A new eco-centre in Odanak
From left to right: Alain O’Bomsawin, Councillor; Samuel Dufour, Director of the Odanak Environment and Land Bureau; Florence Benedict, Councillor; Pascal Théroux, Mayor of Saint-François-du-Lac; Joannie Beaupré, GMR Project Manager; Éric Descheneaux, Mayor of Pierreville; Rick O’Bomsawin, Chef d’Odanak; Jacques T. Watso, Advisor and Yolaine Lampron, Executive Director of Saint-Elphège
The Abenaki Council of Odanak and its Environment and Land Office (BETO) are proud to announce the construction of a brand new ecocentre in their community. The new facilities, which will begin construction in mid-May, will also be made available to the neighbouring municipalities of Saint-Elphège, Saint-François-du-Lac and Pierreville. As a result, nearly 5,000 people will be able to benefit from this new service as of next July, responding to the growing interest and concern for environmental protection.
This ambitious project will be made possible in part through funding from Aboriginal Services Canada (ASC). The Honourable Seamus O’Regan, Minister of Aboriginal Services, has nothing but good things to say about the latter: “Congratulations to the Abenakis of Odanak for this eco-responsible and unifying project. The Government of Canada is proud to support this initiative, which will contribute to the prosperity and self-sufficiency of residents of the community and surrounding municipalities. ”The new eco-centre is above all a project that caps the environmental efforts made since the closure of the region’s largest illegal dump almost three decades ago. Indeed, the establishment of such an infrastructure represents a significant advance for waste management in the sector since access to nearby ecocentres (Drummondville and Pierre de Saurel) is an unlikely alternative. In 2018, BETO had prepared a portrait of the community’s needs by evaluating the use and traffic of the mixed materials recovery centre already in place. The clear results of this analysis and the evaluation of partnership opportunities have made it possible to set up a system adapted for the future ecocentre and an intermunicipal collaboration project. The Chief of the Odanak community, Mr. Rick O’Bomsawin, says he is very happy to see this project finally come to fruition. “All efforts, big or small, allow us to honour our roles and responsibilities as guardians of this land. In addition, we believe that working with neighbouring municipalities reinforces the positive impact that this recycling initiative will have on our lands. “This opinion is shared by the mayor of the municipality of St-François-du-Lac, Pascal Théroux, who says he is proud to have a good collaboration with the community of Odanak since “it has helped to meet an urgent need, namely the adequate elimination of various materials, at a reasonable cost and accessible near our territory”.
The development of this partnership is not only intended to be a platform for mutual assistance and cooperation that promotes ties between Aboriginal people and Allochthones, but also to provide the Odanak community with the opportunity to further sort materials at source through diversified recycling channels, in addition to achieving greater financial autonomy in the management of large waste and mixed materials.
As Joannie Beaupré, responsible for waste management at BETO, points out, “Mutual assistance is an emblematic value of Aboriginal culture. It is therefore very rewarding for the Abenakis of Odanak to be the instigators of a large-scale partnership with the surrounding villages, but above all to have developed such a project in collaboration with a majority of indigenous organizations such as the FNQLSDI, the technical services of the Grand Council of the Waban-Aki Nation, not to mention the valuable advice of the other Nations that have been there. » The future ecocentre will be located on the same site as the former Odanak landfill, however, from July onwards, the latter will be accessible via a new segment funded by SAC. Until the official opening of this eco-centre, the community of Odanak will be running a temporary support service. The accepted materials, user rules and regulations, opening hours, as well as the itinerary to get there (intersection of Skamonal and Managuan streets), are available on the Facebook page of the Odanak Environment and Land Office. The back-up depot site will be open as of May 9, 2019 for residents of Odanak and as of May 23, 2019 for residents of other municipalities.