Monday, July 15, 2024
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Mayors vote 12-to-6 to proceed with incinerator business plan

$120k available for potential sole-source contract with Deloitte

Charles Dickson
campbell’s bay August 24, 2023
The development of a business plan for a proposed garbage incinerator is set to go ahead, following a decision supported by a majority of Pontiac County mayors last week.
In a vote taken at a special meeting of mayors held on Thursday morning, two-thirds of Pontiac mayors supported and one-third opposed a motion to set aside $100,000 that could be applied to a sole-source contract with consulting firm Deloitte.
The motion put forward at the meeting proposed to set aside $100,000 from the MRC’s accumulated surplus, “to mandate Deloitte to produce a business plan for the waste to energy project and that this sum be committed only after Council has approved the proposal submitted by Deloitte for the production of the business plan.”
An additional $20,000 that remains available from an earlier allocation of funds for this purpose could be added to the Deloitte contract.
The use of a sole-source contract enables the MRC to skip the normal competitive bidding process in which tenders from multiple companies are submitted from which one is chosen on the basis of qualifications and/or cost, among others considerations. As Warden Toller has explained publicly on several occasions, she believes Deloitte is the only company qualified to do the work by virtue of its experience in preparing the business plan for the incinerator facility at Durham-York.
Under the Quebec Municipal Code, municipalities may issue sole-source contracts for amounts up to $121,200. While the cost for the development of a business plan on the proposed incinerator project had earlier been envisioned to be $200,000, the warden said the decision was taken to limit it to $120,000. She added that additional funds might be sought from private investors, which she says have expressed interest in the project, as a show of their commitment.
According to the warden, three potential investors have indicated their interest in investing a total of $180 million, and another four had expressed their interest within the previous week.
She said the mayors would like to meet the investors which will probably happen in September.
“What we believe in is a public-private public partnership,” said Warden Toller.
“The way it would work is we would have money invested privately and the rest through government that would have to be paid back. In the case of Durham-York, they paid theirs off completely in nine years,” she said.
“We need to take a step to evaluate properly and to have the expertise help us do this. And we need to test our plan and we need to offer it to these other potential partners and see what their interest will be. That is what is on the agenda today is simply to take that step to do the business plan,” the warden explained.
The warden also responded to a number of environmental concerns raised at the meeting by members of the public.
“There are some people, especially new people who have moved here, who would just like to see this as a wilderness, as a beautiful eco-tourism area with nothing but cycling and kayaking and just enjoying nature. But we also have a population that we need to support, and many of them are having to leave the Pontiac to work. This facility will bring 50 permanent jobs, and just through the construction over 36 months, 800 jobs. This will bring a lot of good fortune and revitalization to the Pontiac,” the warden said.

“We’re always going to have garbage . . . We do have some people that can really practice zero waste but, unfortunately, a majority of people just want their garbage to disappear. At the end of the day, we’re still going to have 30 to 40 per cent waste with nowhere to go.”
The warden said that there is more that can be done to reduce the volume of household waste through composting and recycling, and that MRC Pontiac would be moving in that direction “as soon as possible.”
“You can rest assured that this will be healthy. And what is said of what comes out of the stack, after it goes through the bag houses it is cleaned with lime and water. What is released to the air is 99.9 per cent pure, which might even be better than some of the air we’re breathing now,” she said.
The warden said that an environmental assessment would come after the business plan.
“This is the time where we can listen to the people of the Pontiac – all the public can weigh in on this. And that assessment will be conducted by the Ministry of Environment with us,” she said.
Asked whether the question of an incinerator project should be put to a referendum, the warden said that she regularly travels all over the Pontiac and has heard from only two people, whom she said were both new residents to the Pontiac, who had concerns about poisonous gases. She reassured them that the MRC was working “hand-in-glove” with the Ministry of Environment, to which they responded “that’s good for us,” she said.
“Although we hear from the advocates against, there is a large majority of people who don’t feel they need to come out to meetings and speak about it,” said the warden.
The 12 municipalities that supported the motion were Alleyn and Cawood, Allumettes Island, Bryson, Calumet Island, Campbell’s Bay, Fort Coulonge, Mansfield, Portage du Fort, Rapides des Joachims, Shawville, Sheenboro and Thorne. The six opposed were Bristol, Chichester, Clarendon, Litchfield, Otter Lake and Waltham.

Warden Jane Toller (right) leading the special meeting of Pontiac mayors convened at the MRC offices in Campbell’s Bay last week.

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