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Letters Already Sent

Small sampling of bilingual, largely unanswered (we are getting pre-fab letters of concern but nothing concrete) letters already sent to press,
municipal Councillors, our MLA, our Federal MP, our Environment Minister, etc., etc scroll down to see list

From Wakefield News 17) GREAT so now we /la peche/are going to pump safe septic ground systems to dump in the river. Makes sense in this consultant ridden nanny state I guess if chelsea is doing it for no good reason must be right, just like recent road closures in that consultant driven munc.. Trust the experts to figure out away to prove their worth at taxpayers expense . ps. holding tanks which need to be pumped are illegal in la peche to install . Are bylaws trying to create septic sludge to justify a plant to haul it to when micro organisms could do the job . Rbm

To local councilor in response to widely held belief that opponents of the plan have not presented alternatives.

Hello ____,
I will try to outline a brief list of alternative strategies:

  • 1) Do Nothing: The river water tests are always good to excellent, so what exactly is the problem again?
  • 2) Co-Operate: Send the sludge to the brand new and under-used plant at Kazabazua and pay a share of the costs to the Upper MRC
  • 3) Keep it local: Expand the excellent and existing sewage treatment plant at Wakefield.
  • 4) Export: Send the sludge to existing commercial facilities in Gatineau, Ottawa-Carleton, Lachute, etc.
  • 5) Expand : Amend the plans for future plants at Farm Point and Chelsea to include the extra capacity to accept MRC septic sludge.
  • 6) Study: Greenhouse/ sand filtration beds/constructed wetlands/ pelleting and incineration, and other technologies that have been used elsewhere for decades.
  • 7) Read: March 2011 paper by Thomas Bernier, PH.D, Ing.available at http://blueskyfolk.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/bernier_septic_waste_treatment_overview.pdf

Please understand that the citizens have indeed been offering alternative strategies, since the very beginning.

Everybody who cares deeply about this issue is doing their best to offer as much information as possible, so that the best result is achieved.

It is the responsibility of you the elected officials and municipal employees to study, analysis and present a plan that is acceptable to the citizens.

Sincerely,
Name removed for privacy reasons –
Farrellton

Quoi Dire? What to Say? – scroll down for multiple sample letters

 

Municipal office:
Municipality of LaPeche
Jacqueline Lambert-Madore
1, route Principale Ouest
La Pêche (Québec) J0X 2W0
Phone : (819) 456-2161
Fax (819) 456-4534Home Office:
Ward 5
Jacqueline Lambert-Madore
819-459-8843
37, chemin des Mûres
La Pêche (Québec) J0X 1A0RE: MRC des Collines Sludge PlantTo Jacqueline Lambert-MadoreAs ratepayers in your jurisdiction within LaPeche we have heard from many sources that you support the idea of the MRC’s septic sludge plant being located in Farrellton and that you in fact ‘volunteered’ that site for use as a sludge plant with a motion to the LaPeche Council in 2009. We are surprised if this is true, because we do not recall you holding a town hall meeting to ask your constituents’ views on such a major issue.Please reconsider your support for this plant. You must already know that there is no urgency to concentrate all MRC sludge in one place because Notre-Dame-de-la-Salette and Ange-Gardien are on record as stating that their sludge will continue to be shipped to the Epersol Facility in Chenierville while the Municipality of Pontiac will have enough excess capacity at their Quyon Plant in June 2012 to treat their own sludge and take the sludge from at least 3 more municipalities within the MRC (according to Pontiac Mayor Eddie McCann who made this claim in front of several citizens including Lucy Scholey: reporter for the Low Down).Let us remind you that the MRC septic waste is currently being treated adequately at pre-existing facilities at no cost to the MRC des Collines. We also think you should consider what this proposed plant will do to the water quality of the Gatineau River. On March 15, 2011 a scientist presented some slides to the Public Hearing in Masham examining the flow rates of the river to start and found the following:
According to the report from CIMA+ (upon which the MRC is basing it’s decision to proceed with lagoon technology) the starting volume of effluent will be between 200 and 300 cubic meters per day during the spring, summer and fall months. This volume will increase by about 50% over the next 20 years given the region’s average population increase of 2% per year. Even now, the river does not have enough capacity or flow to dilute this effluent to the specified dilution level of 1:100,000 during the dry summer and fall months in most years. It will only get worse. This submission and all others can be found on the MRC website.We have also learned that you and members of your council are widely proclaiming that this regional treatment plant will somehow clean up groundwater and lake water.As an elected official who represents the people who will be most directly impacted by this plant let us remind you; we do not need this plant in Farrellton in order to halt septic tank pollution of groundwater and lakes. In fact, these two issues (pumping and the plant itself) are unrelated. Mandatory pumping and moving all this sludge into lagoons at Farrellton will NOT stop defective tanks from leaking into lakes and groundwater. Only Mandatory Inspection and repair of defective septic systems will achieve improved lake and groundwater quality. Inspections could be conducted by existing private septic tank trucking firms provided they were supplied with good camera equipment and a suitable mandate for reporting their findings.We should be developing the river and the valley as a tourist mecca and agricultural showcase for tourists from Montreal, Ottawa and the international convention community that meet at the new Conference Centre in Ottawa and the Lac Leamy Casino Complex.That would ensure sustainable economic development which will respect the quality of life of your constituents. I hope that you will cease and desist from telling people that ‘everyone supports this plant except for some people along the river.” If you checked with residents in Farrellton, Alcove and in areas away from the river too, you will find virtually 100% opposition. When was the last time 120 people came out to a municipal meeting in Farrellton? You should take a lesson from that turnout and from the fact that Mayor Bussiere ‘made a mistake??’ when he twice repeated that the two potential septic sludge plant sites had been ‘taken off the table’ and you even promised a questioner that you’d make sure the links to the motion where both sites were taken off the table would be made available on the website. Either you believed the sites had been ‘taken off the table’ – in which case your constituents could rejoice; or you knew they hadn’t been taken off the table but went ahead and promised that the links would be put on the website for general review knowing full well that the public in front of you, your constituents, were being misled.

There is still time to take a stand and represent the majority of your constituents.

We are counting on you.

 


Mr. Laurent Lessard 9/28/11
Ministre des Affaires municipales, des Régions et de l’Occupation du territoire
10, rue Pierre-Olivier-Chauveau
Québec (Québec) G1R 4J3
Téléphone : 418 691-2050
Télécopieur : 418 643-1795
ministre@mamrot.gouv.qc.ca
Dear Mr Lessard.
I am writing to focus your attention on a very disturbing situation that is rapidly unfolding in the MRC des Collines related to the establishment of a regional septic waste treatment plant. From the time this project was first discovered by residents in the local newspaper in late 2009 (which is how we found out about it), to the present, the MRC Mayors have demonstrated a lack of transparency and a disregard of public input into this very important regional project. As a result, the project is proceeding based on flawed and incomplete research, and ultimately threatens to serously damage the Gatineau River as well as the reputation of the Gatineau River as a pristine beautiful waterway. I am hoping that you, as Minister of Municipal Affairs, will intervene to ensure that our municipal politicians are held accountable to the electorate and listen to the reasoned calls for more research, a better technology and a solution to the septic waste treatment situation that will be the best socially, economically and environmentally for our region.
In 2009, La Peche council voted to provide two sites within its borders as potential locations for the MRC des Collines regional septic waste treatment plant. After La Peche council admitted to citizens that these two sites were chosen without scientific basis, they were removed from the preselected list (or so we were told). A contract that had been issued to CIMA+ to assess the two sites was amended to include new steps such as a septic waste quantities analysis, a technologies analysis and an MRC-wide site selection process, as well as public consultation. The first public consultation yielded many informed submissions, including one from the Friends of the Gatineau River and the Ottawa Riverkeeper. CIMA+ was criticized for not thoroughly researching technology options and for not properly understanding the septic waste quantities of the MRC given that there is no MRC-wide septic pumping and inspection program that would allow for an accurate measure of waste, and given that there hasn’t even been a decision yet by 5 of the Municipalities as to whether or not they will enforce mandatory septic tank pumpouts, and if they do whether it will be on a 2-year or 3-year cycle. The technology proposed was criticised for not meeting upcoming federal standards, and the threat to the Gatineau River of continuing on the path suggested by CIMA+ was made very clear.
The input was virtually ignored, and the consultation report and technology were voted on and accepted at the same council meeting in August 2010. In February of this year, two sites were unveiled by the MRC mayors as the sites that will be further assessed. Both sites are in LaPeche along the Gatineau River, a mere 5 km from each other – this, despite supposedly considering the entire vast MRC. In addition, one of the sites – Echo Dale Road – is the exact same as one that was originally quite randomly selected. And both sites are at the extreme north border of the MRC, far from such municipalities as l’Ange Gardien and the Pontiac.
It is very clear that there are reasons unknown to us for why Echo Dale Road continues to be identified. It is also very clear that the environmental impact on the Gatineau River of building a septic waste treatment plant along its banks using outdated technology will be very grave.
At this meeting it was also revealed that council itself was unaware that one of the municipalities, the Pontiac, was not intending to use this regional plant but would rather build and use their own plant. This situation was not at all part of the research and analysis performed by CIMA+, resulting in a flawed project based on incorrect data. It even brings into question the competency of CIMA+ in conducting this study, as surely this should have been uncovered in their research.
Recently (Tuesday March 15, 2011) the second public consultation was held. Over 300 citizens attended, and over 30 people including scientists, engineers, farmers, artists and business people presented very carefully worded submissions and questions. Flaws in the report were pointed out, including: the lack of data about the actual flow of the Gatineau River; a mathematical error in the report; a site that was selected randomly without application of the criteria; and missing information concerning a technical analysis of sites that had been considered in the past.
My question for you is, for the sake of the environment and the future of the Gatineau River, could the province now intervene in this project? We are concerned that this project is being championed by our Mayors for reasons we have not yet understood and feel that this project as it stands should be turned over to a provincial body – rather than resting in the hands of overburdened municipal politicians who are better able to deal with pressing local concerns rather than such large-scale regional projects – one that is more capable of handling such an important task as building a regional septic waste treatment plant. There are many options that would be more responsible and the first one is to ask that the MRC work with the City of Gatineau to create a state-of-the-art septic waste treatment plant for both the MRC des Collines and the City of Gatineau that would not threaten one of the jewels of Quebec, the Gatineau River.
And for those of you finding out about this issue for the first time, please review the media link at www.savethegatineau.com

Sincerely looking forward to your reply,

Name Removed

MRC POOH-POOH
***********************

Readers will recall the meeting of MRC Des Colline’s mayors last March when over 400 angry area residents attended to protest the proposed Septic Waste Facility to most likely be built at Farrellton. Over 100 questions were posed by more than 30 speakers and further questions were subsequently mailed in.

Shocked by the public’s reaction, and not having done their homework, the mayors were unable to answer the questions and later directed their consulting firm, CIMA+, to do the answering for them. The subsequent report has now been produced and, as predicted, while attempting to answer the public’s questions, does not credibly do so. The MRC has
now hired another firm, supposedly third party, to review CIMA+’s work, so that the MRC can try to justify their original approach.

The public should not be fooled by all of this. Here are only two examples as to why taxpayers are being deceived. Firstly, the MRC has done nothing to ensure that a new garbage waste facility being planned for West Quebec will be designed to also accept septic waste. This is technically possible. Today, one can purchase incineration toilets even for a home.

Secondly, the uncaring MRC is determined not to contest the foolish Quebec Q2r.8 law that requires septic tanks to be forcibly emptied every two years. The CIMA+ report clearly states that the MRC will follow this law no matter what the cost. This law, by far the most severe in all of North America, has not been followed by the majority of Quebec MRC’s because of its foolishness and because no technical justification can be provided by the government.

Of the 7 MRC municipalities, those that have not yet seen bi-annual septic tank pumping will soon be forced to comply. Even Chelsea residents, who are now forced to empty their tanks every 3 years, will have to empty them every 2 years. Homes with only one or two people in them will be forced to pay up to five times more than necessary over a period of 10 years.

Taxpayers will also be forced to pay for a Septic Waste Facility that will be far bigger and much more costly than necessary. Forced high trucking costs and associated pollution will be the norm. Some folks feel that the topical aspect of Quebec construction crime might be implicated in all of this nonsense.

New septic tank systems now require the planning to be done by expensive engineers. To believe that they are designing the tanks to be emptied every two years is ridiculous.
Several municipalities north of Low, that started forced pumping 7 years ago, have admitted to me that their trucks are hauling only water and that the majority of tanks are being emptied unnecessarily. Sadly, none of these municipalities, including Chelsea, have been tracking information about this … because of their fear for the public anger that would ensue if the truth was revealed.

I have two septic tanks on my property (two houses). Both of them are entirely liquid … no crust and no sludge … and will remain so. I will never have to empty my tanks again,
unless forced to, and that will be only after a court process. The Landowner’s Associations of Ontario and of Quebec have strongly stated that municipalities may not trespass upon properties to force septic tank pumping. The MRC needs to do their legal homework on this before proceeding … which they have not done.

Septic waste should be gasified or incinerated by a new West Quebec garbage facility.
The foolish septic tank pumping law needs to be vigorously contested or ignored. No one will go to jail. Residents need to be educated as to what approved products are available to keep their tank contents always liquid.

At enormous cost, the MRC is deliberately pooh-poohing a common sense approach … at the expense of the folks that they are supposed to serve.

Name Removed.

28 October, 2011


 

Dear Mayor Bussiere,

 

I am writing too you as a homeowner, taxpayer and a recent citizen of Quebec.

 

I have been extremely disappointed as a property owner along the Gatineau River at the complete lack of information dissemination and public communication regarding the proposed septic waste treatment facility.

 

I am surprised that there was not a mail out to property owners or an article in the LaPeche newsletter regarding this project.  Why was there not an information session outlining various options that were being considered and locations.  Will there be a referendum for this project so that residents will have an opportunity to vote for the option and location that they prefer?  This would seem to be a necessary part of a democratic process.  The optics of your council here seems to be hoping to move things along quickly so that there is little opportunity for public questions or resistance.

 

Hopefully the reoccurring errors like the one that  occurred at the November council meeting regarding the abandoning of the project that suddenly turned into postponing the project until June will stop right away.  And that the taxpayers will be given the opportunity to see the options and locations that are being considered prior to project approval.

 

As a new resident of Quebec I do expect transparency and democratic process tob e prioritites of your municipal council and all of the projects that LaPeche engages in.

 

Sincerely,

 


Stephanie Vallee MNA
124 av. Gatineau
Gatineau QC J8T 4J6

RE: MRC des Collines Sludge Treatment Plant

We are writing you again to ask that you intervene with the MRC des Collines, and particularly its Prefect, Robert Bussiers to ensure that LaPEceh and MRC tax payers’s rights to sound environmental protection , and wise use of our dollars are respected.

Given that at least 3 out of 7 municipalities of the MRC- ie. Pontiac, Notre-Dame-de-La-Sallette and Ange-Gardien will NOT be using the proposed sludge lagoons, and that existing or soon to be built sludge/sewage treatment plants exist at Fort Colonge, Cheneville and Quyon: there is no justification for the MRC to spend thousands of our tax dollars on further planning and pseudo-consultations in regards these redundant sludge lagoons.

We would like to see the Province and MRC promote the Gatineau River Valley as a tourism and agro-gastronomical l mecca. We are just 50 KM from Ottawa/Gatineau – with it’s combined regional population of over 1million people. We beg you to use all the power and influence of your position to stop the MRC’s plan to irreversibly damage the Gatineau River.

No matter what anyone says, there is NO WAY the river will be made cleaner by trucking and dumping septic sludge effluent from Buckingham, Breckenridge and Masham into the Gatineau River.

Sincerely,


Mr. Sam Hamad
Minister of Transport
500, boul, Rene-Levesque Quest
Montreal (Quebec)
H4Z 1W7

Subject: Establishment of a Regional Septic Waste Treatment facility within the MRC des Collines –

Dear Minister,

The following is to bring to your attention a matter of critical importance falling within your ministerial responsibility and in respect of which I would ask that your staff prepare a detailed briefing note for your immediate review and action.

As you may be aware, the MRC des Collines in the Outaquais has engaged the services of a Quebec based engineering firm CIMA+ dating back to December, 2009 for the purpose of conducting a study on the establishment of a regional septic waste treatment facility within the territory of the MRC des Collines. The MRC is in the final stages of this process with the view to commencing construction in the summer of 2011.

Over the course of the past 14 months, CIMA+ has completed a report on the technologies and needs analysis and more recently, as of February 17, 2011, has tabled a report on the location of two potential sites for this regional facility. CIMA+ will be providing its’ recommendation as to which of these two sites is to be selected in the coming weeks. Hence, there is an urgent need for the involvement of the Ministry of Transport in this matter. Both of these sites are located in the Municipality of La Peche and both within the small community of Farrellton, QC, located at the most northerly boundary of the municipality.

The entire process surrounding this initiative has been the subject of much criticism as a matter of municipal governance, a lack of effective public consultation, environmental concerns, financial accountability and highway traffic safety issues. Local politicians at both municipal and MRC levels have heard from various groups and concerned citizens on these issues, all of which is now part of the public record. The legitimate concerns of these groups and citizens have been dismissed or disregarded without adequate explanation by both the MRC Prefect, Mr. Robert Busierre, representing the MRC council of mayors and by the contracted engineering firm CIMA+. Indeed, as part of the public consultation process, the CIMA+ studies have been shown to be flawed in a number of material respects which I would now ask that your staff review in detail.

In particular, I would ask that you review the highway traffic issues associated with this matter. The next public consultation on this issue is scheduled to be held on March 15, 2011. It would, of course, be beneficial if someone from your department could attend this meeting to address any highway traffic issues that might arise.

While the CIMA + reports are available on the MRC des Collines website, a community blog has been created by concerned citizens to document the various stages and issues associated with this file, including, all relevant background information and documentation. I would urge you to consult this blog at: http://blueskyfolk.wordpress.com/

I have also previously written to your colleague, Ms Stephanie Vallee, MNA for the Pontiac region (recently cc’d to you) and to the Honourable Lawrence Cannon MP, outlining a number of these concerns and demanding specific action. Most notably, that all federal and provincial funding be withheld from this initiative until the entire process has been the subject of a thorough and rigorous review by all relevant federal and provincial agencies, including, the Quebec Ministry of Transport.

This most recent report by CIMA+ addresses an issue that falls directly under your purview and responsibility and for which your department is required to conduct an independent assessment and ultimately provide the requisite authorizations and approvals. This issue concerns the construction of access roads from provincial highway 105 and the transportation safety issues associated therewith. The authors of the study have drawn conclusions with regard to this issue on which I would argue they have no expertise nor have they provided any analysis in support of their conclusions

The purpose of this letter, therefore, is to specifically request that your department thoroughly review the transportation issues associated with the two sites now under consideration: 1) at the junction of Echodale Rd and Rte 105 ( referred to as Site A); and 2) north of the community of Farrellton on Rte 105 ( referred to as Site B). The specific locations and details of which can be found in the above mentioned study on the MRC des Collines website, the relevant excerpt from which is follows:

4.2.2 Accessibilité
L’accès aux deux sites à partir de la route 105 se fait dans des zones où la
route offre des voies de dépassement. Au site A, la route 105 est relativement
droite et possède deux voies en direction nord et deux voies en direction sud.
Au site B, la route 105 est relativement droite et possède deux voies en
direction nord et une voie en direction sud.
Le site A est facilement accessible du chemin Echo Dale et ne nécessite pas la
construction d’un long chemin d’accès. Par contre, le site B nécessite la
construction d’un chemin d’accès d’environ 300 mètres à partir de la route 105.
Le site A offre donc un avantage à ce chapitre.

In its analysis of these two sites, you should note that CIMA+ has concluded that it will be necessary to move Echodale Rd further to the south. Also, that the Echodale Rd site, having two lanes in both directions offers an advantage over proposed Site B (to the north of Farrellton) from a highway traffic access perspective and that there are no particular highway safety concerns. This conclusion is, in my view completely, without merit and cannot be allowed to stand without your departments’ direct involvement and intervention.

Highway 105 is an extremely busy highway with high traffic volumes and a number of designated passing lanes along its route. The Echodale Rd junction is a particularly dangerous section of highway and has been the site of many near accidents as a result of left turning vehicles from the left passing lane from the south and a curved passing lane with poor visibility from the north. Speeding is also an issue and the MRC des Collines police regularly set up speed radar operations at this location, in respect of which I am sure statistics are readily available.

Even in the event that Echodale Rd were to be moved further to the south, as is being proposed, would not, in my view, mitigate these dangers and would necessitate extensive traffic engineering studies in its own right. Indeed this stretch of highway was upgraded and re-surfaced as recently as the fall of 2010. To have heavy truck traffic entering and exiting this location would most certainly result in increased likelihood of accidents and hence increased risk of injury and death.

As I am sure your officials are well aware, left hand turns from passing lanes are the subject of numerous highway traffic safety studies in Quebec and elsewhere. In the event that this project was to proceed without having conducted extensive highway traffic studies your department would most certainly be subject to civil liability.

In light of these concerns, I am requesting your departments’ immediate intervention in this matter such that any further decisions at the MRC level not take place until your officials have conducted a thorough and comprehensive review of the two sites in question and be made available to the general public.

I look forward to your timely reply as well as an indication as to whether your department is prepared to intervene in this matter and/or what action will be taken in this regard.

Sincerely,

march 24, 2011

Dear Ms Vallee,

As a resident of La Peche in your riding, I am writing to you to lodge my strong opposition to the plan by the MRC Des Collines to discharge treated effluent from the septic tanks of over 60,000 people into the Gatineau River at Farrellton. According to the Gatineau Valley Watershed Authority website, this treatment plant will be, by far, the largest source of treated human effluent going into the Gatineau – the next largest is from the Maniwaki sewage treatment plant which services only 6,500 people. So this plant would be almost 10 times larger, and will get bigger fast as the population here grows.

The Gatineau River is a rare and precious resource for communities all along the river. The Quebec Ministry of Environment lists it as one of the top 10 cleanest rivers in southern Quebec. According to the MRC, 5% of the MRC population takes their drinking water direct from the river; that means many hundreds of people in La Peche, Chelsea and Cantley. Thousands more people swim, fish and boat on the river all summer. It is an economic driver for eco-tourism in the entire region. Properties along the river are among the most highly valued in the region. Two real estate agents working out of Wakefield, have publicly stated that land values along the river will be negatively affected if this plant goes ahead.

No technology is fool-proof. Pumps fail, UV lamps burn-out, people make mistakes. Have we learned nothing from the Walkerton tragedy, which involved both human error and mechanical failure? Why have that sword hanging over our heads? Why take the risk, when other options are available for better technology and different sites which do not involve any effluent going into the Gatineau? The present situation, in which septic tank waste is trucked to Fort Cologne, does not cost MRC taxpayers a single dime – the spetic tank owners like me pay for the transport. And I for one do not mind paying this fee every 2-4 years, if it means that a better, more environmentaly sound solution is eventually found.

I therefore appeal to you to use any influence that you can to get the MRC to reconsider this plan.

Yours most sincerely,

-Name removed for privacy reasons

To: mathieu.ravignat@parl.gc.ca

Sent: Monday, November 28, 2011 12:44 PM

Subject: Really? You forget our river?

Hello Mr. Ravignat,

Re: Your Community Newsletter Fall 2011

We were astonished to see absolutely no mention of the planned septic sludge plant in Farrellton, which will discharge dangerous and toxic wastewater into
the Gatineau River, a major waterway and a precious resource that runs through the heart of your riding.

If protected, it will be the source of excellent drinking water for future generations, and it is all of our duty to protect it, YOU INCLUDED!

This is one of our region’s gravest concerns, and your constituents deserve some leadership and support from you.

So please, wake up.

Sincerely.

Name removed..

From a lifelong cottager in Tenaga

Dear MRC Prefect Bussiere,

I live in Tenaga, Chelsea and I am deeply concerned about the regional septic sludge treatment plant that is currently being rushed through to development.

The health and well-being of the Gatineau River is absolutely central to the lives of myself, my extended family, and my community in Tenaga. My mother-in-law first came here with her future husband some 70 years ago, beginning a life-long love affair with this region that she has passed on to her children and grandchildren. She and her peers built this community alongside the Gatineau on that shared love, and the Tenaga which started as a summer retreat has since become a beloved year-round home to many of their offspring, including myself and my husband.

Every summer our community expands dramatically as all the extended members of our families return to share their holidays in this place where they all grew up together. We meet on and along the river daily, to swim, to boat, to walk, to beat the heat, to play, to relax, to fish. We put our shared rafts and booms out every June together, and pull them in again every Labour Day weekend. We hold our annual Regatta on the river every August long weekend, and that event is considered the highlight of the year in this community.

I don’t think I could overstate the loss to us all if cumulative environmental damage barred us from doing more that overlooking the Gatineau River from a safe distance. I believe in long-term thinking. I believe in taking communal responsibility for careful stewardship of the environmental legacy we pass on to our children. I value that in Chelsea, and in Tenaga, I have been fortunate enough to find my home in a municipality where that mindset and ethos is shared with so many others. Toxins dumped into rivers, even in small quantities, do not simply float away. They accumulate in the riverbed and the living tissue of the flora and fauna of the river system, and they irrevocably alter the health and balance of the river over time.

Yours sincerely,

name Removed for privacy reasons


Great open letter to Lawrence Cannon, Pontiac Conservative Candidate and former Minister of Foreign Affairs

April 11th, 2011

Dear Mr. Cannon,

I am writing to you regarding the proposed regional sewage treatment plant in the MRC des Collines.

I do recognize that the project falls under the jurisdiction of the MRC. However, I find your rapid dismissal of this issue rather ironic, seeing as you just allocated $600,000 to the Wakefield Mill (which overlooks the Gatineau River itself), to increase tourist revenues in the region.

The federal government also allocated $10,000,000 to the municipal water and wastewater network for Zitigan Zibi just north of us, so clearly investing in such infrastructure projects is not out of federal scope.

The Gatineau River is a regional and national treasure that must be protected. The proposed plant is not a minor project – it is one that could potentially permanently change the nature of the river, and affect the health and safety of the residents who drink from it and swim in it, and negatively affect its tourist- attraction potential.

Are you aware that there are already seven septic treatment plants that dump their effluent in the Gatineau River, and they have all had “over-flow events”?

Are you aware that there is no governing body that is mandated to actively protect the Gatineau River watershed as a whole, to ensure that the cumulative effects of all of this waste are well managed?

Admittedly, there is the Quebec Ministry of Sustainable Development, Environment and Parks, but based on a conversation I had with a Ministry representative for the Outaouais, they seem fairly removed from the enforcement of regulations surrounding the operation of municipal wastewater treatment plants.

When Minister of the Environment Jim Prentice announced the new federal wastewater regulations in Montreal last March, he said: “We are working hard to live up to Canada’s reputation as the land of pristine waters, a conscientious steward of a precious environment ….”

Where is our conscientious steward now?

I would like to know if we can rely on you to champion the protection of the Gatineau River, in recognition of its intrinsic value as a freshwater resource and for its potential in a region that is already well known for its tourism. The residents of your riding are already leading the way.

Would you be prepared to work with local groups to persuade the Mayors and Council that this issue deserves more careful thought, and that perhaps more innovative technologies should, at the very least, be considered?

Thank you,

name removed

Wakefield Resident

CC:

Cindy Duncan McMillan, Liberal Candidate, Pontiac, Quebec

Stéphanie Vallée, Member for Gatineau, Quebec Liberal Party

Pierre Arcand, Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment and Parks, Quebec

Minister of the Environment, Peter Kent


Here is a recent communication from Dr. André Martel, malacologist at the Canadian Museum of Nature, and Patrick LaLiberté MRC des Collines March 30, 2011

Translated from French Original: here: French Original Correspondence Hello Mr. Laliberté

Concerning the proposed construction of a treatment plant pumping tanks along the Gatineau.

I am of the opinion that this mill should not be built near a river, at least not of the caliber of the Gatineau.

I know the aquatic organisms that live there, for having made scuba diving and seen for myself the various species of freshwater mussels that live there, and that near the site in question. I worked on dozens of rivers across Canada and I can attest to the quality of the Malacological Gatineau River. There are a variety of mussel species in this system.

I would be happy to discuss this with the engineers if necessary.

Do you have contacts to suggest me for such discussions?

Andre

March 31, 2011

Thank you for the opportunity to express views, scientific data, similarly

Q: If the rejection of the treatment plant should not be done in a river, what do you prefer receiving environment then? (There will be a point of discharge of treated water, this is inevitable)

A: The best habitat is a wetland, a large swamp, where there is vegetation type commonly found in swamps, young willows, cattails, grasses, etc.; flat land with this type of wetland absorbs very large amount of nutrients and decomposed, including fecal coliform, fecal coliform will in fact become an important part of the organic material that the microorganisms will use as a source of nitrogen (N) and Phosphose (P). If the land is right (flat, marsh, etc.), then any excess liquid comes out of the treatment plant will be used by wildlife of billions of microorganisms present among submerged vegetation marsh / wetland. The amount of coliform that can assimilate a wetland, marsh, is staggering. The productivity of such a place becomes very high and waterfowl benefits equally, it is a win-win.

Q: On what basis do you assess the caliber of the Gatineau River is inadequate?

A: Patrick, for class I hear that this river is too high”class”and that compared to other rivers found in the region. I am referring to its biodiversity, its potential in terms of number of species of interest in sports or not – I will not elaborate on the use of interest or swimmers, boaters, fishermen). Molluscan fauna (freshwater mussels, etc.) and ichthyological (fish) is much higher than that of adjacent rivers in the region (apart from the derivatives of Ottawa). So in terms of biodiversity I say that Gatineau is too high caliber for receiving these effluents.

Another important point: the ecosystem of the Gatineau has already been greatly altered by human communities over the past 150 years: thousands of logs that still cover the bottom in several places, presence of large dams, among others. This could happen with the construction of the plant in question is the ecological phenomenon rather full of mud that began to reverse / hypothesis of the ‘tipping point. We mean by this that the ecosystem of the Gatineau has already impacted and is no longer wild, making it more susceptible to additional anthropogenic stress, if we added another ‘pressure’ significant ecosystem (eg excess nutrient type P, P and coliforms), then we could see the phenomenon of eutrophication in quiet areas of the river further downstream, eg. near the dam Chelsea – ref. surface waters, especially. This eutrophication (ie explosion or harmful phytoplankton blooms, such toxic unicellular algae) could, if realized, in less than a week of summer heat, serve no swimming, and water with a very distinct smell, a problem for thousands of people who live near the river or use.

Q: Considering that the rejection of the plant will be highly treated and meets the provincial and federal standards, how the species listed below are they at risk?

A: It’s the entire ecosystem as a whole I would consider at risk more than just one or a few species. I am particularly concerned by the amount of nitrogen, phosphorus, and coliform. In 10 or 20 years, what will result from this plant on the aquatic ecosystem in Gatineau? Amid increasingly been hotter heat waves becoming more common, this excess of nutrients may take a different turn. For me, choosing a swamp or wetland, in the same region, is the right thing to do.

Patrick, I hope that some information you will be of some use in your work.

– name removed


Bonjour M. Laliberté,

Ce n’est que très récemment que nous avons réalisé que la qualité de l’eau de la rivière Gatineau sera irrémédiablement affecté si les projets de la MRC des collines relativement à la construction de l’usine de traitement des boues sceptiques sont accomplis tels que proposés. Mon fils de 8 ans, moi-même et mon conjoint nous baignons dans la rivière Gatineau régulièrement au cours de l’été. La qualité de son eau contribue à notre qualité de vie et justifie pour nous de vivre dans un village éloigné des grands centres. À chaque été nous constatons que de nombreuses personnes parcourent des dizaines de kilomètres en provenance d’Ottawa et de Gatineau justement pour profiter de cette magnifique rivière. Sa propreté et limpidité encouragent nombre de touristes à venir s’y baigner contribuant par le fait même à la viabilité économique de Wakefield.

La technologie proposée…

La consultation qui a eu lieu le 15 mars dernier visait exclusivement la sélection des sites pour la construction de l’usine. J’aimerais demander à ce que la consultation soit étendue également à la technologie utilisée pour l’usine et ce pour les raisons suivantes:

– La consultation qui a eu lieu au cours du mois de juin dernier n’a pas été adéquatement publicisée et les commentaires qui y ont été formulés ne semblent pas avoir été pris en compte dans le rapport final menant à la décision des maires de la MRC.

– Les expertises soumises, incluant celles de Meredith Brown, directrice exécutive de Sentinelle Outaouais, ingénieure et experte en matière de traitement de boues secptiques, ont été rejetées sans explication.

– Personne n’a eu accès à une vue globale et complète de la technologie retenue par la municipalité afin de la commenter. Ce n’est que très récemment qu’une description plus précise des intentions de la MRC a finalement été rendue publique.

– Plusieurs personnes ont offerts des opinions très éclairées sur des technologies alternatives qui pourraient être utilisés lors de la réunion du 15 mars dernier. Il semble qu’il n’est jamais trop tard pour considérer ces nouvelles opinions et changer d’avis sur la technologie lorsqu’un enjeu aussi important que la pureté de la rivière Gatineau est en jeu.

Au sujet des sites…

Nous soumettons que les deux sites choisis sont beaucoup trop près de la rivière et risquent de la polluer à jamais. Votre argument voulant que la rivière soit très peu utilisée comme source d’eau potable comme justification pour déverser des effluents sceptiques dans la rivière ne tient pas la route. Cet argument ne tient pas compte de la possibilité que des municipalités choisissent dans l’avenir de tirer leur eau potable de la rivière. La municipalité de Chelsea a récemment fait allusion à la possibilité de tirer de l’eau potable pour ses résidents de la rivière.

En outre, un système qui utilise une technologie de tranchée d’infltration risque d’affecter beaucoup moins de gens qu’une technologie qui utilise la rivière. En effet, il y a des territoires dans La Pêche où la densité de population est très basse. Un système de décantation dans ce genre d’endroit ne risque pas d’affecter un grand nombre de personnes qui utilisent la nappe d’eau souterraine pour leur eau potable. En outre, la filtration naturelle par la terre risque de purifier considérablement l’eau qui sera déversée et il est fort probable que l’eau des gens qui habitent dans les environs ne sera pas affecté. Par contre, en polluant la rivière Gatineau avec des affluents sceptiques, ce sont des milliers de personnes qui seraient effectés. Dans certains cas parce qu’il se servent de la rivière pour boire, mais surtout parce qu’ils jouissent quotidiennement des avantages d’une rivière propre. Tel que mentionné précédemment, une rivière propre est un moteur économique important pour la région.

Nous vous demandons ardemment de faire tout en votre pouvoir pour sauver notre rivière. Elle reçoit déjà sa part de pollution à Maniwaki et Kazabazua, ne la saturons pas d’avantage de matières fécales, de phosphore, de médicaments, etc.

Merci de porter attention à cette soumission


Sierra Club Canada — March 30, 2011
412-1 Nicholas St. Ottawa ON K1N 7B7 (613) 241-4611
info@sierraclub.ca
Dear Sir and/or Madame,

I am writing to you today about an imminent threat to the Gatineau River above Wakefield Quebec (25 minutes from the Nation’s Capital and draining into the Ottawa River within the Ottawa city limits) in the form of a 10 acre septic sludge sewage lagoon facility which will service at least 60,000 people.

As a property owner on the Gatineau River above Wakefield I am shocked by the scale of the project and the lack of transparency of the entire process from selection of the technology, to the selection of two potential sites both on property with Agricultural Zoning. In utter disregard for the pristine nature of the the river itself and the staunch rural population who have managed the land using sustainable farming and crop rotation methods for almost 200 years; the icing on the cake is that two proposed sites are both located within plain view of the TransCanada Trail. This is a tragedy for the Gatineau River AND the “up the Gatineau” and “Gatineau Park” brands. Will our national capital visitors be able to distinguish between the NCC Gatineau Park and the river both named ‘Gatineau’? I doubt it. Won’t they prefer to go to Algonquin Park where they know FOR SURE that no local authorities have snuck in a septage lagoon and polluted the waterways?

To date we, a collection of individuals who have rallied; written 100s letters; signed petitions, circulated videos and attended public hearings but have received only the brusquest of replies from our MP (his assistant has replied to others that the matter is of Municipal concern and his office would keep our letter on file – although he hasn’t replied directly to me) and to date NOBODY receives replies from our LaPeche Mayor Robert Bussiere nor our MLA Stephanie Vallee.

What is all the more curious about the lack of responsiveness from our Provincial and Federal representatives is that we believe they will be providing the bulk of the infrastructure money. Attached you will find an email I sent a month ago to which only the Ottawa River Keeper and the Minister of the Environment for Québec has replied. In the opinion of many concerned citizens, the introduction of this facility is the sword of Damocles (or a gateway to hell project) where we’d only be one major spill away from ruining the river forever. We know it is always difficult for third parties to ‘get up to speed’ on environmental issues so we have prepared a chronology which is available on the website at:

http://tinyurl.com/4jb4nq5
=

There is also a link for journalists and some background information at www.savethegatineau.com and our main page has links to articles in the local paper, CBC, CTV and the Ottawa Citizen. This issue has also been covered in French by Le Droit and TVA (television).

My goal in contacting your organization is to see if your team has any ideas or strategies that might help us spread our message and get our Council of Mayors to change their mind about selecting a site and proceeding to tender on this outdated technology in the next few weeks (Either April 21 or may 19th, 2011)

Even if this current problem does not fall within your mandate, I would greatly appreciate it if you’d take a moment and think if you personally know anyone in Cantley, Chelsea or Wakefield who should be aware of this impending decision and might want to sign our petition or attend the next MRC meeting in Chelsea (see website for details).

Thanks for your time today,

We’re fortunate to have organizations like yours in our midst.

Sincerely, Farrellton Property Owner

www.savethegatineau.com | http://twitter.com/savethegatineau | http://www.youtube.com/thegatineauriver
CC: Ottawa River Keeper
EcoLapeche Concerned Citizens Coalition
Lawrence Cannon, MP
Stephanie Vallee, MLA
Cindy Duncan-MacMillian, Federal Liberal Candidate
Steve Connolly, Gatineau Valley Landowners Association



March 30, 2011 – Here is another letter sent to Lawrence Cannon’s office. Patrick Connor has sent two letters to his office and phoned them once. You can add this to the letters sent section of the Save the Gatineau site and others.
Subject: proposed septic facility on Gatineau River

Honourable Mr. Cannon,

I am still awaiting a reply to the email I sent on March 24 regarding the proposed septic facility on the Gatineau River. I am discouraged by your lack of response on this issue as the threat of this project has become a central concern to residents of this region. The Gatineau River is at the fundamental core of the communities of Chelsea, Wakefield and Cantley and in the hearts of many who continue to visit and enjoy the region.

This project is being rushed through by the mayors of the MRC des Collines without, amongst other crucial elements, proper public consultation and process and an environmental assessment. The lack of the latter is truly shocking to me in that the risks to the health of this region and its residents are being ignored. What are the risks? Without a proper environmental assessment we just don’t know. Will there be e-coli outbreaks on the river in the future? Will there be outbreaks of blue green algae as there has been in the Baskatong Resevoir, making the river unswimmable and the water undrinkable? Are we threatening a resource that not only bolsters our tourist economy but could also be a potential source for clean drinking water in the future? Is our federal government ,which has made a strong commitment to protect nationwide this most precious of resources, clean water, abandoning us? The liberal candidate, Cindy McMillan has stated emphatically, that she will not stand by and allow the Gatineau river to be polluted and, in fact, the protection of the river will be a top priority for her.

My question to you is: When are you going to take a stand on this issue? Or is this a foreshadowing of how things will be if you are re-elected, strong policy and promises with no action to support it. Please become involved in this issue. As our representative in Ottawa, you have a mandate to protect our waterways. We have given you this trust. The Gatineau River is critically important to us.

If you stand by silently while this potentially destructive project is carried out without proper process or any environmental testing whatsoever, it will not be forgotten.

Sincerely,
Name removed


info@ncc-ccn.ca National Capital Commission – March 30, 2011–

202–40 Elgin Street
Ottawa ON K1P 1C7

Dear Sir and/or Madame,

I am writing to you today about an imminent threat to the Gatineau River above Wakefield Quebec (25 minutes from Parliament Hill and draining into the Ottawa River within the Ottawa city limits) in the form of a 10 acre septic sludge sewage lagoon facility which will service at least 60,000 people.
In utter disregard for the pristine nature of the the Gatineau River itself and the staunch rural population who has managed the land using sustainable farming methods for almost 200 years; the two proposed sites supported by the Council of Mayors of the MRC des Collines are both located within plain view of the TransCanada Trail. — this is a tragedy for the Gatineau River AND the “Gatineau Park” brand. Will our national capital visitors be able to distinguish between the NCC Gatineau Park and the river both named ‘Gatineau’? I doubt it. Won’t they prefer to go to Algonquin Park where they know FOR SURE that no local authorities have snuck in a septage lagoon and polluted the waterways?
I believe that the NCC can invoke it’s extra ordinary powers to stop this process by demanding that the Council of Mayors of the MRC des Collines explain their actions by using the powers and purposes invested in the NCC under the National Capital Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. N-4) http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/N-4/page-5.html#h-6 After reviewing the National Capital Act and understanding that the Gatineau Valley is the virtual summertime playground of Ottawans and therefore part of the cultural boundaries of the National Capital, it is impossible to believe that the National Capital Area DOES NOT include Chelsea, Wakefield and Farrellton. Indeed the NCC’s Gatineau Park runs alongside these villages as does a Federally and Provincially sponsored Rail Way line http://www.steamtrain.ca/PDF/com_en.pdf Almost $6 million dollars has just been spent on the railway lines in the last few years alone – some of it Federal funds. Also, the Trans-Canada trail; which could have chosen to build their pathways through the Gatineau Park; a place of rare beauty; instead chose to run it along the railway line which also follows the banks of the Gatineau River all the way to Farrellton thereby confirming the importance of the area as a national treasure. The NCC also has the objective to:
(b) organize, sponsor or promote such public activities and events in the National Capital Region as will enrich the cultural and social fabric of Canada, taking into account the federal character of Canada, the equality of status of the official languages of Canada and the heritage of the people of Canada. And the power to
(g) administer, preserve and maintain any historic place or historic museum;
Therefore it would certainly be within your mandate to prevent any perceived devaluation of your “Gatineau Park” brand in particular and the National Capital Area in general, especially when the towns of Chelsea, Wakefield and Farrellton are examples of Canada’s lumber-town heritage and the respect of Canadians and Quebecers for linguistic minorities and the protection of traditional ways of life. I look forward to your reply and the input of any of the concerned parties included in the CC of this letter. With appreciation,

Farrellton Property Owner
www.savethegatineau.com | http://twitter.com/savethegatineau | http://www.youtube.com/thegatineauriver
CC: Ottawa River Keeper
EcoLapeche Concerned Citizens Coalition
Lawrence Cannon, MP
Stephanie Vallee, MLA
Cindy Duncan-MacMillian, Federal Liberal Candidate
Steve Connolly, Gatineau Valley Landowners Association
Peter Kent, Federal Environment Minister
Claude Doucet, LA COMPAGNIE DE CHEMIN DE FER DE L’OUTAOUAIS (CCFO)
H.C.W. Steam Train
MRC des Collines Mayors:
LaPeche, Robert Bussière: (819) 456-2161
Cantley, Stephen Harris: (819) 827-3434
Chelsea, Caryl Green: (819) 827-1124
L’Ange Gardien, Robert Goulet (819) 986-7470
Notre-dame-de-la-Salette, Daniel Malette: (819) 766-2533
Pontiac, Edward J McCann: (819) 455-2401
Val-des-Monts, Jean Lafrenière: (819) 457-9400
CC:Patrick Laliberte, MRC Des Collines


Sent to MLA and Mayor

Nous sommes des résidents de Chelsea qui vivent près de la limite municipale de La Pêche (Wakefield). Nous vous écrivons pour exprimer notre frustration en ce qui concerne les décisions prises par les deux conseils municipaux qui ne reflètent pas nécessairement la volonté des contribuables.

Chelsea propose un projet d’eau potable et d’égout de plusieurs millions de dollars à Old Chelsea. Le Conseil estime que cette nouvelle infrastructure permettra d’attirer de nouvelles entreprises et des résidents, mais de nombreux villageois et les entreprises existantes veulent maintenir le statu quo et le caractère rural du village. Des puits artésiens et fosses septiques fournissent les besoins à tous à l’heure actuelle. Selon Paul St-Louis, directeur général de la municipalité de Chelsea, le projet des eaux usées coûtera 7,7 millions de dollars. Il y a une subvention de 2,4 millions de dollars, les entreprises et les résidents directement touchés par le projet devront payer 5 millions de dollars. Les 300.000 dollars restants seront payés par tous les autres résidents de Chelsea.

Les travaux de construction commenceront bientôt à Chelsea sur le Centre Meredith, un projet de plusieurs millions de dollars qui a été approuvée par seulement 53% de la population dans un référendum municipal. Le Centre Meredith est un centre multifonctionnel avec une aréna, gymnase et centre communautaire. Le projet a divisé la municipalité et si un référendum avait lieu aujourd’hui à Chelsea il y a de bonnes chances que le projet serait rejeté. Ce projet a été modifié pour ne pas dépasser l’enveloppe budgétaire et nous apprenons maintenant que le site proposé pour le Centre Meredith nécessitera un investissement financier important afin de stabiliser le sol sur le chantier.

Une lettre au rédacteur en chef du ” Low Down “, a soulevé la question de l’absence “d’une étude hydrogéologique sur le chemin Old Chelsea pour évaluer si un puits peut fournir les besoins du centre en eau potable. La mairesse a noté qu’une étude sera faite, mais seulement après que le contrat a été accordé et le projet est en cours. L’étude pourrait révéler que le puits n’est pas une solution viable. Nous serons alors face à une situation où nous avons une installation en cours de construction qui n’a pas de source d’eau à l’exception d’un projet d’infrastructure municipale qui n’a pas été approuvé à lequel il y a de plus en plus d’opposition.”

Les gouvernements fédéral et provincial semblent être réticents à subventionner un centre multifonctionnel de 80 millions de dollars dans la ville voisine de Gatineau parce que leur Conseil est divisé et il n’y a pas de consensus auprès des résidents quant à la nécessité et l’emplacement proposé de ce centre. Selon le quotidien “Le Droit”, les conseillers de Gatineau sont actuellement contre ce projet par une marge de 10 à 8, cependant, Chelsea, a été en mesure d’obtenir du financement pour le Centre Meredith, malgré un vote serré. Les plans pour le Centre continue à changer en raison des contraintes financières. Les contribuables seront certainement aux prises avec une dette à long terme.

Dans La Pêche (Wakefield), il y a une grande préoccupation avec le prolongement de l’autoroute 5. La construction de ce prolongement risque de compromettre la viabilité d’une source proche d’eau potable (qui est utilisé par des milliers de résidents sur une base régulière) ainsi que bloquer l’accès à la zone récréative du lac Brown. Il y aura un échangeur massif à l’entrée du village qui aura un impact négatif comme destination touristique. Les études environnementales ont été effectuées dans les années 1980 et le feu vert à été donné pour la reprise du chantier qui semble être en conflit avec les normes environnementales provinciale présentement en vigueur et la nouvelle loi des eaux souterraines qui a été adoptée en 2009. Il y a également une préoccupation avec le nombre d’accidents mortels qui se produisent sur la route 105, ce qui a été l’une des raisons invoquées pour le prolongement de l’autoroute 5. Ce prolongement apportera encore plus de trafic et plus de développement pour la région. Nous savons tous que la vitesse tue. Pourquoi ne pas essayer une approche préventive – de réduire et de faire respecter la limite de vitesse avec une présence policière régulière sur la route 105. L’autoroute sera profitable à tous, mais pas les résidents.

Le maire de La Pêche est prêt à exproprier une parcelle de terrain juste au sud de Wakefield actuellement l’emplacement du parc Echo Eco. Il veut refaire le zonage de ces terres pour qu’elles deviennent soit un parc industriel, un parc industriel léger ou tout simplement un parc d’affaires (Nous obtenons une nouvelle définition presque à chaque semaine !) Le parc a déjà un locataire potentiel qui sera un producteur de produits en plastique. Nous ne savons pas l’impacte de ce nouveau produit sur l’environnement. Le maire est dans le secteur de Masham et ne seraient pas directement touchés par ce parc. Ce serait une autre source de pollution visuelle ainsi qu’une source de pollution industriel dans une région qui dépend du tourisme et les activités récréatives saisonnières pour sa subsistance. La possibilité d’emploi plutôt que le souci de l’environnement est devenue la priorité.

Les sept maires de la MRC des Collines se sont récemment réunis afin de discuter de l’emplacement d’un site de traitement des eaux usées septiques. Ce site serait situé soit à La Pêche (Wakefield) ou à Farrelton. Nous ne croyons pas que les maires ont été bien servis par CIMA+. Ces préoccupations découlent du fait qu’ont a pas accordé une considération suffisante à l’impact environnemental sur la rivière Gatineau dans le rapport. Nous sommes également préoccupés du fait que les auteurs du rapport semblent manquer de connaissances ou de volonté afin d’envisager d’autres sites ou des options techniques en dehors d’une usine de traitement à grande échelle unique. Nous notons également que dans le rapport qu’aucun effort n’a été fait afin de s’assurer que les nouvelles normes fédérales de l’environnement soient respectées dès le début. En outre, le nouveau centre de traitement dans le secteur Farm Point de Chelsea n’est toujours pas opérationnel à cause de fuites dans le système. Le rapport ne tient pas compte de l’environnement, du tourisme, et l’impact social de ce plan. Et enfin, rappelons-nous que la rivière Gatineau se déverse dans la rivière de l’Outaouais. (Ottawa River)

La rivière Gatineau est une ressource unique, qui doit être défendue pour les générations futures.

S’il vous plaît nous confirmer que vous aller nous aider à assurer qu’il y ait un moratoire aux propositions pour l’usine à grande échelle à l’un des deux sites pendant que :

o Un bon plan de gestion intégrée des fosses septiques est créé pour la MRC, et

o Les normes environnementales fédérales sont respectées dans tous les aspects des travaux entrepris dans ce domaine;

Nous comptons également sur vous pour s’assurer que touts les nouveaux plan proposent de véritables options, qui tient compte des solutions technologiques modernes et respectueuses de l’environnement au problème de gestion des boues de fosses septiques dans la MRC.

Que peuvent faire les contribuables pour se faire écouter ? De faire réaliser aux maires et conseillers qu’ils ont la responsabilité d’élaborer et de mettre en œuvre des budgets qui sont en accord avec les moyens financiers des contribuables de ces deux communautés. Que les citoyens ne veulent plus d’augmentation de taxes municipales et de dettes et qu’ils veulent que les élus soient conscients de leurs préoccupations en matière de développement durable et la protection de l’environnement!

Le grand volume de lettres à l’éditeur et les opinions à la fois dans l’hebdomadaire ” Low Down ” et de la liste courriel de Wakefield (créée par Phil Cohen et maintenue par le Low Down) témoignent le mécontentement de la population locale sur toutes ces questions. Les administrations municipales de Chelsea et La Pêche semblent avoir des visions de grande ville pour leurs municipalités, mais n’ont ni les infrastructures administratives et financières ainsi que l’expertise professionnelle pour mener à bien leurs projets.

Que la voix des citoyens ainsi que ceux des groupes locaux et des individus tels que le biologiste Scott Findlay, Action Chelsea, ACRE, Eco Lapêche blog, SOS Wakefield, les Amis de la Gatineau, Ottawa Sentinelles et beaucoup d’autres se fassent entendre! Nous voulons savoir quelles mesures vous comptez prendre au sujet de ces questions qui ne sont pas seulement d’un intérêt local mais aussi d’une importance nationale et internationale.

Voir les liens suivants.

http://www.lowdownonline.com/wakefield-quebec-is-growing-fast/
EcoLapêche Blog
EcoLapêche Blog – specific entry of interest
EcoLapêche Blog – specific entry of interest
http://www.soswakefield.ca/info.html
http://www.savethegatineau.com/
Ottawa River Keeper #1
Ottawa River Keeper Version francaise

Butts and Mass.(2010, November 15). We need to put nature first in Canada’s water policy and management. The Hill Times,p.26. Opinion on the Fed’s water policy

Nous vous serions reconnaissants si vous voulez répondre à ____@____ pour confirmer les mesures que vous serez en mesure de prendre dans cette affaire.

Merci de votre attention.

Name withheld for privacy reasons


Municipal Affairs Complaints Commissioner, March 23, 2011
Marc-Andre Thivierge,
10, rue Pierre-Olivier-Chauveau,
Quebec, P.Q. G1R 4J3
Téléphone : 418 691-2014
Ligne sans frais : 1 866 353-6767
Télécopieur : 418 644-4676

Cher M. Marc-Andre Thivierge, sent by his website

http://www.cmq.gouv.qc.ca/fr/nous-joindre/formulaire-nous-joindre.php
Je vous écrit pour vous informer d’une menace réelle et imminente qui flotte au-dessus de la rivière Gatineau. M. le maire Bussière, préfet de la MRC des Collines, propose deux sites à proximité de la rivière Gatineau pour la construction au cours de l’été 2011 d’une usine de traitement de boues septiques. Malheureusement la technologie proposée est vétuste et pose de sérieux dangers pour la qualité de l’eau de la rivière Gatineau. Les résidents des municipalités qui longent la rivière sont inquiets et veulent protéger la rivière qu’ils utilisent non seulement pour la baignade et les sports nautiques, mais aussi pour attirer du tourisme qui constitue un des moteurs économiques de la région. (plusieurs information disponible www.savethegatineau.com et http://blueskyfolk.wordpress.com )
Even worse, and the reason I’m contacting the office of the Municipal Affairs Complaints Commissioner, is that this $5.4 million dollar Septic Sludge Treatment Plant Site Selection report was only made available in English 18 days before the pubic hearing!!!
Many of us had NO CHANCE to do adequate research and were left with the feeling that the process was being ‘rammed through’ without respect for our wishes nor the current and future value of the pristine Gatineau River to our environment and economy.
Highlight of MRC des Collines press release: http://mrcdescollinesdeloutaouais.qc.ca/images/pdf/2011-02-18-a.pdf

“On February 21st, the said report will be available to the public (French version only, English version will be available on February 25th), to allow interested parties to voice their concerns. A public consultation will be held on March 15th, 2011 at 7h00 p.m., in the cafeteria of Des Lacs High School, located at 32, Passe-Partout Road in La Pêche (Masham sector) Quebec”.

I am very concerned that due process is not being adhered too in this very important matter. Not only do people pay a premium to own property on the river; I was stunned to have received a very friendly 2011 Budget Newsletter from this very same mayor with my tax bill a few weeks ago that MADE NO MENTION of this process or his stated plan to go to tender on this project within the next 2 months!! See copy of 2011 Munícípalite de la Pêche budget newsletter herewith: http://www.savethegatineau.com/docs/2011_lapeche_mayors_newsletter.jpg
In fact, citizens had to spend over $300 dollars of their own money to pay for an advertisement to promote the public hearing in the local newspaper because they had a gut feeling neither the mayor nor the MRC were going to pay for this vital announcement to their constituency.
Sadly, they were correct and democratic process in this municipality is in disrepute and the people are marching and rallying and crying for help in all directions but nobody is listening.

Please let me know what recourse or suggestions you have or if your office can provide consultation on how best to proceed in matters of this nature?

With utmost respect for you and your office,

I remain,
name removed
Gatineau River Valley Property Owner


Dear fellow lovers of the Gatineau River ( I assume )

I am writing due to deep concern about the proposed septic and treatment plant on the Gatineau River. I understand the proposed plant does not meet up-coming Canadian Federal environmental standards. I am a resident of Wakefield Quebec and want you to know that the pristine condition of the Gatineau River is a major factor in what drew me to live in this area. I have been vacationing in Wakefield for 15 years now and am devastated by the lack of integrity , honesty , and care for the future that the leaders of this Municipality have been demonstrating to its citizens regarding the current environmental issues; the extension of the Highway 5 , the unnecessary expropriation of Eco Echo Learning Center for Industrial development , and now the plan to pollute the River with a Septic Plant. I understand that there has been ongoing protests by the citizens of Wakefield opposing these 3 plans.

The opportunity to swim and boat on a river of this exceptional quality is unique. The unspoiled nature of the area , the authenticity of the local houses , and businesses , the abundance of wildlife , birds and fish are precious resources that draw me to your region and make me glad to spend my holiday budget in your region . Now La Peche is choosing to damange and potentially loose its Eco Tourism resources ! But why ? How could it come to this ? As a friend of the Gatineau River myself , I encourage you to listen to the concerns expressed by the Friends of the Gatineau and halt this proposed septic treatment centre.

Yours Sincerely,

somebody who spends money in the LaPeche region!!!


Please add this letter we have already sent to Lawrence Cannon’s riding office in Gatineau:

Honourable Lawrence Cannon,

I assume that you are aware of the septic treatment facility being proposed in La Peche.
This plant would accept waste from the entire MRC des Collines dumping effluent into the
Gatineau river. This river is such a treasure for our region. It has so much value as a resource
for recreation, tourism and even drinking water and I believe that this facility would over extend
the river’s ability to absorb the waste and stay healthy.
I understand that the federal government has a water policy that encourages the sustainable use of
our waterways and that the standards for septic treatment effluent are in the process of being raised.
The Ottawa River Keeper amongst others has raised serious doubts about the proposed facilitiy’s ability
to meet these standards. The engineer’s report has been shown to contain some serious flaws and omissions.
The flow rate of the river in dry years has in the past and may again in the future,be under the minimum flow rate required, as stated by the report, to maintain an adequate dilution rate.
Blue green algae has been documented as a serious problem in our region’s lakes and waterways.
The main cause of this problem has been shown to be toxic substances such as phosphorous and ammonia in
effluent from septic treatment. If this problem took hold in the Gatineau River it could make parts of the river unswimmable and its water undrinkable. It would be an unspeakable tragedy if we allowed this to happen to a river of such phenomenal importance historically, environmentally, socially and culturally, that it is essentially the heart
of our region.
The MRC des Collines needs to take a couple steps back and properly assess the risks and suitability of this project for the Gatineau River. An alternate site on the Ottawa river, which has almost twice the flow rate of the Gatineau, should be chosen. If not, then at least the plans for the proposed facility should be upgraded so that they meet or exceed
the coming new federal standards for septic effluent.
By your generous support of the steam train as well as several tourism based small businesses, I know that you are interested in promoting tourism in our region. As well, you have shown that you support sustainable and high quality infrastructure for our communities. On this basis, I ask that you help to lead or at least encourage our MRC to make sustainable and wise decisions regarding this project.

Thank you for your attention to this issue.

Sincerely,
name removed


March 23, 2011
Ministère de l’Éducation, du Loisir et du Sport
Édifice Marie-Guyart
1035, rue De La Chevrotière
16e étage
Québec (Quebec) G1R 5A5
Telephone: 418 644-0664
Fax: 418 646-7551

Chere Mme. Line Beauchamp ,

Je vous écrit pour vous informer d’une menace réelle et imminente qui flotte au-dessus de la rivière Gatineau. M. le maire Bussière, préfet de la MRC des Collines, propose deux sites à proximité de la rivière Gatineau pour la construction au cours de l’été 2011 d’une usine de traitement de boues septiques. Malheureusement la technologie proposée est vétuste et pose de sérieux dangers pour la qualité de l’eau de la rivière Gatineau. Les résidents des municipalités qui longent la rivière sont inquiets et veulent protéger la rivière qu’ils utilisent non seulement pour la baignade et les sports nautiques, mais aussi pour attirer du tourisme qui constitue un des moteurs économiques de la région. (plusieurs information disponible www.savethegatineau.com et http://blueskyfolk.wordpress.com )

Even worse, and the reason I’m contacting the office of the Minister of Education, Recreation and Sportsis that this $5.4 million dollar Septic Sludge Treatment Plant Site Selection report is being ‘rammed through’ without respect for our wishes nor the current and future value recreational value of the pristine Gatineau River to our environment and economy.

As you may be aware, the community of Wakefield QC won $25,000 in a nationwide contest sponsored by TSN and Kraft to help build a new community recreation centre. http://www.lowdownonline.com/wakefield-quebec-up-for-25000-tsn-kraft-prize/ and sports and recreation are very very important to our citizens.

Many of our local businesses are sports and recreation related and the Gatineau River and will suffer enormously if our river is polluted.

As a friend of the Gatineau River myself, I encourage you to research this impending disaster and do everything within your sphere of influence to halt the proposed septic sludge treatment centre in it’s current form as being unprogressive and grossly detrimental to the growth of our region as an eco-touristic desitination for the 21st century.

Even a simple email of concern or a request for information from you to:

our mayor in LaPeche, Robert Bussière rbussiere@villelapeche.qc.ca

our MLA Stephanie Vallée svallee-gati@assnat.qc.ca

our MP Lawrence Cannon, MP: Cannon.L@parl.gcca

could be of great significance as the citizens and landowners in this region need all the support we can muster to save this precious resource both now and in the future.

Thank you for your attention and concern.

Gatineau River Valley Land Owner


Conseil québécois du sentier Transcanadien
Richard Senécal, TCT Regional Coordinator
17460, av. St-Onge
St-Hyacinthe, QC J2T 3A9
Tel: (450) 774-0597
Fax: (450) 774-4452

Sujet: La rivière Gatineau pourrait être polluée à jamais

Bonjour,

Je vous écrit pour vous informer d’une menace réelle et imminente qui flotte au-dessus de la rivière Gatineau. M. le maire Bussière, préfet de la MRC des Collines, propose deux sites à proximité de la rivière Gatineau pour la construction au cours de l’été 2011 d’une usine de traitement de boues septiques. Malheureusement la technologie proposée est vétuste et pose de sérieux dangers pour la qualité de l’eau de la rivière Gatineau. Les résidents des municipalités qui longent la rivière sont inquiets et veulent protéger la rivière qu’ils utilisent non seulement pour la baignade et les sports nautiques, mais aussi pour attirer du tourisme qui constitue un des moteurs économiques de la région. (plusieurs information disponible www.savethegatineau.com et http://blueskyfolk.wordpress.com )

The opportunity to swim and boat on a river of this exception quality is unique. The unspoiled nature of the area, the authenticity of the local houses and businesses, the abundance of wildlife, birds, and fish are precious resources that draw people from all across the world to our region, and once these are lost or damaged the Trans Canada Trail will lose a high-value eco tourism resource that makes us unique in North America.

As a friend of the Gatineau River myself, I encourage you to research this impending disaster and do everything within your sphere of influence to halt the proposed septic sludge treatment centre in it’s current form as being unprogressive and grossly detrimental to the growth of our region as an eco-touristic desitination for the 21st century.

Even a simple email of concern or a request for information from you to:

our mayor in LaPeche, Robert Bussière rbussiere@villelapeche.qc.ca

our MLA Stephanie Vallée svallee-gati@assnat.qc.ca

our MP Lawrence Cannon, MP: Cannon.L@parl.gc.ca

could be of great significance as the citizens and landowners in this region need all the support we can muster to save this precious resource both now and in the future.

Thank you for your attention and concern.

Gatineau River Valley Land Owner


Bonjour M. Laliberté,

Ce n’est que très récemment que nous avons réalisé que la qualité de l’eau de la rivière Gatineau sera irrémédiablement affecté si les projets de la MRC des collines relativement à la construction de l’usine de traitement des boues sceptiques sont accomplis tels que proposés. Mon fils de 8 ans, moi-même et mon conjoint nous baignons dans la rivière Gatineau régulièrement au cours de l’été. La qualité de son eau contribue à notre qualité de vie et justifie pour nous de vivre dans un village éloigné des grands centres. À chaque été nous constatons que de nombreuses personnes parcourent des dizaines de kilomètres en provenance d’Ottawa et de Gatineau justement pour profiter de cette magnifique rivière. Sa propreté et limpidité encouragent nombre de touristes à venir s’y baigner contribuant par le fait même à la viabilité économique de Wakefield. La technologie proposée…

La consultation qui a eu lieu le 15 mars dernier visait exclusivement la sélection des sites pour la construction de l’usine. J’aimerais demander à ce que la consultation soit étendue également à la technologie utilisée pour l’usine et ce pour les raisons suivantes:

  • – La consultation qui a eu lieu au cours du mois de juin dernier n’a pas été adéquatement publicisée et les commentaires qui y ont été formulés ne semblent pas avoir été pris en compte dans le rapport final menant à la décision des maires de la MRC.
  • – Les expertises soumises, incluant celles de Meredith Brown, directrice exécutive de Sentinelle Outaouais, ingénieure et experte en matière de traitement de boues secptiques, ont été rejetées sans explication.
  • – Personne n’a eu accès à une vue globale et complète de la technologie retenue par la municipalité afin de la commenter. Ce n’est que très récemment qu’une description plus précise des intentions de la MRC a finalement été rendue publique.
  • – Plusieurs personnes ont offerts des opinions très éclairées sur des technologies alternatives qui pourraient être utilisés lors de la réunion du 15 mars dernier. Il semble qu’il n’est jamais trop tard pour considérer ces nouvelles opinions et changer d’avis sur la technologie lorsqu’un enjeu aussi important que la pureté de la rivière Gatineau est en jeu.

Au sujet des sites…

Nous soumettons que les deux sites choisis sont beaucoup trop près de la rivière et risquent de la polluer à jamais. Votre argument voulant que la rivière soit très peu utilisée comme source d’eau potable comme justification pour déverser des effluents sceptiques dans la rivière ne tient pas la route. Cet argument ne tient pas compte de la possibilité que des municipalités choisissent dans l’avenir de tirer leur eau potable de la rivière. La municipalité de Chelsea a récemment fait allusion à la possibilité de tirer de l’eau potable pour ses résidents de la rivière.

En outre, un système qui utilise une technologie de tranchée d’infltration risque d’affecter beaucoup moins de gens qu’une technologie qui utilise la rivière. En effet, il y a des territoires dans La Pêche où la densité de population est très basse. Un système de décantation dans ce genre d’endroit ne risque pas d’affecter un grand nombre de personnes qui utilisent la nappe d’eau souterraine pour leur eau potable. En outre, la filtration naturelle par la terre risque de purifier considérablement l’eau qui sera déversée et il est fort probable que l’eau des gens qui habitent dans les environs ne sera pas affecté. Par contre, en polluant la rivière Gatineau avec des affluents sceptiques, ce sont des milliers de personnes qui seraient effectés. Dans certains cas parce qu’il se servent de la rivière pour boire, mais surtout parce qu’ils jouissent quotidiennement des avantages d’une rivière propre. Tel que mentionné précédemment, une rivière propre est un moteur économique important pour la région.

Nous vous demandons ardemment de faire tout en votre pouvoir pour sauver notre rivière. Elle reçoit déjà sa part de pollution à Maniwaki et Kazabazua, ne la saturons pas d’avantage de matières fécales, de phosphore, de médicaments, etc.

Merci de porter attention à cette soumission


Dear Sir or Madame

I understand the need for solutions to the current problem of treating septic waste in the MRC region, and I applaud the politicians from across the region who are working together to solve this problem. However the engineer’s report and attendant documentation indicate that the MRC mayors have not been adequately served by CIMA+.

My concerns stem from the inadequate consideration given to the environmental impact on the Gatineau River within the engineer’s report. I am also troubled that the authors of the report seem to lack the knowledge or willingness to consider any other sites or technical options aside from a single large-scale treatment plant. I also note that no effort is made within the report to ensure that upcoming federal environmental standards are adhered to from the start. Finally, the report does not factor in the environmental, tourism and social impacts of this plan.

The Gatineau River is a unique resource and one that must be defended for future generations. The opportunity to swim and boat on a river of this exceptional quality is unique. The area’s unspoiled nature, heritage and abundant wildlife are precious resources and are why I live here. Once these are lost or damaged due to lack of foresight, planning and preservation, we will all lose a valuable resource—one in which eco tourism plays a primary role in the province of Quebec.

As a Friend of the Gatineau (FOG) river myself, I encourage you to listen to the concerns expressed by FOG and all concerned citizens and halt this proposed large-scale plant at both of the Farrellton sites while:

  • * a proper integrated septic management plan is created for the MRC; and
  • * federal environmental standards are met in every aspect of work undertaken in this area.

I also count on you to ensure any new plan offers genuine options that take into account modern technological and environmentally sound solutions to the septic sludge management problem in the MRC.

I would be grateful if you would respond to me at cchriscorcoran@gmail.com to confirm the steps that you will take in this matter.

Sincerely,

Name Removed to protect privacy, LaPeche, QC J0X2E0


Sent to MLA and Mayor

I am writing because I am deeply concerned about the proposed septic treatment plant on the Gatineau River. I understand the proposed plant does not meet up-coming Canadian Federal environment standards. I am writing because my parents bought their first home right on this river after spending well over 30 years working towards the goal of one day being able to afford a home in such a scenic area. This is their sanctuary. The stress that this proposed plan is causing them is devastating.

The opportunity to swim and boat on a river of this exception quality is unique. The unspoilt nature of the area, the authenticity of the local houses and businesses, the abundance of wildlife, birds, and fish are precious resources. Once these are lost or damaged you will loose an eco tourism resource that makes you unique in North America. As a friend of the Gatineau River myself, I encourage you to listen to the concerns expressed by the Friends of the Gatineau and halt this proposed septic treatment centre.

Yours sincerely,

Name Removed to protect privacy, resident LaPeche,


 



Sent to MLA and MayorDear Sir or MadameI ask that you reconsider this flawed plan as polluting the Gatineau with a large inadequate septic sludge treatment facility is absolutely unacceptable. I understand the need for solutions to the current problem of treating septic waste in the MRC region, and I applaud the joined-up thinking that brought politicians from across the region together to solve this problem. However, having carefully read through the report and attendant documentation I do not believe that the Mayors have been adequately served by CIMA+. My concerns stem from the inadequate consideration given to the environmental impact on the Gatineau River within the report. I am also troubled that the authors of the report seem to lack the knowledge or willingness to consider any other sites or technical options aside from a single large-scale treatment plant. I also note that no effort is made within the report to ensure that up-coming Federal environmental standards are adhered to from the start. Last but not least, the report does not factor in the environmental, tourism, social impact of this plan.The Gatineau River is a unique resource, and one which must be defended for future generations.Please confirm that you will assist us to ensure that proposals for a large-scale plant at either of the Farrellton sites are halted whilst; a proper integrated septic management plan is created for the MRC Federal environmental standards are met in every aspect of work undertaken in this area; I also count on you to ensure any new plan offers genuine options, that take into account modern technological and environmentally sound solutions to the septic sludge management problem in the MRC.I would be grateful if you would respond to —@—.com to confirm the steps that you will be able to take in this matter. Sincerely, NAME REMOVED TO PROTECT PRIVACY, Belfast, N. Ireland BT7 1HB


Sent to Mayor and MLAI am writing because I am deeply concerned about the proposed septic treatment plant on the Gatineau River. I understand the proposed plant does not meet up-coming Canadian Federal environment standards. I am writing because I have planned to visit and stay in Chelsea, and want you to know that the pristine condition of the Gatineau River is a major factor in what draws me to the area.I live in Ireland and will be spending ten days in the area. I have heard so much from my Canadian friends about the area and I am looking forward immensely to the trip.I kayak and the opportunity to swim and kayak on a river of this exceptional quality is rare. The unspoilt nature of the area, the authenticity of the local houses and businesses, the abundance of wildlife, birds, and fish are precious resources that draw me to your region, and make me glad to spend my holiday budget in your area. Once these are lost or damaged you will loose an eco tourism resource that makes you unique in North America.I encourage you to listen to the concerns expressed by the Friends of the Gatineau and halt this proposed septic treatment centre.Regards NAME REMOVED TO PROTECT PRIVACY, Belfast, N. Ireland


February 22, 2011Ms. Stephanie Vallee
MNA, Quebec National Assembly
124, avenue Gatineau
Gatineau (Quebec)
J8T 4J6

Subject: Establishment of a Regional Septic Waste Treatment facility within the MRC des Collines

Dear Ms. Vallee,

Further to my letter of December 29, 2010, the following is to advise that the engineering firm CIMA+ presented its report to the MRC council of Mayors on February 17, 2011 and as predicted has, in fact, identified Echodale Rd, Farrellton, QC as one of two potential sites in the MRC des Collines for the location of a regional septic waste treatment facility.

Equally disturbing, however, is that the second site chosen is a mere 6 kms north of the Echodale Rd site, north of the Farrellton Bridge off Rte 105. As you can no doubt appreciate, for CIMA+ to have canvassed the entire MRC des Collines for potential sites and to arrive at 2 sites within 6 kms of each other within the small community of Farrellton, QC, is alarming in the extreme and speaks to the ‘flawed process’ I referred to in my previous letter.

I think you would have to agree that after having spent over $100,000 of taxpayers money for these engineering studies and to arrive at the same site as that chosen by Lapeche municipal council resolution dated July 6, 2009, is highly suspect. The fact that CIMA+ is the beneficiary of other municipal contracts (i.e., studies re: municipal sewage treatment for Wakefield and Masham) only adds to this suspicion. CIMA+’s relationship with the current government is well known both as a beneficiary of sole source contracts as well as a known financial contributor to the liberal party, including, in the past, through questionable practices vis a vis electoral financing laws. All to say, even a cursory review of this file would suggest that it warrants a thorough review by both provincial and federal authorities in all respects.

From a purely environmental point of view, to locate this regional facility at the most further northerly point in the Municipality of Lapeche speaks to a total disregard for the environmental impact on the Gatineau River. A number of environmental groups are already on the record as to the shortcomings of the chosen technology and its’ inability to prevent a wide range of contaminants from entering the river as effluent. The consequences of this decision has the potential to cause untold damage to the quality of the Gatineau River and creates unacceptable risks to flora, fauna and fish habitat as well as poses potential health risks to all who live downstream (many of whom draw their water from the Gatineau River). As evidence of the technological shortcomings one need look no further than the newly constructed facility in Farm Point, QC, which, at a cost of over three million dollars, is still not operational.

As for the flaws inherent in the CIMA+ studies, both of which are now on the MRC des Collines website, it came to light at the MRC meeting on February 17, 2011 that the Municipality of Pontiac will not be transporting its’ septic waste to this new regional facility. This fact alone calls into question every aspect of the study from the needs and economic analysis to the site selection criteria, and ultimately the location of the two sites chosen. At the very least, it changes the ‘centre of demographic mass’, within which potential sites were examined.

The Municipality of Pontiac accounts for some 2,468 residences (5238 pop) and over 70% of all holding tanks in the entire MRC region. By removing the volume of septic sludge generated in this municipality as well as related transportation costs with respect thereto dramatically changes the analysis and conclusions contained in the study. The exclusion of the Municipality of Pontiac now warrants that the CIMA+ studies be rejected in their entirety or, at the very least, demands that they be re-done to take into account this material fact.

In light of the above, I am renewing the request contained in my letter of December 29, 2010, that you provide your assurances that this initiative will undergo rigorous financial and environmental assessment and address relevant transportation safety concerns before any provincial funding is approved. I will also be writing to your colleagues, the Minister for Sustainable Development, Environment and Parks and the Minister of Transport.

After the public consultation meeting now scheduled for March 15, 2011, I will be contacting your office to set up a meeting with myself and other concerned citizens for the purpose of discussing these issues in more detail. In the meantime, I invite you to visit the blog associated with this initiative at: blog

Sincerely,

Name Removed

 

 

——————–

March 16, 2011

 

 

Mme. Stephanie Vallee

Deputy, Gatineau

224, rue Principale Sud

Maniwaki, P. Q.

J9E 1Z9

 

Dear Mme. Vallee:

 

Thank you for responding to my letter to you dated January 24, 2011.  This will be my

twelfth letter to you in my effort to ask you and your government to produce technical

documentation that justifies the requirement for municipalities to implement downloaded

programs related to mandatory septic tank pumping, public safety measures and water

testing.  No adequate and reasonable documentation has yet been produced.

 

You have kindly offered to organize a meeting between myself and officials from the

Ministry of Environment in order to, hopefully, resolve some (but not all) of my concerns.  Note that the Ministry of Environment is not responsible for all of the functions for which I have asked for technical justification.

 

I will be pleased to meet as you have suggested, but only upon your meeting the reasonable conditions that I will establish at the end of this correspondence.  Prior to such, I would like to make the following comments, some of which I have related to you before, but I repeat them as this letter to you may receive wide distribution to mayors, newspapers, and to others.  At this time, I will focus only on the concerns that I, and many other citizens, have with respect to forced septic tank pumping.

 

To clarify my request for technical documentation, your government has provided to me a very thorough document that adequately/technically justified the requirement for Quebec vehicles to have snow tires in the winter.  Your government was also able to measure the success of this program after only one winter by comparing valid and meaningful statistics before and after the snow tire requirement.  While the general public has been poorly informed as to this, nevertheless, I am pleased that the program was properly justified and was subsequently measured, at least initially, to confirm the expectations.

 

So, why hasn’t your government done the same for other programs?  In particular, for forced septic tank pumping?

 

Forced septic tank pumping is unnecessary and extremely expensive.  Most of the 42 municipalities in three of the West Quebec MRC’s are rural, in poverty and consist of homes that have only one or two people in them.  Charts produced by scientists and professors indicate that, for one person in a home, with a medium size septic tank, pumping is only required every ten years or so.  Rural people who have lived on farms for generations know this.  Your government forces a single resident rural home, for example, to have pumping done every two years.  This is more than five times expensive than necessary.  In addition, the resident must pay for the municipal program overhead cost to do this in the summer months … part-time person, computer, etc.

 

In 2001, your law Q2r.8 was modified so that pumping would not be required, providing that a municipality measured every septic tank every year.  Imagine even the unnecessary cost of doing this, knowing that there are only one or two people living in the residence.

 

Your unjustified law is continuing to force some foolish MRC’s and municipalities to build Septic Waste Treatment, SWT, plants that are larger and more costly than necessary.  As a result also, MRC’s refuse to work together to share such facilities.  For example, the SWT at Kazabazua receives about 3,500 truckloads of septic waste per year from 16 municipalities who comply with Q2r.8.  In my opinion, up to 80% of this transport, and associated road wear and pollution, is not required.  Their MRC has stubbornly refused to share their SWT with any other MRC.

 

Today’s modern garbage incineration and gasification facilities can accept raw septic waste.  Yet your government, and our municipal politicians, refuse to think strategically and economically.  There are 85, or so, MRC’s in Quebec … your government expects that each one of them should independently do the technical research to move forward … rather than for your government to organize such research centrally on behalf of all.

How foolish and expensive!

 

It is no wonder that the vast majority of Quebec rural MRC’s, since 1981, have refused to implement Q2r.8.  Only the foolish ones, who never ask questions, have proceeded.

No one has gone to jail.  No penalties have been enforced.  In compliant communities, a resident who refuses to allow his/her septic tank to be emptied, although threatened, is given no penalty, but is still unfairly forced to pay for the non-service.  In some compliant municipalities, even vacant landowners have been forced to pay for pumping administrative costs.

 

Like for the snow tire program, one would expect that, initially, a problem was evident and subsequently defined technically with statistics, data, analysis, conclusions and recommendations.  For example, for West Quebec, say, one would expect to have data that shows how  many septic tanks, at one time, were experiencing problems, either in function or of pollution, due to lack of frequent pumping, relative to the total number of septic tanks in West Quebec.  This statistic would have helped to size the problem.

Obviously, the problem must be huge, and therefore easily defined, to have introduced such a costly program.  Yet this information is not available and never has been.   Likewise, as some MRC’s have been compliant with Q2r.8 for many years, one would expect that the results of doing so would have been compared with the original problem to see if there has been any improvement.  One would expect also that the results of a compliant MRC/community could have been compared to those of a non-compliant MRC/community.  Yet this information is also not available.  Could this be because the original problem was never defined in the first place?

 

Even high school students can see that, sadly, none of this makes sense.  One does not have to be an expert in this matter.  Common sense is what matters and … is missing.

 

Many years ago, I asked two septic tank emptying businesses, who were mostly emptying

septic tanks in non-compliant municipalities, as to how many of the septic tanks that they

emptied really required to be emptied.  Their answer was “… about 20%”.  For municipalities that are compliant, obviously even fewer tanks require to be emptied.  The cost for the foolish and unsubstantiated Q2r.8 program is huge and unnecessary.

 

The town of Chelsea, I believe, was the first in West Quebec to comply with Q2r.8.  Even so, they now only force residents to empty their septic tanks every three years.  This is still too much.  Yet, they have not been put in jail.  Why do other municipalities in their MRC still force two-year pumping, while others have not complied at all?  The whole situation across West Quebec is an inconsistent and costly mess … that the citizens easily see as a reflection of the quality of their politicians.

 

In North America, no other province and no state exacts such a severe law upon their citizens.

 

Seven or eight years ago, I met with Thomas Mulcair, Minister of Environment, at a public meeting in Hull.  He promised to obtain technical documentation, supporting the

Q2r.8 program, for me.  He had also stated that if his mother could afford the have her septic tank emptied every two years, he felt that all septic tank owners in Quebec could also afford to do so.  Afterwards, I never heard from him.

 

In addition, around that same time, I met in Quebec City with a senior official of the Ministry of Environment.  I also had telephone conference calls with other officials.

At no time have I been provided a document that seriously/reasonably substantiates

forced pumping.  Nor any study confirming the success of the program.

 

This week, 300 citizens met with the mayors of the MRC des Collines to discuss a proposal for a Septic Waste Treatment, SWT, plant in La Peche.  Anger at the politicians and with your government was prevalent.  You will have read about this in the media.  With respect to forced septic tank pumping, the public learned that the SWT has been

designed, as directed by the mayors, with the assumption that all rural residents of the

MRC will be soon forced to comply to law Q2r.8.  The mayors, after being pressed for an

answer, confirmed that this will be the case.  All of this had been purposely kept secret from the public.  The mayors knew that the public would be angry about this and had tried to hide it from them, until it would be too late for dissent.  How unfair and truly sad.

 

Currently, for municipalities that are compliant with Q2r.8, I estimate that up to at least

80% of the septic tanks emptied do not require such.  To trespass upon properties, to force septic tanks to be emptied which do not require such and to force residents to pay for this, is simply unfair and unjust, let alone foolish.  Accordingly, mayors should be aware that it will not be long before this matter is tested in court.  You are aware of the new Gatineau Valley Landowner’s Association, whose membership is growing rapidly.

It is the intention of this organization to take this matter to court at some time in the future.  Mayors are foolish if they do not obtain competent legal advice before building a new SWT prior to wasting taxpayer’s money on the size and cost of such a project.

 

I really appreciate your offer to meet with Ministry of Environment officials providing that:

 

  • you attend;

 

  • at least one of the Ministry of Environment attendees be at the decision-making

level;

 

  • your government brings to the meeting a document that substantiates the need for Q2.r8 based on a clear technical definition of the problem as has existed across West Quebec, together with appropriate analysis, conclusions and recommendations; and that,

 

  • your government brings to the meeting a document that shows the analysis results

of the implementation of Q2r.8 to date, substantiates the success of the program

with facts and figures and recommends the continuance of such.

 

For eight years now, I have been on a wild goose chase with your government, and with you, with no results.  I am sure that the conditions that I have outlined above are quite reasonable and that they would be very acceptable to anyone who wants to sincerely provide explanations, not only to myself, but to a great many others who are interested in this matter.  I believe that there is a huge opportunity to review the Q2r.8 program in order to reduce unnecessary costly compliance and to save taxpayers money.

 

I am prepared to pay all of my costs to meet with you and officials of the Ministry of

Environment anywhere in Quebec.

 

Thank you.

Yours sincerely,

 

 


Submission to the Public Consultation on March 15, 2011 by Friends of the GatineauRegional Septic Tank Sludge Treatment Plant : Questions for the March 15th consultation meeting.

1. Why was Pontiac included in the base study (septic volumes, number of holding tanks, population centre, distance from sites) when it was known that this municipality had no intention to use the MRC plant? Removing Pontiac’s statistics would significantly impact the original definition of requirements, population centre, plant capacity etc. Why were these inconsistencies not dealt with in the first CIMA+ report? What impact would it have to remove Pontiac’s load to the decision made on site selection?

2. The existing plant in Kazabazua does not meet the new proposed federal standards. It also reportedly has difficulty in that it releases excessive amounts of phosphates, a nutrient into the Gatineau River. Given we are using the same technology, how will we ensure that the proposed plant is more effective and will meet future standards?

3. At the Feb. 17th MRC meeting Mr. Bussières indicated that the MRC had given consideration to using the present industrial site that was the location of the Smurfit Stone pulp plant and includes a water treatment system at Portage du Fort. He indicated that he could not respond to questions on the assessment of this site, but that these questions should be posed at the March 15th consultation meeting. Consistent with that direction, please explain what process was followed in assessing the potential of the Smurfit Stone site for the MRC sludge treatment facility. Was a cost benefit analysis done of the site? Was any consideration given to the ecological benefits of locating the plant at the Smurfit Stone site rather than on the Gatineau River?

4. Previously, it was suggested that the MRC negotiate with Gatineau to continue processing our waste, under the condition that use of juggler trucks would be encouraged in the MRC, thereby substantially reducing the volume of liquid to be transported and treated. It was also suggested additional load reduction could be accomplished by a regulated septic tank emptying program. One reason for the rejection of this option was that juggler trucks were of no advantage in emptying holding tanks. Given 70% of the holding tanks in the MRC are, according to the report, located in the Pontiac, and that Pontiac would not be joining the MRC program this response was flawed. Cantley requires homeowners to empty their septic tanks every two years, or to have inspections of sludge and scum levels done annually. Chelsea requires pumping every third year. Why is the requirement not consistent within the MRC?

5. What plans does the MRC have to establish a regulated septic tank emptying program? Will the increased use of juggler trucks be part of this solution?

6. Please explain why expansion of the existing septic sludge treatment site in Quyon could not be expanded to meet the needs of the MRC des Collines.

7. The MRC H20 project obtained Provincial funding based on the premise that the MRC des Collines would be a leader in water monitoring, education, and governance. The proposed design of the new plant will not meet the new federal standard, instead the design provides for modifications later when its is required to be compliant. This does not demonstrate leadership. Why not build a facility that would be compliant from the outset? Can the current facility not be modified to be compliant now?


April 4, 2011
Mr. Robert Bussieres,
Mayor, La Peche,
Prefect, MRC des Collines,
1, route Principale Ouest,
La Peche, P.Q. J0X 2W0Dear Mayor Bussieres:

Septic Waste Treatment Facility
MRC des Collines

Recently, you have stated to the public that they have not provided to you any better alternatives than that which you are forcing upon them, that is that you plan to proceed, whether the public agrees with you or not, to build a treatment plant in La Peche, with the preferred site being on property currently owned by Low resident.

You are aware that a vast majority of the public, and not only those who live within your MRC, do not agree with your planned facility, nor do they agree with what they consider to be the unethical manner in which they have been treated in the process.

I am writing primarily to refute your statements to the public that they have not suggested to you other preferred options. I, and others, know that you are fully aware of other options that have been provided to you and the public cannot understand as to why you have not acknowledged such. Is telling the public an untruth ethical?

You are the longest serving mayor in your MRC. You are well aware that the Quebec government, in 1998, revealed their ten-year waste management plan. You are also well
aware that yourself and other mayors did not act upon this requirement until only relatively recently, and far too late. You are one of those who must be held accountable for this. You, and others, have now boxed your communities and taxpayers into a corner
with an unsuitable solution at various great costs.

For some years now, I, and others, have been writing in the local newspapers, which you
read, that, strategically and otherwise, the best option, unless seriously proved otherwise, would be to use liquid-return septic trucks to take the waste directly to a modern garbage incineration or gasification facility. You have not pursued this alternative with any vigor or sincere interest. You have revealed no technical study, or any information whatsoever, that shows that such an option was seriously investigated.

Although it was formed far too late, you are aware of the committee of West Quebec MRC’s, of which you are a partner, which has been working together for several years now, to find a modern garbage waste facility that may be shared by all municipalities.
You are also aware that the public has no clue as to what progress has been made and
that they continue to be left out in the dark because of no communication by elected officials, like for yourself, on this matter. Is this fair/ethical?

What is worse, the City of Gatineau informed me some time ago that the RFI, RFQ, and
near future RFP, for bids to provide a modern garbage waste facility, do not include asking for proposals for such a facility to also accept raw septic waste. It would appear that this requirement, which would be hugely favored by the taxpaying public, has been purposely omitted by yourself and your mayor colleagues … and, again, without informing the public of this fact, and of the reason for doing so. Is this fair/ethical?

Modern waste facilities can accept raw septic waste. The argument that such does not produce electricity is correct but the small amount of this product, relative to the total volume of electricity-producing garbage waste, is so small that the cost to process it is not significant. The public are not interested in your opinion, or your emotion, on this matter. Show them an engineering study. Something they can trust. Why have you not done this? This is not helpful to the people you serve. Is this being ethical?

At the MRC meeting on March 15, 2011, attended by almost 400 upset people, one or more of the 40 speakers again recommended to you to cast aside your current plans and to involve (for the first time) the good/intelligent citizens in your MRC to be part of a new exercise to explore previously suggested solutions, and new ones, in order to find an optimal/acceptable one. Subsequently, you were reported in the media as saying that you have never been provided with an alternative way to proceed. Why did you say this? Is this ethical?

You are now forcing MRC citizens to pay up to $460 to empty a septic tank and to haul it
a very long distance. This is because you, as a long time responsible mayor, did not look
to find a solution until the last moment. You now argue that it is too late to do anything except that which what you are proposing … forcing an unacceptable solution upon your people against their will. Is this fair? Is this ethical?

It is not too late to find a better solution. To do so, you must have the will, skill and courage to move forward differently. These days, citizens do not believe for one minute that their elected officials have these requirements. You must admit to the Quebec government, and to your people, that you and your colleagues have been behind the eight ball and need to go back to square one. You must find a temporary solution to help your
people. Let me suggest the following (not for the first time).

For decades, Claude Bernier has been emptying septic tanks in the region. He was using
a large cesspool on his property to dispose of the waste. No reports that I am aware of were ever produced showing that this solution caused an environmental problem of any significance. I am recommending that, for the next few years, you obtain the permission of the Quebec government to use this facility again until a modern acceptable solution be found. In addition, I recommend that the forced septic pumping program in three of your MRC municipalities be, at least, temporarily curtailed to minimize the waste to be delivered to the cesspool. This will not cause an issue with septic tanks, as no technical justification has ever been produced to support mandatory pumping. No problem previously was ever defined. In the interim period, such a proposal would save taxpayers money, reduce trucking pollution, prove that mandatory septic pumping makes no positive contribution and would demonstrate that elected officials listen to their people and care for them. Area environmentalists would be hugely in favor of this.

When questioned in front of the large crowd at your MRC meeting on the March 15, 2011, you admitted that you had not informed the public that you are going to force
mandatory septic tank pumping upon them, even though you have planned such for a
long time. You stated that the reason for such was that you had not yet decided
whether to force a 2-year or 3-year pumping frequency upon your citizens. Either frequency is too much and unjustified. Regardless, you have already spent an enormous
amount of taxpayer’s money to design the septic waste facility, at unnecessary greater size and cost, to accommodate forced pumping … and, knowing that your citizens would be angry if they found out before it was too late for them to resist, you deceived them and kept the matter secret. The large crowd at the meeting clearly indicated to you that 100% of them disagreed with what you have done. They were disgusted with your behavior. How can such treatment of the people you are supposed to serve be ethical?

Without technical data and studies, how can you make your decision to force either 2-year or 3-year forced septic tank pumping? Of the total number of septic tanks in your
MRC, for example, how many over the past ten years have malfunctioned or caused
pollution because they had not been pumped frequently? The public, and myself, know that you do not even have this information. If a septic tank is malfunctioning, but not causing pollution, why do you care? The owner will take care of the problem. It is none
of your business. Pollution can be detected by cheap summer student inspections and, even so, such would only in the rarest of instances be caused by lack of pumping.

You made it clear to the public that you do not intend to consult with them to explain why you intend to proceed with forced pumping and to obtain their input on this matter.
How can such an unfair and uncaring approach be ethical?

You know that I do not live in your MRC, but in Low, a small village just north of your MRC border. People in our area are very concerned about decisions that you are taking in your area because they affect us. Just because we live upriver does not mean that we are not concerned about your plans to process septic waste before dumping it into the river. Also, you are in the process of possibly expropriating two properties in your municipality, one of them favored as the site for your septic waste facility, that are owned by citizens of Low who, along with others, are angry with you because of what they consider to have been your uncaring and unethical behavior in notifying them of their possible expropriations. One of these individuals, Albert Kealey, has confirmed to me that staff in your organization ordered people to trespass upon his property, presumably for examination purposes, without his permission or knowledge. How can this be ethical behavior?

Should you proceed to order your communities to perform mandatory septic tank pumping, then our village of Low will be the only one from the City of Gatineau to
north of Maniwaki that has not been foolish to do so. This will put political pressure upon our Council to force our community to follow suit. You can see how your decisions
can negatively affect those communities not under your direct control. And, accordingly,
we have a right to complain about your leadership.

This letter is also being sent out to others electronically, as such will facilitate copying to a wide audience of citizens who form a vast majority of people who do not agree with your leadership in the matters that I have outlined above and who also do not agree with the manner in which you have performed to deal with them.

By electronic copy of this letter, I am asking Mr. Marc-Andre Thivierge, Municipal Affairs Complaints/Ethics Commissioner to investigate this whole matter to determine if unethical behavior has occurred and if appropriate penalties need to be applied. Please
acknowledge receipt of this letter/request, thank you.

All of this, including various legal actions that are commencing, could be avoided if you
would only consult with your people, involve them and listen to them. You might even
have a small chance for future re-election if you showed some caring,

Thank you.
Respectfully,
Name Removed