Mayors of the Pontiac Regional County Municipality (MRC Pontiac) in western Quebec recently voted to scrap plans to build a waste-to-energy (WTE) facility that would have costed up to $500 million to build. MRC Pontiac has 14,000 residents who live in 18 municipalities.

The decision comes after the mayors of the Pontiac Region commissioned a last fall $120,000 plan to study the option of building a waste-to-energy facility to manage the Regions municipal solid waste. The plan to construct a 400,000 tonne per year WTE facility that could manage waste MRC Pontiac and surrounding municipalities in the area including Ottawa and Gatineau.

The vote to scrap the construction of a WTE facility was unanimous. One factor leading to the rejection was the public opposition to the proposal with the main concerns being safety, environmental impact, and cost .

The facility would have employed 800 people during construction and 50 permanent employees. In Canada, there are municipal waste incinerators operating in several municipalities across the country including Charlottetown, PEI, Clarington, Ontario, Brampton, Ontario, and Burnaby, B.C.

Instead of pursuing a WTE facility, MRC Pontiac Council voted to develop a zero-waste strategy that focuses on increasing recycling rates, composting organics, and reducing waste at source.