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Havelock committee fights asphalt factory

The municipality of Havelock has created an ad hoc committee concerning the installation of an asphalt factory on Covey Hill by the Groupe Chenail Inc.

A ruling by Quebec Superior Court judge Silvana Conte was delivered on May 10 in favour of the Saint-Rémi-based company, which plans to operate a mobile asphalt factory at the Carrières Ducharme quarry. The ruling determined that the factory is an authorized practice according to municipal bylaws. In response, Havelock mayor Gerald Beaudoin confirms the municipality has complied with the ruling. “We had to send a notice to the Commission de protection du territoire agricole (CPTAQ) stating that the factory was in conformity with our bylaw,” he says.

The municipal council’s recommendation has also been sent to the CPTAQ. “This was the first time that the council got to state their opinion, which is rare,” says Beaudoin, adding the text that was sent was not in favour of the asphalt factory. The municipality now has until June 16 to file an appeal of the Superior Court ruling. “This will be done,” says Beaudoin resolutely.

The mandate for the ad hoc committee will be to work with the municipal council and the municipality’s lawyer for a minimum duration of 18 months, with the possibility of extension depending on developments in the case. The six- or seven-member committee has no decision-making powers, but it will be called to make recommendations to the council. Its members, including one municipal councillor and a spokesperson, met for the first time last week with the lawyer.

The council also unanimously passed a resolution to request an audience with the CPTAQ during the special meeting on May 30. The asphalt factory does not yet have the approval of the CPTAQ, but some citizens present at the meeting expressed concern that it was a matter of administrative delay once the council’s notice of conformity is received.

Beaudoin says he believes the ad hoc committee will also be making a separate appeal to the CPTAQ for an audience to argue the municipality’s case.

“We are certainly hoping that the feelings of the municipality will prevail, and we will exhaust all of our legal means to make this happen,” Beaudoin says, noting they are prepared to go to great lengths to “make sure the will of the people is heard and is implemented.”

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