Last night, I attended the Pointe-Claire municipal council meeting to follow up on the most recent developments in the PCB spill and contamination at 86 Hymus Boulevard. Mayor Morris Trudeau was on vacation and therefore absent. His replacement, Paul Bissonnette began the meeting by reading off a prepared statement reaffirming the city of Pointe-Claire’s explicit support for the actions of the Québec government and the ministry of the environment on this file.
Later on in the meeting they awarded a one hundred and three thousand dollar contract to a public relations firm that specializes in crisis management.
Morris Trudeau’s administration is going into « crisis » mode over this issue – but not in the way the public would expect. Their crisis is a crisis of legitimacy, public relations and image. Meanwhile, people’s health has been put at risk and the current decontamination process is slow and inadequate.
By contrast, during the question period, city manager Robert-F. Weemaes affirmed that he was in regular contact with ministry officials and said that without his insistence and pressure the process would not be where it is now.
The fact of the matter is that almost three years after the spill there remains 520 dump-truck loads of PCB contaminated soil both on the land and underneath the building. The building itself was used to illegally store hundreds of barrels of waste PCB oil. The concrete floor is contaminated and PCB laced dust is a breathing hazard. These facts are all outlined in the ministry of environment’s internal report that they attempted to keep confidential until it was published following an Access to Information request.
While the Ministry of Environment continues to push back the timeline for decontamination the site remains accessible to children and adults as the front gate is not secured. There are no signs indicating that the soil is contaminated on the site and the owner is advertising the building as being available for rent.
The Green Party of Québec will continue to stand up for the residents of Pointe-Claire in the months and years to come.
Video of the council meeting: http://bit.ly/1TSB2Ps
My exchange with the replacement mayor begins at 1:22:50