Wednesday, July 17, 2024
Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor – April 24, 2024

Loyalty to municipality

Dear Editor,
During the Apr. 17 meeting of the Council of Mayors, there was a discussion of the garbage incinerator. Warden Toller stated that, in terms of decision-making and votes, what happens at local municipal council meetings is completely different to what happens at the MRC Council of Mayors. She seems to imply that decisions taken at our local council meetings shall have no bearing on decisions made at the meetings of the MRC Council of Mayors.
I’d like to point out two major problems with her statement. First, this is a democracy. Each mayor was elected to represent the people of their constituency. They are given the privilege and responsibility to make decisions that represent their constituents at both the municipal level and the MRC level at the Council of Mayors. In fact, one of the main ethical values that are set out for mayors and councillors in the Municipal Ethics and Good Conduct Act (section 4) is “loyalty to the municipality”.
By her statements in recent weeks at both the April 17 meeting and the public town halls, Warden Toller seems to want us to believe that each mayor suddenly becomes a “free agent” at the Council of Mayors table without regard to the wishes of either the residents or the councillors of their municipalities.
She has also said that when mayors attend the Council of Mayors, they should be voting in the “interests of the region”. What she doesn’t seem to understand is that the interests of the region are not separate and apart from the interests of the people of the 18 municipalities. This is particularly important given the significantly large project that the warden is promoting.
Secondly, if Warden Toller actually believes that votes at the municipal level are irrelevant to the MRC level, then why did she travel across the Pontiac last year to municipal council meetings with a resolution in hand pressing councils to adopt it and support an incinerator?
Are the votes taken at municipal councils only important when they line up with what Warden Toller wants? She cannot have it both ways.
Bottom line, we cannot ignore decisions made at municipal councils that reflect the wishes of their constituents, especially in this most important of cases when they oppose garbage incineration and support alternative strategies to waste management.

Jennifer Quaile, Councillor, Otter Lake

Outstanding reading

Dear Editor,
I subscribe to three community newspapers. Without question the best columnist of all is Chris Judd. His stories of local and personal history affecting the world we live in today and our future makes for outstanding weekly reading. Thanks Chris, keep the columns coming.
Regarding the incinerator project, when Warden Toller states it is a minority of people opposed and those who have stayed home agree with going forward, I wonder if that is factual. THE EQUITY, as the voice of the Pontiac, I think should consider providing petitions for the silent majority that did not attend the five meetings to quietly voice their opinions. Two petitions, one for those for an incinerator and one for those against an incinerator, for signing accordingly.
Petitions could be distributed where people gather such as in food shops, gas stations and other traffic areas. Perhaps online would be an option to receive the highest participation. Put a deadline of eight weeks to sign. Then tabulate and provide the numbers to all the mayors and your readers in August. At the least it would be an effort to give a voice to the “silent majority” who choose not to go to a public forum.

Merlin Tubman, Shawville

Keep your garbage

Dear Editor,
After the current flurry of community anxiety caused by the incinerator project fades away, we will still have to deal with the collection and disposal of the garbage we produce. Don’t wait for ‘the government’ to take care of it, because we’ve seen that government gets it wrong, time after time.
So it’s up to us, the individual householders, to sort through the extra stuff we have somehow come to own, and decide what goes to the nearly new or yard sales, what goes to be repurposed for our own uses, what goes into the nearby compost device, and what is hopeless waste, to be thrown away into the waste stream. Where that will go, is yet to be determined.
Packaging is one thing we accumulate, and some of it is easy to make use of. Cardboard, for example, has many uses: ground blanket to ease one’s task of crawling under a car to see what’s making that noise, fire starter if you have insufficient kindling, part of the diet of a worm bin, or light mulch for a garden spot. If you buy from Amazon or Ikea, your goods come in really high quality cardboard, much too good to throw away. If you have more than you want, call me.
Any glass jar with a sealable lid, such as pickle jar or kombucha bottle, is too valuable to throw away. Just you wait, we will live to see a time when those are no longer available as a free bonus with food you bought. I have a few stashed away; first come, first served. We’ve already outlived the large metal cans that coffee came in. Too late, but I do have a few of those.
I’ve seen reports about a business which takes the hardest-to-recycle types of plastic, and grinds it to chunks which are then mixed with cement and made into building blocks like big Legos, which have several properties over conventional concrete blocks. That is above our pay grade currently, but it appears to be not a very high level of technology, so a local entrepreneur could set up such a business and turn that problematic waste into a useful product.
Municipal elections are in a year and a half. That’s your opportunity to become part of the team that will decide how to deal with the waste material that people can’t or won’t repurpose on their own. The way elections work, it’s not about voting against a person or idea; one has to vote for someone who has good ideas. They often turn out to be imperfect human beings.

Robert Wills, Shawville and Thorne

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