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Citizens’ groups launch campaigns to oppose incinerator

Friends of the Pontiac issues fact sheet, Citizens of the Pontiac urges face-to-face engagement

By Charles Dickson
Pontiac
Mar. 11, 2024
Efforts to convince Pontiac County mayors to oppose any further development of the energy-from-waste project have been launched by two local citizens’ groups over the past few days.
On Friday, Friends of the Pontiac sent a fact sheet to MRC Pontiac’s 18 mayors outlining what it sees as the four most important reasons to stop work on the incinerator proposal, accompanied by a draft resolution that the group hopes municipalities will pass to express their opposition to the project.
“We wanted to provide a solid fact sheet based on scientific information the mayors may not have heard,” Jennifer Quaile, spokesperson for Friends of the Pontiac, said in an email to THE EQUITY.
Quaile, who is a municipal councillor in Otter Lake and member of the MRC Pontiac waste management committee, says the document cites its sources so mayors can check the credibility of the information for themselves.
“We hope there will be some mayors who will give it serious attention and start asking some hard questions,” she said.
The fact sheet presents four reasons why the group believes mayors should vote against a garbage incinerator:

  • the high cost of construction ($450 million) and the likelihood the price will only go up as it did with the Durham York incinerator,
  • that energy produced by waste incinerators emits a tonne of C02 for every tonne of garbage burned and so cannot be considered “clean energy”,
  • that even with “state of the art” pollution controls, garbage incinerators emit mercury, lead, arsenic, dioxins and furans and nanoparticles that contaminate air, water and soil and are a huge concern for farmers, and
  • that only 50 permanent jobs will be created, far fewer than the number of jobs generated by alternate waste management strategies involving reusing, recycling and composting options.

Friends of the Pontiac, which formed last fall to oppose the incinerator project, held its first public information meeting in Ladysmith in November (see Concerns voiced over incinerator project at Friends of the Pontiac meeting, THE EQUITY, Nov. 22, 2023).
Along with its fact sheet, the group also distributed a draft resolution to the mayors for discussion and approval by their municipal councils. Building on the key points outlined in the fact sheet, the resolution culminates in the decision not to support any further work in the development of the incinerator proposal:
“THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Municipality of _ will not support going forward with a garbage incinerator nor will it support the development of another business plan for this proposal.”
“The primary reason we did this is because we believe local councillors should have a voice, that mayors should not independently continue to support this project even when there is scientific evidence being brought before them that should cause them to reconsider going forward,” Quaile said.
Citizens of the Pontiac launches
‘Face to Face’ Campaign
Meanwhile, another group, the recently-formed Citizens of the Pontiac (CoP), has launched a campaign it is calling Face to Face.
In a press release issued Monday, CoP urges Pontiac citizens to speak their mind on the incinerator at the Council of Mayors meeting held at the MRC Pontiac building in Campbell’s Bay each month.
“In this campaign, we are urging Pontiac citizens to come out to the MRC office on March 20 at 6:30 pm, and every month thereafter, until the mayors vote down the incinerator project completely,” says CoP spokesperson Judith Spence.
“Come out, bring your friends, bring your family, get your five minutes to speak to the mayors face to face. The Citizens of the Pontiac (CoP) will be there to stand by you and to support you. This may be the most critical five minutes of your life,” Spence says.
More than 100 people attended a public information session convened by Citizens of the Pontiac in Campbell’s Bay on Mar. 2 that featured speakers who shared their concerns about garbage incinerators via Zoom from Ontario and England (see Concern over incinerator fills Campbell’s Bay Rec Centre, THE EQUITY, Mar. 6, 2024).

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