Joanne Labadie: new mayor, new vision

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Added: Wed, 12/06/2017 - 10:31pm
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Newly elected mayor Joanne Labadie meets with Municipality of Pontiac’s General Director, Ben Kuhn, to discuss current issues.

Carl Hager

MUNICIPALITY OF
PONTIAC – “It was a long time coming, but the time was right,” Joanne Labadie said as to her reasons for her bid as mayor of the Municipality of Pontiac, on November 5. She added that she has always been interested in politics, studied political science and has worked with grassroots organizations.
Labadie hopes to promote a less adversarial style of leadership, using her customer service background and business experience as guidelines. “It is important to work from the ground up, with the citizens,” she said.
Priorities
Labadie said it is essential to get a full post mortem on the flooding that occurred  along the Ottawa River this past spring, adding it is urgent for council to work on developing a civil defense plan in case of future need. “We have had summers with floods and summers with drought, both posing danger to life and property. A plan could be developed in concert with the MRC de Collines, and possibly other municipalities. For instance, it may be useful to stockpile 20,000 sandbags ready for use in case another emergency happens.” Labadie stated, adding the ground is still saturated with water from last spring. These conditions could theoretically make things worse next year.
She also noted the municipality does not have a river dinghy for rescue on the river and the firemen are not trained to do rescues in the Gatineau Hills. Nor is the municipality prepared to combat a forest fire that could threaten residents anywhere in the municipality.
The new Community Centre in Quyon, currently under construction along the Ottawa River, will be an opportunity to showcase the village, Labadie said. The Quyon Revitalization Committee will look at different options for a walkway given the danger of flooding; a natural path may be a better option than building a boardwalk. She also noted that seniors living in town need a more “people friendly” place to live, including affordable housing; they would then be drawn to the Centre to participate in activities offered there.  She would also like to encourage the development of a farmer’s market.
Ms. Labadie said fixing Quyon’s water supply and improving the sewage
treatment plant are essential fixes.  However, barely into her mandate, the needed repairs to the washout on Alary Road and the sinkhole on Mountain Road will strain her budget, making other improvements she would like to see facing their first challenges.