This action, launched on Wednesday, follows an embarrassing exchange of emails between officials, which was inadvertently transferred to a resident of the Laterrière sector.
One of the ministry employees wrote:
They are never happy! I start to have my trip! in reference to the citizens who denounce, among other things, the stench of their environment.
The lawyer Éric Le Bel has been appointed to represent the citizens.
It is your duty to inspect and intervene to protect the environment. The problems experienced by the neighbors are far from resolved and the latter have every reason to call you to report these situations.remember the lawyer.
” With such a comment, how can the neighbors believe that you are handling their complaint with neutrality and due diligence? »
The ministry’s regional spokeswoman, Sophie Gauthier, said Thursday that the embarrassing statements written by an official constitute
an isolated case that does not reflect the way in which employees usually treat whistleblowers and does not reflect the values of courtesy and respect that the organization transmits.
The department emphasizes that the process that governs the treatment of environmental complaints foresees an adequate handling marked by equity, rigor, responsibility, transparency and respect.
homework to do
The residents of Laterrière are now demanding that the officials respect them more and return to the place to better assess the problems they denounce.
We can read in the letter that the citizens indicated
a lot of pollution around your residence, all caused by the activities of Gazon Savard, in particular the presence of plastic bags in the trees and on the ground, polluted waterways and the presence of dead birds.
Several complaints have been sent to the ministry in this regard.
Reviewing the department’s inspection reports, the complainants also concluded that the interventions carried out on the premises often lasted only a few minutes. They consider that this is insufficient to adequately identify the problems experienced.
The communication consultant for the Ministry of the Environment explains that the files related to odors are complex and that the ministry must document the situation from observations, find the source of the odors and then determine if they are in violation of the regulations.
Sophie Gauthier assures that the department will use all the means at its disposal to determine if there is a violation in this file and that it will not hesitate to use the resources at its disposal to enforce the law, if necessary.
a first step
The formal notice is a first step, warns the lawyer Éric Le Bel. If the neighbors consider it necessary, they will not hesitate to go further and launch
all useful judicial procedures, including the precautionary measure and any extraordinary appeal before the Superior Court against officials and the minister.
The letter was also sent to the Environment Minister, Benoit Charette, to ensure that officials carry out their work with diligence and in accordance with the law.
The Minister responsible for Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, Andrée Laforest, and the Mayor of Saguenay, Julie Dufour, also received a copy of the formal notification.
In the meantime, the Department maintains that the response time to address odor complaints is commensurate with the time required to make the necessary checks.
This file is treated with rigor, diligence and in compliance with the rules of the technique in terms of environmental control.Sophie Gauthier writes.