BACKGROUND:(English Follows) Une zone sauvage et rurale de la rivière Gatineau sera bientôt transformée par les effluents d’une usine de traitement des boues septiques et ce, à 30 minutes en amont d’Ottawa. Bien que la municipalité de La Pêche www.villelapeche.qc.ca compte 8 000 résidents permanents, les effluents traiteront les boues de 46 000 individus. Il a déjà une mobilisation importante contre ce plan et le public continue de faire valoir auprès des élus des solutions plus écologiques, notamment celles qui éviteraient des déversements importants dans la rivière. Joignez-vous au mouvement et signez la pétition aujourd’hui:
The MRC des Collines along with the Mayors of LaPeche, Cantley, Chelsea, L’Ange Gardien,Notre-dame-de-la-Salette Pontiac and Val-des-Monts plan to install a $5.4 million dollar septic sludge ‘treatment’ plant which will feature large aeration lagoons and which will drain 200-300 tons of effluent into the Gatineau River above Wakefield and Chelsea EVERY DAY. This toxic cocktail contains pathogenic micro-organisms, viruses, toxic chemicals used in our homes and any compound that has ever gone down a drain, including: endocrine disruptors such as estrogen and a host of estrogen emulators that cause male fish to grow ovaries, pharmaceuticals such as paracetamol, iboprufen and antibiotics; toxic metals such as cadmium, lead, mercury, silver and zinc, synthetic organic chemicals such as brominated flame retardants, dioxins and PCBs — so when the MRC or the Mayors talk about ‘treated effluent’ or ‘tertiary systems’ we have to realize that many many compounds are untreatable never break down, they just accumulate. Beware of excuses such as ‘they do it already in Ottawa’ or ‘there’s already 5 of them on the river’ or ‘ it has to go somewhere’. It’s not OK. These are very, very sad times for the Ottawa River and the St. Lawrence River and polluting the Gatineau River with untreatable compounds will only make those rivers worse too.
To be brief, the current CIMA proposal in front of the MRC Mayors:
DOES NOT offer a REAL cost analysis – for instance the plans do not assign a dollar value to Loss of water quality, Loss of tourism revenue, Environmental degradation, loss of property values etc etc.
DOES NOT: consider any septic treatment technologies that do not require dumping effluent into a large river (either the Gatineau or the Outaiouais)
DOES NOT undertake any additional options modeling (including assessing if the new treatment centre is needed, whether other existing (five?) treatment plants could be used in a more efficient way) —
Achieving water balance will not be easy. The policies, laws, and practices that shape water use today rarely promote all three basic tenets of sustainable resource use – efficiency, equity, and ecological integrity.
Concerned citizens have been trying to use accepted democratic processes and public consultations to seek a more high quality solution since spring of 2010, first by querying the choice of technology selected, and more recently by questioning the choice of sites for the plant and the transparency of the actual process. Opposition to the proposed plant has focused on requesting:
• A halt until a satisfactory environmental audit has been conducted in consultation with real experts in the field
• Proper consideration given to high quality alternative technologies
Essentially, however, the scientific, ecological and economic questions asked by the public have been evaded at every step of the way by our council of seven mayors and the engineers representing them. We suspect, but cannot prove, that inappropriate interests may be coming into play.
In seeking a halt to the proposed plant, the following actions have taken place:
• A website has been created and is regularly updated
• A mission statement is in place
• A petition is allowing people to sign up to opposing the plant
• We are accepting donations which are being channelled towards seeking legal advice as to the routes available to stop the plant
• Videos promoting the cause have been created and circulated
• A letter writing campaign is targeting politicians at three levels of government, media, and decision makers
• We are seeking to make this an issue in the campaigns of the federal candidates in our area
• Local people are attending meetings, marching and organising grass roots events
• A public information poster and advertising campaign is being rolled out this weekend.
• Social media groups have sprung up to raise awareness
• We are ensuring that all municipal meetings are attended by activists
We have access to people with fine minds as well as experience, and have written detailed reports and submissions outlining concerns, providing scientific analysis and possible solutions.
However, while these actions are binding the community together and giving people a sense of hope; we have no indication that they have moved our elected politicians within the seven municipalities to any change in their plans. Past consultations have provided us with an opportunity to voice our concerns but have had no effect.
Therefore we appeal to everyone who is concerned about the river to use all peaceful means at their disposal to stop this plant from becoming a reality.
Bottom line: If you have ideas you’d like to implement – DON’T WAIT. EVERYONE is going to have to live with the results of this disastrous decision so EVERYONE has a role to play in opposing it. Join up with your neighbours, make lawn signs, call the mayors, write to the federal candidates, apply all pressure possible; there IS no central authority on this issue yet, it’s moving too fast and the territory is too spread out and there are no funds for massive last minute campaigns… It’s going to be up to all of us. Go for it!!!