This organization got its start on Mother’s Day 1997. The current Waste Connections landfill was then owned by a company called Huneault. One of their leachate holding ponds had turned septic and the stench travelling eastward on the prevailing winds was unbelievable. Leachate is the liquid material that drains from land or stockpiled material and contains significantly elevated concentrations of undesirable material derived from the material that it has passed through.
Neither Huneault nor any of our elected or appointed officials or their departments were willing to do anything to resolve the issue in the near term. A group of residents got together, called themselves Friends of The Mer Bleue, and set out to see what could be done. Representatives from the committee met with officials from Gloucester, the waste management company, the NCC and the Ministry of the Environment to find a cure. Handling and treating the leachate onsite had failed and the only solution that could be found was to drain the leachate ponds and truck it to the sewage treatment plant for processing.
Because of its actions regarding the Huneault problem The Friends, as we became known, gained credibility as a community spokesperson. The Friends have subsequently been and continue to be involved with community issues. Highlights of some of the key issues or activities are listed below;
- Proposed Landfill expansion
- Quarry operations in the community which resulted in a successful representation at the OMB
- IC&I recycling operation
- Various City of Ottawa Waste Management studies
- Presentations to City of Ottawa Council, committees and individual councillorsRepresentatives from The Friends have served on various waste management study and planning committees and continue to serve on the Waste Connections Public Advisory Committee and the Public Advisory Committee for The Greenbelt Master Plan Review
The Friends also administer the Waste Connections/Friends of Mer Bleue Community Fund . A number of the executive of The Friends also serve on local community associations within the defined geographic area of the fund and their expertise and perspective is invaluable.