Quebec on Tuesday revoked the license for a controversial recycling site in Kanesatake, near Oka, which has violated several sections of the Environment Act for years.
“Despite the numerous interventions carried out in recent years aimed at returning the company to compliance [G & R Recyclage], the latter still does not operate its site in accordance with the Environment Quality Act and with the authorization issued by the ministry, ”the Ministry of the Environment indicated in a press release to justify its decision to prohibit the continuation of the company’s activities.
G&R Recyclage, owned by Mohawk brothers Robert and Gary Gabriel, is located on the border of the towns of Oka and Saint-Placide, on a strip of Mohawk land. It received its permit from the ministry in 2015 to operate a sorting center for construction and demolition materials. But after barely a year of activity, the ministry noticed that equipment was stored outside the authorized area, that the place received unauthorized fine residues and that there was no water treatment to prevent the release of leachate into the environment.
Despite fines and numerous notices of non-compliance, the business has continued to grow as complaints from citizens and mayors of neighboring municipalities have multiplied. They complained about the foul odors, the incessant passage of trucks and worried about the contamination of Lac des Deux Montagnes.
In its report dated March 2020, the ministry indicates that the volume of residual material on the site is more than 400,219 cubic meters, while the authorized limit is 27,800 cubic meters. So that’s 15 times more than the allowable limit. The report also noted a “resurgence of blackish, intensely smelling water flowing into the environment.”
G&R was notified on August 28 of the ministry’s intention to revoke its license. A decision contested by its co-owners. They had not responded to our calls at the time of this writing. In interview with The duty in September, however, Robert Gabriel admitted having problems on his field. “We are working on them to try to resolve them. And withdrawing the license will not solve anything, it will not make the problem disappear, ”he said.
“I’m happy, it really relieves me,” responded in an interview with Grand Chief Serge Simon, of the Kanesatake council. The Gabriel brothers’ business has been a problem in the community for years. G & R Recyclage was initially located on Rang du Milieu, in the heart of the community. Many residents complained, which created a climate of tension and even violence, says Grand Chief Simon. The situation had encouraged him to offer a piece of land in a more remote area to the co-owners of the company. He was far from imagining that the recycling site would become a “real environmental disaster”.
“Now that their permit is revoked, we will be able to think about finding a solution to get rid of this rubbish,” he said, specifying that several avenues are being considered, in particular the use of technology to “incinerate the materials on the site and create energy without toxic release into the atmosphere ”. “With the negative, we can do good anyway,” said the great chef Simon.