01/14/2013 21:24 EST | Updated 03/16/2013 05:12 EDT

Gaspé stalls company's plans for oil drilling with new by-laws

Gaspé city council said it will do everything in its power to stop the Pétrolia exploration company from drilling on a plot of land near the municipality.

François Roussy, the mayor of Gaspé, located on the shores of the Saint-Lawrence River on the Gaspé peninsula, said new municipal by-laws make it illegal for the company to drill for oil and gas in the area.

He said the new rules were adopted on Dec. 19 because the provincial government's regulations were not strict enough to protect water and land resources in the area.

Pétrolia was planning to drill in several places on the outskirts of the city in the Haldimand neighbourhood.

"We realized that the City of Gaspé was alone in this," said Roussy.

He said the city supports drilling, but not at the expense of putting drinking water supplies at risk.

"It's a difficult decision, but it's too important for the quality of the water," he said. "It's a priority for the [city] of Gaspé."

At a news conference, the mayor said many requests for information were filed with Pétrolia and the Quebec government

Pétrolia has not commented on its plans.

The Quebec Federation of Chambers of Commerce has asked the Quebec government to intervene and greenlight Pétrolia's project despite the new by-law.

The federation said the company has already met government demands and holds all of the necessary permits to go ahead with the exploration.