OBS petition launched - New council adopts $9 million budget

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Added: Tue, 01/04/2022 - 2:30pm
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Allyson Beauregard

MRC PONTIAC – The MRC Pontiac’s new Council of Mayors met for their first meeting since the election, November 24 at the Bryson Lions Hall, with 9 new mayors. Warden Jane Toller appointed Mayor Sandra Armstrong (Mansfield) as pro-mayor for the next four years, replacing Kim Cartier-Villeneuve who didn’t seek re-election.   
The highlight of the meeting was the adoption of the 2022 budget, which saw a small increase in municipal shares paid to the MRC, going from 13 cents per $100 of evaluation in 2021 to 13.5 cents for 2022. Predicted revenues and expenses were equal at $9,004,346, up about $500,000 from last year, with $340,963 appropriated from the accumulated surplus to balance the budget (compared to $333,381 appropriated for 2021).
Presentations
Another highlight was a visit from the Pontiac Women’s Institute to present a petition they launched on November 25 asking the government to “put the measures in place to reopen the Pontiac Hospital’s obstetrics unit as soon as possible” given that it has been closed for nearly two years and expectant mothers must travel great distances to Gatineau or Ontario to give birth, which is risky for them and their babies. The petition will be available to sign for five weeks at all municipal offices. Pontiac MNA Andre Fortin will then present it to the National Assembly.
Pontiac MP Sophie Chatel joined the meeting via ZOOM to explain her recently launched initiative “Green and Prosperous Pontiac” (see page 8), which the mayors passed a resolution in support of.  
Other business
The MRC will partner with Bryson Lake Lodge to repair six culverts in the TNO area. The outfitter requested funding from the Ministry of Forests, Wildlife and Parks and the MRC will split the promoter’s contribution with them for a cost of $13,000.  
A number of donations and sponsorships were awarded: $500 for Maison Bryson’s Christmas market, $250 for Harbour Square’s Christmas dinner and angel tree projects and an additional $250 for fireworks on New Year’s Eve; and $500 to West Pontiac Connects for an outdoor Christmas market.
Using a portion of the about $900,000 the MRC received from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing (MAMH) for COVID recovery efforts, four donations/projects were approved: $10,000 to the Pontiac Artists Association and $16,000 to the Coop des Draveurs to help offset expenses related to the pandemic; $1,690 for safety kits and a defibrillator at the MRC; and $87,665 for a generator for the MRC building.  
The mayors renewed a six-month temporary suspension of activities in areas inconsistent with mining for the fifth time while the MRC is revising their master plan.