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Residents in Pontiac, Que. region voice concerns over proposed waste-to-energy garbage incinerator

Residents gather at the Campbell’s Bay Recreation Centre to hear presentations about the proposed garbage incinerator in the Pontiac region on March 2, 2024 (Katelyn Wilson/CTV News Ottawa). Residents gather at the Campbell’s Bay Recreation Centre to hear presentations about the proposed garbage incinerator in the Pontiac region on March 2, 2024 (Katelyn Wilson/CTV News Ottawa).
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A proposed waste-to-energy garbage incinerator that could see some of Ottawa’s trash burned there has some residents in the Pontiac region on edge.

The project would see about 400,000 tons of garbage brought in from places like Pembroke, Renfrew County and Ottawa.

On Saturday, dozens of residents gathered in Campbell’s Bay for a meeting. Many were in opposition to the project, voicing concerns over air and water pollution, along with possible health risks.

“It’s impossible to run an incinerator without resulting in emissions of dioxins and some heavy metals and other organic compounds that create cancer,” said Meg Sears, the chair of Prevent Cancer Now.

Brian Lepine has lived in the Pontiac his entire life and was also on hand with his concerns.

“This area is everything to me it’s home, my people are here, my community is here, my family is here,” Lepine said. “Pontiac only produces 5,000 tons of garbage a year and we compost 40 per cent of it, yet we are going to be hauling in 400,000 tons of other people’s garbage to be burned here.”

But Warden Jane Toller says the technology for the incinerator would be state of the art, modelled after plants in Europe.

“What we are looking at is only after all of the waste has been recycled and all the waste possible can be composted, we’re just looking at the residual waste,” said Toller.

The waste would then be converted into energy, which Toller says is a possible solution to the growing problem of waste management, as landfills are decommissioned.

“We would like to further study this and get more information but, I will say it again, I have children and grandchildren and I too want to make sure this is an environmentally safe and healthy solution,” said Toller.

It’s a project that could take many years before becoming a reality. One that is estimated to cost $450 to $500 million dollars.

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