Shawville Sept. 27, 2023
The Pontiac Environmental Protection Association (PEP) held its annual general meeting (AGM) last Wednesday at the Shawville Community Lodge.
The low-key AGM went as planned with some 14 members present either in person or via video feed.
President Deb Powell kept things rolling along, often salting the official order of business with a little candour with regard to her role, and those gathered appreciated the levity. “I should be fired,” she quipped at one moment, inviting light laughter while the assembly made it clear that there was no way that was going to happen.
There was no voting required and the new slate of directors and officers for the coming year isn’t really all that new with Deb Powell, Robert Wills, Barry Stemshorn and Paula Armstrong continuing, and newcomer Cathy Fox rounding out the cast.
The AGM segued into a meeting where there was but one topic on the table: the proposed construction of a garbage incinerator in the Pontiac. In organized and polite fashion, each attendee was asked to speak and was afforded space and attention for the duration. No arguments or rebuttals, just opinions.
Some opinions were very well-informed, both for and against the proposal, and others leaned on passion. All were generally variations of the articles and letters seen in the pages of THE EQUITY since Warden Jane Toller first tabled the idea back in November 2019. Questions of burn-quality, garbage quantity, transportation, location, propriety, public versus private, impact on the Pontiac’s infrastructure and population, Indigenous buy-in/opt-out, comparisons and alternatives were all put forth. Altogether, it was a robust collection of concerns and ideas.
With no consensus within the association on the topic, there is, as yet, no official stance.
The association started out in the early 1970s as the Pontiac Anti-Nuclear Action Committee (PANAC) before rebranding as PEP in 2009 in order to expand its scope and address broader environmental concerns, in addition to those pertaining to the atom.
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