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UPA Mauricie calls for the relocation of the Bellemare Group

Natasha Kumar By Natasha Kumar Nov30,2023

The Federation of the Union of Agricultural Producers (UPA) of Mauricie sent a letter described as a “missive” to Mayor Jean Lamarche to demand that the City of Trois -Rivières finds a glass packaging site which has less impact on the neighboring environment. The Bellemare Group's activities take place near agricultural land.

L&rsquo ;UPA Mauricie calls for the relocation of the Bellemare Group

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The Quebec Ministry of the Environment has received more than 446 reports since 2017 concerning noise, odors and dust coming from the site of the business.

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C'est à Trois- Rivières, on the Groupe Bellemare company site, that 25% of the province's glass is recycled. This flagship of the regional economy plans to double its capacity with the future arrival of the expanded glass deposit, in a rural area.

However, a report from the show Enquêterevealed all of the Bellemare Group's environmental infractions over the years for all of its activities, which also include landfilling and aggregate processing.

These activities generate significant nuisance for the neighborhood. A watercourse located in a peat bog to be protected, according to the City of Trois-Rivières, contains high concentrations of PFAS, eternal contaminants.

The regional director of the UPA of Mauricie, Sylvain Samuel, signed a resolution, adopted by elected officials during the executive council held on November 8, in which we highlight the repercussions of industrial activities on the neighborhood.

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To avoid suffering the effects of the heat, market gardener Étienne Boulay dresses in white. After a day of picking under the nets that protect the blueberries, his shirt and cap are blackened by dust.

The president, Martin Marcouiller, adds his voice to that of the director to remind that the recovery of glass seems to be not permitted under the City's zoning regulations.

Trois-Rivières has also admitted that uses carried out by the Bellemare Group for years are no longer authorized by its town planning regulations but that the court is the only one capable of ruling on the existence of an acquired right.

Recently, this issue has occupied the debates of the municipal council. The City of Trois-Rivières would like the development plan to be modified to bring the activities of the Bellemare Group into compliance. Citizens of the district have mobilized to voice their discontent on several occasions.

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Étienne Boulay and Sophie Deshaies are co-owners of Bleuetière des Vieilles Forges. It was in 2013 that the first blueberry bushes were planted.

Among them are organic blueberry producers Étienne Boulay and Sophie Deshaies. It is also in their defense that UPA Mauricie comes, since their production area is located 600 meters from the Bellemare Group facilities.

Tests carried out by Gérald Zagury, full professor in the Department of Civil, Geological and Mining Engineering at Polytechnique Montréal, conclude that metal concentrations are very low on Mr. Boulay's land.

Both director Sylvain Samuel and president Martin Marcouiller are urging the City of Trois-Rivières to force the company to relocate its activities to an area where there will be no impacts for citizens and agricultural producers.

Upon learning of the UPA Mauricie approach, the Bellemare Group quickly contacted several stakeholders from the Federation to request a meeting. This meeting will take place Thursday at 2 p.m.

The company did not want to comment until then, other than to clarify that&#x27 ;it has never been consulted before by the UPA.

The Bellemare Group considers that the letter and the resolution contain falsehoods. It was impossible for him to specify which ones to Radio-Canada.

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The Bellemare Group is a family business managed by three brothers. Serge Bellemare is one of the co-presidents, at the head of the Bellemare Abrasives and Minerals divisions as well as Bellemare Environnement.

As for the UPA, it stipulates that its This approach aims above all to defend the interests of the blueberry producer. Other agricultural lands, she says, benefit from a barrier of trees which means that they are less affected by activities.

One of the neighboring owners of the Bellemare Group benefits from a financial agreement with the company, which operates part of its land as a gravel-sand pit.

The The Agricultural Land Protection Commission had also opposed this agreement, but its judgment was overturned in 2015.

In court documents , we learn that this agreement generates significant non-agricultural income for the owner and his successors.

Since the broadcast of the report from the program Enquête, the Ministry of the Environment has observed nine new environmental breaches for which five notices of non-compliance were issued.

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The end of the dike on the Bellemare Group site was stoned exactly where a water leak was discovered.

The ministry confirms that the Bellemare Group is also the subject of an investigation with a view to criminal recourse. Such an investigation could lead to further fines.

Approximately $40,000 in fines have already been imposed on the Bellemare Group for environmental infractions that affect all of its activities.

Among the new breaches, the Bellemare Group has developed a rainwater management basin and stoned part of its site without holding ministerial authorization, which is nevertheless required by law on the quality of the environment.

Outdoor bulk storage of aggregates was also done without authorization and this had the effect of releasing a contaminant into a watercourse. In addition, the ministry accuses the company of emitting an odor associated with the glass processing process.

At the request of public health, the Bellemare Group has implemented an action plan to mitigate nuisances and measure the impacts. The results of these tests are still awaited.

For his part, Mayor Jean Lamarche is stingy with comments. We take note of the letter and we will not make any comments, indicated his political attaché, Marc André Hould, in an email sent to Radio-Canada.

The Ministry of Agriculture also reserved its comments.

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Natasha Kumar

By Natasha Kumar

Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my 1-800-268-7116

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