• John Jantak

Pincourt requests joint federal/provincial action amid water contamination concern


The Town of Pincourt adopted a resolution at the March 8 council meeting calling on the federal and provincial governments to begin working together to devise a strategy to remove an abandoned cargo ship on Lac St. Louis near Beauharnois because of concerns that any leakage of toxic materials could affect the drinking water supplied to Pincourt, Notre Dame de l’Île Perrot and Terrasse-Vaudreuil.

Citing concerns over its water supply, the Town of Pincourt adopted a resolution at the Tuesday evening council meeting on March 8 that calls on the federal and provincial governments to begin working together to devise a strategy to remove a decrepit abandoned cargo ship that has been anchored in the southwestern waters of Lac-St. Louis off the south shore municipality of Beauharnois for almost five years.

Mayor Yvan Cardinal said the resolution is warranted because even though the town itself isn’t in close proximity to the abandoned Kathryn Spirit cargo ship, it draws its potable water supply from an intake pipe located about eight kilometers from where the ship is anchored.

The town is concerned that a situation might arise where whatever minimal amounts of toxic materials are still aboard the ship could seep into and contaminate the waterway if the vessel ever capsized.

“With the Beauharnois Dam and the various currents there, we observed that the current goes up to our water plant at some points in time,” said Pincourt Town Manager Michel Perrier. “We’re very much concerned about this situation as is the city of Beauharnois that should an event occur where there’s damage to the structure or leakage of some sort into the river, it could affect our water plant and the distribution of water in the territory,” said Perrier.

A toxic spill of any kind would not only affect Pincourt, but also neighbouring Notre Dame de l’Île Perrot and Terrasse-Vaudreuil which also get their drinking water through the auspices of the Régie de l’eau de l’Île Perrot (REIP) which manages the water supply for all three municipalities. The city of L’Île Perrot has its own drinking water supply system.

The text of the resolution state that any incident which may occur in the wreck of the Kathryn Spirit would have a serious impact on the intake of water by the Régie de l’eau de l'Île Perrot, which supplies drinking water to more than 27,000 people Terrasse-Vaudreuil, NDIP and Pincourt.

The resolution also requests that the abandoned ship be removed from its present location and transferred to an area where it would have minimal impact on the surrounding environment and be less of a detriment to the health of citizens living in Beauharnois and Pincourt if an emergency situation were to occur.

“The council is requesting the federal and provincial governments, agencies and ministries to act together in order to find a solution and see that that boat disappears from its present location and is put somewhere else where it won’t jeopardize the environment or the quality of life for the people living in the surrounding,” said Perrier.

Copies of the resolution were sent to Catherine McKenna, the federal minister of Environment and Climate Change; David Heurtel, the provincial minister of Sustainable Development, Environment and the Fight against Climate Change; Vaudreuil-Soulanges federal Liberal MP Peter Schiefke and Vaudreuil provincial MNA Marie-Claude Nichols requesting their intervention in the matter.

Pincourt is also seeking assistance and support from the Montreal Metropolitan Community (CMM) and the Municipalité Régionale de Comté (MRC) de Vaudreuil-Soulanges to help expedite the process. “We want to assure the City of Beauharnois that they have our support from the Town of Pincourt and we will cooperate in any action to reach a definitive solution to this situation,” said Cardinal.

This is the second time that Pincourt has adopted a resolution calling for joint federal/provincial action to resolve the situation regarding the Kathryn Spirit. “We adopted a similar resolution a couple of years ago. We’re just reiterating that things must happen. The mayor of Beauharnois (Claude Haineault) is warning that the boat is starting to list onto its side,” said Cardinal.

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