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MRC meeting - MRC prepares for spring floods and re-evaluates damaged properties

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Added: Wed, 03/25/2020 - 3:38pm
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Allyson Beauregard

MRC PONTIAC – The MRC Pontiac’s monthly Council of Mayors meeting went ahead as planned on March 18, but it was closed to the public and media due
to Covid-19 concerns. Six mayors attended in person while another ten either
participated via telephone or video conference. Warden Jane Toller spoke with
the Journal to discuss the meeting’s highlights.
In April, MRC evaluators will begin reassessing properties affected by the 2019 floods to reflect any changes in value. “They will do a few municipalities each month and any changes will be retroactive to May 2019,” said Toller.
The MRC agreed to spend about $1,200 annually to retain the services of Mark Tremblay at Deveau Avocats to offer legal advice when needed for ethical issues. 
Along with the region’s four other MRC’s, MRC Pontiac will participate in a coordinated marketing and branding effort for the Outaouais at a cost of about $5,000.
The mayors discussed their readiness for any spring flooding and all municipalities are equipped with sandbags, either empty or filled, and have emergency plans in place. Toller will reach out to the appropriate authorities for predictions about what the spring may bring. “We want to better anticipate what will happen to avoid surprises,” she said. The MRC is also looking into creating a emergency response coordination plan so this duty isn’t placed on the backs of municipalities in emergencies.
The MRC will participate in an agricultural immigration pilot project through the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing (MAMH) where a family will be invited to move to the region and farm some of the land for a three year period. The project would operate through the Arterre program which pairs aspiring farmers without land with owners of unused farmland.
The mayors supported resolutions prepared by other MRCs and municipalities asking the Minister of Finance, the Minister of MAMH and the Minister of Transport to establish a new, well-financed fund for road work that respects the ability of municipalities to pay, given that existing funds can be hard to access for some municipalities. “A current MTQ program requires municipalities to have engineering plans done before they can submit their application, which can easily cost over $100,000 in some cases,” said Kim Lesage, MRC Pontiac engineer.
Council also unanimously supported Clarendon’s resolution stressing the urgency of reopening the Pontiac Community Hospital’s obstetrics unit by September and another from Mansfield asking the government to earmark
cutting rights for two Crown land properties near Energy Davidson needed to secure the business’ re-opening or to risk having roads blocked.
The next Council of Mayors meeting will be held April 15, although it’s unknown if it will again be closed to the public.