Saint-Anicet residents have rejected a municipal proposal to create an ecocentre within the municipality.
Residents were invited to sign a register to approve or reject bylaw number 553, which authorizes an expense of $1,611,051 for the construction of an ecocentre. According to the bylaw, the municipality intended to borrow $1,235,851 to fund the project. Funding requests were also sent to Recyc-Québec and the Fonds Régions et Ruralité through the MRC du Haut-Saint-Laurent.
The register was opened on May 23. A total of 2,259 residents were eligible to vote, and at least 237 signatures were required to force a referendum on the subject. At the end of the day, 324 residents had signed the register. The following morning, Saint-Anicet director general Denis Lévesque declared the resolution to have been rejected.
The municipal council now has until July 3, or the date of the next regular council meeting, to decide whether to force a referendum, to rework the project to lower the amount of the loan, or to abandon the project altogether. Lévesque says the council is also waiting on a meeting with the municipality of Sainte-Barbe, which might affect their decision.
Lévesque says an important aspect to the decision will be determining whether voters were against the ecocentre or the expense. “Some want one but at less cost, while others don’t want one at all,” he explains, noting the members of the council have accepted the citizens’ decision.
The ecocentre project as presented would have been open year-round with limited hours during the winter season. It would create two permanent positions and an additional two summer positions for area young people. The municipality had been planning to allow both residents and local business owners to benefit from the sorting centre and waste recovery site.
“Whether we go to a referendum or a smaller project, there will be public consultations,” Lévesque says. “We absolutely have to reduce our impact on landfills,” he adds, noting there is pressure on the municipality to act concretely to reduce the amount of waste being generated.