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Shawville and Chichester rescind incinerator support

Sixteen mayors oppose warden’s incinerator newsletter

by Charles Dickson
Shawville
Apr. 29, 2024
The municipal councils of Shawville and Chichester have both rescinded their support for the incinerator project at their April meetings.
Shawville’s decision was rendered in a unanimous vote at its meeting last Tuesday evening, Apr. 23, and Chichester’s vote took place at its meeting on Monday Apr. 8.
“It was discussed and everybody felt that this has gone too far, we’re sick and tired of this, it’s not going anywhere, so let’s get it over with,” Shawville mayor Bill McCleary told THE EQUITY on Wednesday.
“There could possibly have been some jobs in this, but is it worth risking the environment and the health of your residents for a few jobs? Probably not,” McCleary said.
According to the mayor, the Shawville resolution includes a plan to look into the circular economy and zero waste as alternative approaches to dealing with municipal waste.
Chichester’s municipal council voted at its regular meeting on Apr. 8 to rescind its earlier resolution supporting the incinerator project.
“The council’s position was that we didn’t have enough information to justify that resolution, so we rescinded it,” Chichester mayor Donnie Gagnon told THE EQUITY last Wednesday.
“What I’m hearing, it’s all about your health and health issues, and I think that unless they can prove to me, with documentation and experts, to say that it’s okay, right now it’s a definite no,” he said.
Asked whether they would support a motion at the MRC table to stop the project, both the mayors said they would.
“Yes, right at the moment, I would say stop it, because we need more information,” Mayor Gagnon said.
“If the motion would arise that we want to put a stop to this project, I would probably vote to support that. It would depend on the circumstances and how it’s worded, but I would probably support stopping this in its tracks, because we’ve wasted enough time on it,” McCleary said. “It’s time to move on to the next project.”
At a recent MRC presentation on the incinerator project, Pontiac warden Jane Toller was asked what tipping point would need to be reached for the MRC to abandon this project.
“It would be when 10 mayors decide they don’t want to study this any further,” the warden replied. “But we also are not planning to have a vote for a while, so there’s nothing to vote on,” she said.

Shawville and Chichester were among the majority of municipalities in MRC Pontiac that passed resolutions last year expressing support for the incinerator project, and are now among the seven which have since rescinded their support. The councils of Litchfield and Otter Lake have remained opposed to the project from the beginning.
Of the 18 municipalities of MRC Pontiac, nine have now formally registered their opposition to the project: Bristol, Chichester, Clarendon, Litchfield, Otter Lake, Shawville, Sheenboro, Thorne and Waltham.
Warden’s incinerator newsletter voted down
A special meeting of MRC Pontiac mayors was held on Monday morning (Apr. 29) to consider a proposal by Warden Toller to distribute a newsletter to all residents of the Pontiac on the incinerator project.
The warden said that, despite a series of five presentations on the subject made across the Pontiac in recent weeks, most people were not adequately informed. She said the problem could be remedied with the distribution of an information sheet summarizing the findings of the initial business case developed by consulting firms Deloitte and Ramboll. Such a document was drafted by Allumette Island mayor Corey Spence and shared with fellow mayors last week.
In a meeting that lasted more than an hour, critical questions and comments were heard from members of the audience and mayors alike. The overwhelming sentiment of the room was one of opposition for myriad reasons to the newsletter idea. With the exchanges at times raucous, the warden gavelled on multiple occasions and threatened several members of the audience with expulsion from the meeting in her efforts to restore order.
When the motion to allocate $3,000 from the warden’s budget to print and distribute the proposed newsletter was finally put to a vote, Portage du Fort mayor Lynn Cameron cast the only vote in favour, with the 16 other mayors voting it down. Thorne mayor Karen Daly-Kelly was absent.

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