Illegal dump uncovered in La Peche, Quebec

Oil containers, an old bathtub and piles of roof shingles sit on the ground near the Association Sportive des Petits Lacs' camp. Photo by Mark Burgess of the Low Down

Oil containers, an old bathtub and piles of roof shingles sit on the ground near the Association Sportive des Petits Lacs' camp. Photo by Mark Burgess of the Low Down

Mayor headed nearby lake association

A La Peche lake association founded and formerly presided over by Mayor Robert Bussiere reported an illegal dumping site near its territory.

Three separate piles, each about 10 square metres and a metre in height, litter the land around Lake Sinclair near East Aldfield. Mounds include roof shingles, an old vehicle battery, oil containers and a boat that gives the impression of a lake that suddenly vanished. One would be inclined to say there is everything but the kitchen sink – if there weren’t one of those as well.

Vice President of the Association Sportive des Petits Lacs Steve McCorrie reported the dump to the Low Down, expressing disgust at what he’d found on a small road accessible only by four-wheel drive a few hundred metres from his organization’s lakeside headquarters.

Bussiere founded the association in 1989 on crown land and served as president until 2006. According to the association’s information pamphlet, it became a non-profit association in 1992 and was incorporated as Association Sportive des Petits Lacs in 1995. As a non-profit, it says all profits from camping and memberships go toward stocking the lakes for fishing, parking, campgrounds and road maintenance.

Bussiere said the road where the dump is located – a narrow, grassy offshoot of chemin des Petits Lacs  a few hundred metres from the association’s main camp – was built in 1995 for removing lumber.

He said things have deteriorated at the association since his departure. He returned for the first time this summer and was “disappointed to see the changes and loss of control up there.”

The dump’s items are faded from the elements, entrenched in the ground and appear to have been there for many years. The mayor said he never noticed the site or any others while he was president but said anyone could be responsible.

McCorrie said it’s easy to see that the dumped items have been there for awhile, long before he became involved with the association two years ago.

“It’s impossible that someone would not know that the dump is there,” he said.

McCorrie said his main concern is having the dump cleared up and avoiding any further contamination. He’s concerned about the oil containers that weren’t entirely empty and the vehicle battery contaminating the soil.

Vincent Barrette, the MRC des Collines’ forestry engineer, visited the dump and later determined that it’s on crown land, making it the responsibility of the provincial government. Patrick Autotte, the technician responsible for the management of public territory for the Ministry of Natural Resources in the Outaouais, could only say that he had been informed of the dump and that his department would be looking into it.

Barrette said similar dumps probably exist all over the territory where there are accessible roads.

“It never ends,” he said.

He thought the site could be cleaned up in a day with a back hoe and that obstructing the road could prevent people from using it again, but the real problem could only be solved through public awareness campaigns explaining the danger of dumping.

Bussiere also didn’t see the dump as exceptional.

“Having such a large territory and we have a lot of forests, we’re bound to find things all over the damn place,” he said.

“It’s not a surprise. A certain percentage of people don’t understand how things should be done and don’t really care.”