Friday, July 19, 2024
Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor – Oct. 11, 2023

Incinerator worries

Dear Editor,
To anyone who thinks an incinerator by a water source is a good idea, there is no such thing as a leakproof facility. There will be spills, runoff, air pollution. Not to mention off-gassing, if ashes are used on asphalt, as Ms.Toller has suggested.
Generations of our children will have to hear noisy, smelly diesel trucks, which we know drive somewhat aggressively, go by their homes off highway 148 and others.
The number of jobs created after construction will amount to what? A dozen?
I have a question for her. If all the trucks that come up have to drive by Spruceholme, would she still favour the project?
I hope the Quebec government has better foresight than she does, and by the way, out of our pockets? Government money is ours also.

Paul Guttadauria, Campbell’s Bay

Garbage Incinerator: Plan Z

Dear Editor,
Years ago I had a boss who refused to acknowledge any problem that I presented to him without also presenting my “solution”. I used to think “Hey man, you’re the boss. That’s why they pay you more than me, to fix problems, right?” At the time, I really hated that guy. Now that I am older and a tad bit wiser I have since come to realize how great and powerful this way of problem solving is. It’s kind of a Biblical thing, like in teaching a man to fish. We all know that one, right?
It’s high time to apply this strategy to Pontiac’s “waste problem”. I’m sure by now, if you have been keeping up with all the letters and commentary in our local newspapers, you are well-informed of all the terribleness of the proposed garbage incinerator. Let’s approach this situation as an opportunity to find the best, greatest and most creative ways to deal with Pontiac’s waste. I am sure that we have very smart and experienced citizens of the Pontiac who will be able to contribute to their own local waste solutions.
In light of this come-armed-with-your-own solutions approach, I would now like to make a few of my own suggestions.

  1. Pontiac needs a landfill site, so let’s start off with the inevitability of that. Lets find effective ways in which to reduce input to landfill as much as possible.
  2. Pontiac is embarking on a municipal composting program that will reduce landfill by per cent. That’s huge. Way to go Pontiac.
  3. Used goods and furniture could become part of the municipal transfer station’s drop off sections and potentially be some kind of non-profit community store (our own version of value village, just not owned by Walmart).
  4. Construction waste and other unacceptables should be taken in at transfer stations. This will save a lot of drywall and styrofoam hiding in construction bags going straight to the garbage. Sorry, but this is definitely happening. Gatineau does a really good job of addressing this reality at its local sorting stations.
  5. We don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Let’s use good existing models for waste collection.
  6. Vancouver, BC’s Delta landfill has an innovative system in place that captures off-gassing methane to heat adjacent farmers greenhouses all through the winter. I’m sure there are a few Pontiac farmers who might be interested in this kind of “waste to energy” process.
  7. Biomass incineration is something to investigate, given Pontiac’s forestry industry. Innovative techniques using waste wood and algae are producing enough electricity to power 100 local houses or potentially a small sawmill. See the documentary “A time to Grow.”
  8. Put in place incentives for Pontiac’s citizens to practice waste reduction by making it easy to participate in local composting and waste programs such as support for back yard composting stations, and hosting maker and repair workshops.
  9. Offer good public communications regarding all operations of our local waste management programs. It’s important to remain open and transparent.
  10. Create usage incentives like eco-fees and pay-per-usage garbage bags instead of taxing the whole community.
  11. Support “Friends of the Pontiac” (Citizen’s advocacy group) by signing their “Say no to a mega garbage incinerator in the Pontiac” petition. Go to change.org. Donations can be made through email transfer at friendsofthepontiac@gmail.com or mail to P.O. Box 475, Otter Lake, QC, J0X 2P0
    Coming from me, a pretty much regular kind of person, these are but just a few simple ideas of the many possible solutions that we as a community could come up with. I want to emphasize this point of it being “Pontiac’s waste problem” that firstly deserves “Pontiac’s solutions”. Let’s come together as a community to find our best and most innovative waste management solutions that will create way more than just 50 meaningless toxic jobs for a price of way less than $450 million dollars.

Or we could just go ahead with Plan Z: Pay a behemoth, international corporation that believes that taking on tonnes more garbage from far away cities is the only way to solve our small local “waste problem”. For tons of money. Our money actually. Because we all pay taxes.

Christine Anderson, Thorne

Clarification

Dear Editor,
I made a mistake; here is a clarification with regard to my letter published last week. Perhaps I was taken by an extra measure of cynicism, and attempted some reverse psychology, which is a device I will avoid in the future. Here’s a general caveat we all might employ; I’m just another citizen, whose opinions are based upon information easily available to the public. I think and inquire about some things more than others, so my opinions on hockey, for instance, are utterly worthless, while my opinions on pop music of the 20th Century and waste management (or mismanagement) are somewhat more informed. Anyway, it’s only valuable if what is said makes sense to you, and there’s something you can do about it.
I was mistaken in assuming that Ottawa’s decision to send garbage to landfills would bring the Energy-From-Waste project to a halt. My question, “Where would you like your landfill?” was intended as a rhetorical challenge, to those opposing the EFW for spurious reasons. Was I surprised, when the large ad appeared, touting the availability of a landfill for municipal waste. I knew nothing of that in advance.
I believe that EFW is a better option than landfill, because garbage in a landfill is garbage forever, and all we’d get is a mountain of garbage, and more garbage to go on top, whereas, EFW drastically reduces the amount of final waste, and gives electricity as a by-product.
I truly wish there were a way to downscale the incinerator plant, so that the operation would not require so much garbage to be imported, thus making us dependant upon Ottawa, Gatineau, etc. The transport of that much garbage is going to be an expensive ecological problem, and a hard sell to the local population. Trucking garbage over long distances is what we’re trying to get away from. From an environmental standpoint, the incinerator should be near the major source - Ottawa, Gatineau or Thurso have been suggested. So they get the jobs and the gold star, and we get a place to put our garbage, that doesn’t create as much pollution as a landfill will.
Incinerator/landfill; is there a third option?

Robert Wills, Thorne and Shawville

Landfill for household waste?

Dear Editor,
The residents of MRC Pontiac have spoken clearly in the past saying they are opposed to landfill for municipal waste. They rejected one for Danford Lake and also for the Bristol Mines. Last week, Fillogreen (the former Centre-Tri or Pontiac Sorting Center) located in the regional industrial park at Litchfield, advertised in THE EQUITY inviting residents to consider sending their domestic waste to their landfill. Currently, they have a technical landfill which is authorized to take construction debris only. The 18 municipalities are very interested in sending their construction debris there as it currently takes up a lot of space in the trucks going to Lachute and much of it can be recycled. For Fillogreen to accept household waste will require permission from the Minister of the Environment. The direction our Council of Mayors has chosen (after maximum recycling and composting), is Energy from Waste. We believe it is a better solution than landfill.

Jane Toller, Warden MRC Pontiac

Let’s support Jane

Dear Editor,
Let us all take a stand to support Jane Toller on an indoor swimming pool.
Jane Toller has worked many hours. Now we have a chance.
I support the committee Piscine Pontiac.
Let’s go for it Pontiac!

Claudette Stanton, Bryson

Services denied

Dear Editor,
I thought everyone may find it interesting to know that the Fort Coulonge Post Office has been denying services to new residents that do not possess a Quebec driver’s license for years, as they claim that is the only way to prove you are a “real Quebec resident”.
On the official Canada Post website, a number of acceptable forms of photo I.D are listed, including a driver’s license, whether it be Canadian or foreign. There is also a list of acceptable proofs of residency, including bank statements and university transcripts.
This makes sense that these forms of identification would be accepted, as Canada Post is a federal service, not all individuals drive a car and also many people move between provinces for work contracts and school periodically but return to their native address once finished.
So why was I, along with a number of other Fort Coulonge residents, informed that it would be illegal for me to receive mail services in Quebec without specifically a Quebec driver’s license?
Under this logic, if I were attending McGill University in Montreal and staying on campus residence, but originally from Ottawa where I planned on returning once my studies finish, it would be illegal for me to receive mail services? That doesn’t make sense.
I have also been told that there are “new rules” that are not listed on the Canada Post website, nor have they been told to the customer service agents covering calls nationally for this, I will mention again, federal public service. Which to me mostly sounds very unlikely.
And if there are in fact “new rules” for mail services in Quebec, why has this been going on in Fort Coulonge for years?
Amidst all the drama this past summer with the Quebec governments passing of Bill 96, this dilemma does draw the question of if the mistreatment of English-speaking Quebec residents is in fact deep-rooted here, in our Pontiac culture.

Madelaine K. Methot, Fort Coulonge

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