In a press conference held on Friday, December 13, the Pontiac Sorting Center announced that the company will proceed with laying-off 32 of their employees. According to the Sorting Center’s director of operations, Gerry Philippe, the reason for the job losses is due to a denial by the Ministry of the Environment, which would have authorized the company to use an area at the Litchfield site for disposal instead of delivering certain debris to Lachute.
“We don’t necessarily want to attack the ministry of environment, but right now, the entire Pontiac is paying for this refusal,” explained Gerry Philippe. The Pontiac Sorting Center has also refrained from blaming the ministry of the Environment but criticizes the lack of understanding on their part. "Ministry employees often come here and we always feel like we are following the rules, but each time we wait even longer and we still do not have our license. Now we can’t wait any longer, ”said Gerry Philippe.
During the press conference, the Pontiac Sorting Center thanked the several local politicians who were present, including the Warden of the MRC Pontiac Jane Toller, for their help. The Local elected officials have indicated that they support the company in their dealings with the ministry. “The Minister of the Environment does not” care “about the jobs we have here and our economic situation,” said Raymond Durocher of the Pontiac sorting center.
The Ministry of the Environment also issued a press release, on May 3, in which the company 9231-6082 Québec Inc. (the Pontiac sorting center), located in Litchfield, was ordered to cease deposit and buring of residual materials in an unauthorized place and restore the site. “Whenever the ministry comes in, we do what they tell us and when they leave, it feels like everything is okay, but nothing is resolved,” said Raymond Durocher during the conference.
An impact on Flood victims?
According to Gerry Philippe, the victims of the most recent floods could suffer the consequences. “If we could use the space right in front of our offices, which, by the way, have already contained much worse than that, we might be able to help the Pontiac more. A lot of the debris for about fifty houses affected by the floods was supposed to come here, but we will not be able to accept it,” said Gerry Philippe. "I don’t know what the next steps are. We are going to keep fighting but at the moment I cannot tell you which direction we are going with this.’’
The full interview in French with Gerry Philippe, director of operations at the Pontiac Sorting Center is available here.