‘Outhouse of MRC’ issue needs clear answers

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by admin on February 3, 2010

I was pleased to see the coverage of the septic waste treatment plant issue on the front page in the recent edition of the Low Down;

this is a very important issue that residents need to better understand, both as to the impact of having this type of facility in our municipality and on the process by which this decision has been made. There are, however, several inaccuracies in the article and in the opinion expressed in “From the Editor’s Desk”, which could confuse and mislead readers. Let me bring up two here, and I invite readers to consult the community blog at http://blueskyfolk.wordpress.com for further clarification.

First, the headline on page 1 is incorrect. It states that “La Peche agrees to modify sewage contract.” In fact, the Municipality of La Peche is not a party to this contract; the contract is between the MRC and engineering firm CIMA+, so only the MRC can amend this contract. To date, there has been no official agreement between the MRC and CIMA+ to modify this flawed contract.

Second, in the article from the Editor’s desk, it states that La Peche proposed sites because the MRC asked it to. In fact, if you read the post in the community blog entitled “First letter from MRC plus three La Peche resolutions” you will see what La Peche was officially asked. Namely, this letter (as translated) “…asks La Peche Council to evaluate the possibility that the MRC build a septic waste treatment plant next to the wastewater treatment plant in the Wakefield sector”.

Although requests have been made as to whether the MRC had officially sought the identification of other sites within La Peche or within other municipalities, no evidence has been presented to suggest any such requests were ever made or received.

This is clearly a difficult issue to fully understand. However, details are slowly being unearthed as to how this initial request by the MRC for the possible expansion of one existing site has resulted in our mayor and council ‘welcoming’ the municipality of La Peche as being the ‘Outhouse of the Outaouais’ for all seven municipalities in the MRC with no public engagement and no science behind the initial site selection.

I would ask at a minimum, and we should expect nothing less from our local news paper, that you ensure that the information you publish is factual, balanced and accurate in its reporting. If readers are concerned as to the speed and secrecy surrounding this issue, as are the 200 plus people who signed a formal letter to the mayor and council, they would be well advised to contact their local councillors.

Tamara Tarasoff lives in Farrellton, Quebec.