• John Jantak

Oil pipeline public information meetings in the region


Citoyens au Courant representative Marc-Antoine Benoît said the group’s primary aim is to raise awareness among Vaudreuil-Soulanges residents about the impact a possible oil spill into the Ottawa River would have on the region’s drinking water supply.

Citoyens au Courant will hold a public information meeting this evening, June 8, in Rigaud one week after the group held a similar session in Terrasse-Vaudreuil June 1 to discuss how a potential oil pipeline leak into the Ottawa River could contaminate the region’s water drinking sources.

Group representative Marc-Antoine Benoît said the aim of the meetings is to continue to raise awareness among the population throughout Vaudreuil-Soulanges about the possible consequences of a possible oil spill that would also affect several West Island municipalities.

The Trans-Canada Energy East pipeline is of particular importance to the group at the moment because of what they feel could become a major environmental disaster if a leak occurred somewhere along the underwater portion of the proposed pipeline in the Ottawa River.

Drinking water could be affected

Not only does the waterway provide drinking water for regional communities, it flows into several tributaries including the Lake of Two Mountains and the St. Lawrence River which would also become contaminated from an oil spill, said Benoît.

“We have experts who accompany us who know what they’re talking about,” Benoît told Your Local Journal. “They have studied all the various pipeline projects in North America and they have the data and records that show what happens when there is a spill and the number of spills that have happened.”

Economist Dr. Éric Pineault was one of the specialists who provided details about the Energy East pipeline project and Guy Coderre, a drinking water specialist and professor at the Centre national de formation en traitement de l’eau, spoke about how the regional drinking water supply would be adversely affected from a possible spill.

Lake of Two Mountains impact

Coderre said if an oil spill made its way from the Ottawa River into the Lake of Two Mountains, because of the lake’s shallow depth in certain spots and its constant flow and turbulence – instead of sinking to the bottom – the oil would remain in the waterway for a significant period of time and eventually make its way north along various tributaries such as the St. Lawrence River.

Citoyens au Courant grassroots group is also concerned about Bill 106 that was introduced by the provincial government in December 2016 that supports private fracking initiatives to search for gas and oil shale deposits in northern regions, said Benoît.

“We’re just a simple group of citizens,” said Benoît. “We don’t have any financing or affiliations. We’re just concerned about issues that we think everybody who lives in the area should be concerned about – the quality of our drinking water, the value of our properties and the environment.”

Mayoral candidate at info session

Vaudreuil-Dorion mayoral candidate Pierre Séguin from Team We Are was also present because of his concerns about how a possible oil spill would affect the region’s water supply.

“It was well explained that a spill into the Lake of Two Mountains would adversely affect Vaudreuil-Dorion residents and every municipality within the MRC de Vaudreuil-Soulanges. Even if there’s a spill onto the ground itself, it could affect underground water as well,” said Séguin.

This evening’s public information meeting in Rigaud will held at the Salle des Chevaliers de Colomb, 21d St. Jean Baptiste East, 2nd floor, at 7 p.m.

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