Resident in Aylmer disturbed by persistent odour and vermin infestation in backyard
Aylmer resident, Felicia St-Amour, has been grappling with an ongoing issue in her backyard, stemming from the presence of a nearby garbage dumpster. The foul odour emanating from the dumpster has become a persistent problem, particularly during the summer months, significantly impacting St-Amour's quality of life. Moreover, the unsanitary conditions have attracted vermin, leading to disturbances within her home.
St-Amour expressed her frustration, stating, "The smell continues to be a persistent problem in our backyard, especially after the temperature increases. During the recent hot weather, the odour was noticeable even from the backyard all the way to my parking spot out front." The situation has become even more challenging for St-Amour and her family due to the increasing infestation of mice which have been discovered within their property.
For two consecutive years, despite lodging complaints with the city, city councillors, and Habitations Rivières de l'Outaouais, Felicia St-Amour has been left disappointed by the absence of any satisfactory resolution to the issues she has raised. With a sense of urgency, St-Amour hopes for a prompt resolution, suggesting potential remedies such as relocating the dumpster away from her property or implementing a more frequent pick-up schedule. However, she acknowledges the financial implications that such solutions might entail. Given the prolonged duration of the situation, St-Amour urges the City of Gatineau to address the matter promptly and effectively.
In response to St-Amour's concerns, Bernard Campeau, the Director-General of Habitations Rivières de l'Outaouais, shed light on the company's perspective. Campeau emphasized the challenges faced by the management company in dealing with illegal dumping from external individuals. He highlighted that the company had engaged in extensive efforts to communicate with the city and had shared pictures and videos documenting the issue.
Campeau acknowledged that education played a crucial role in addressing the garbage problem. He stated, "We are trying to educate our tenants and raise awareness about proper waste disposal. However, it is difficult when people from outside the community dump their garbage illegally, compounding the issue." He further mentioned that the company engaged a private cleaning company to wash the garbage containers and cover the top with special products to mitigate the odour. However, due to the high volume of waste and environmental factors like heat and wind, complete elimination of the smell remains challenging.
Regarding potential solutions, Campeau highlighted two possibilities. Firstly, he mentioned a new type of garbage container used by some supermarkets, which is partially buried in the ground, with only the top visible. This design reduces odour and is more secure. However, he acknowledged the significant cost associated with replacing all existing garbage containers with this model. Secondly, Campeau suggested that implementing a weekly garbage pick-up schedule, similar to the city of Trois-Rivières, could help alleviate the foul odour problem.
Campeau stressed that the issue extends beyond Habitations Rivières de l'Outaouais, pointing out that improper waste disposal by external individuals aggravates the situation. He emphasized the need for collaboration between the city, management companies, and residents to find effective and sustainable solutions.
Amid the persistent concerns raised by Aylmer resident Felicia St-Amour, Municipal Councillor Steven Boivin, representing the Aylmer district, has made it clear that he is committed to taking decisive action and exploring all possible avenues for resolution, including sending out another inspector. Recognizing the gravity of the issue, Councillor Boivin has expressed his determination to look further into the matter and hopefully find a satisfactory solution for the resident and community.
The problem faced by St-Amour reflects a complex issue requiring comprehensive efforts and cooperation from all stakeholders involved. It is hoped that the City of Gatineau and Habitations Rivières de l'Outaouais will work together to address the matter promptly.
Photo caption: (Photo left) Felicia St-Amour’s children holding their noses in an attempt to block the odours in their backyard. (Photo right) photo and diagram illustrating that the dumpster is right up against the fence along Felicia St-Amour's backyard; uploaded by Felicia St-Amour on June 11, 2023, to the Aylmer Community group on Facebook.
Photo credits: Felicia St-Amour