires and that sort of thing, but I am confident that it is going to greatly reduce the greenhouse gas the day that a city like Ottawa can close their landfill which is currently the size of 150 football fields,” said the warden.
“What about the truck-driving jobs?” asked Weiss. “Where are they going to be placed at, and will there be a benefit to Pontiac?”
“We are told that the facility would take 36 months to build and that would require 800 people. Some would be specialists, of course, and they would be counting for more than just the Pontiac. But it is our hope that this Council of Mayors, that we could ask that a priority be given for the hiring of the 50 permanent jobs from the Pontiac,” said the warden.
“Of the 50 jobs there, maybe four of them would be engineering-type jobs where they’re monitoring, of course, what’s being released from the facility,” said the warden, citing job-related information gathered on last year’s tour of the Durham-York facility.
“But many of the other ones would be heavy machinery – various jobs that would require specific training – but I think they’d be well-suited to people who’ve been working in the Pontiac in forestry jobs, et cetera,” she said.
In his final question, Weiss returned to the theme of pollution from heavy trucks.
“One thing that a lot of people aren’t understanding is that the second-largest form of pollution that’s on our roads and in our environment today is heavy metal waste from heavy truck traffic,” he said.
“The braking of transport trucks coming down the hill will shed particulate into the air of metal off of the brake shoes, which will scatter into the farm fields along the side of the 148. Have you guys taken into consideration the possibility that you might have to remediate land?” asked Weiss.
“One thing we have hoped is that with more truck traffic we might get some improvements made to Hwy 148. When you talk about it’s especially worse on hills, we don’t have too many hills,” said Warden Toller.
“I guess my concern is that, make sure you check into heavy metal waste,” said Weiss.
“We will, this is an excellent point. Thank you for bringing it to our attention,” said the warden, wrapping up the public question portion of the Council meeting.


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