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Litchfield rejects motion to support incinerator

Council needs more information, says mayor

Charles Dickson
litchfield August 14, 2023
A motion of support for a proposed incinerator project was rejected by Litchfield Council at its meeting last Tuesday evening.
“I have brought it to the table several times, and we have discussed it at length,” Litchfield Mayor Colleen Larivière told THE EQUITY on Monday.
“After several discussions, the Council decided they don’t feel they have sufficient information to make an informed decision, and they will not support the project at this time,” she said.
In town hall-styled presentations of the project in late June, Warden Jane Toller described a proposal to build an incinerator capable of processing 400,000 tonnes of garbage per year, of which 395,000 tonnes would be trucked from Ottawa, Renfrew, Pembroke and parts of the Outaouais. The $450 million project would generate 50 permanent jobs. In her presentations, the warden indicated that all 18 mayors were behind the project.
Meanwhile, a motion drafted by the MRC had been distributed to all 18 municipalities for adoption by their councils. At its July meeting, the municipal council of Otter Lake voted unanimously against the resolution. By way of response, Warden Toller said that 100 per cent agreement is not required for the project to move forward.
At its meeting last week, Litchfield Council not only declined to support the proposed motion, but passed a resolution stating its requirement for more information on the project.
“We have officially put it on paper that for the present time, and until more information is available, we’re just going to wait and see,” said Mayor Larivière.
“The idea of a way to deal with the garbage issue is something that we all need to think about very seriously. The concept was a good one. I have questions, and my Council does,” she said.
The proposal is for the garbage incinerator to be located at the former Smurfit-Stone site near the Ottawa River in the municipality of Litchfield, which the warden describes as ideal, in part because of its industrial zoning.
“If it’s in Litchfield, we’re going to deal with the aftermath of it, so we want to make sure that everything is feasible and there are no repercussions from it,” said Larivière.
“I think we need to go forward as far as a feasibility study and a business plan to see where it stands, because you won’t have the answers until you do that, right? So that has to be done,” she said.
At its June meeting, the MRC Council struck a committee of three mayors plus the warden to oversee the development of a business plan and feasibility study on the proposal to build a garbage incinerator.
Action in launching the feasibility study is pending the approval by the MRC Council of a budget for this purpose.