Youth Council elects executives

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The MRC Pontiac's Youth Council held their first official meeting and elected their executive board, February 26. / Le Conseil de la jeunesse de la MRC de Pontiac a tenu sa première réunion officielle et a élu son conseil exécutif le 26 février dernier.

Allyson Beauregard

CAMPBELL'S BAY – In the presence of MRC Pontiac Warden Jane Toller, the MRC Pontiacs Youth Council held its first official meeting, February 26 at the MRC headquarters. The main item on the agenda was electing the executive members.
“This wasn't a case of just one person volunteering for the position, there was an election for every seat,” said Toller. The group elected Jordan Larivière as
president, Nicholas Richard as vice-president, Maggie McDonald as secretary and Victoria Vickers as treasurer.
Danielle Newman, MRC Director of Economic Development, attended to speak about the MRC's online survey that is collecting views from residents to guide the planning of the 2020-2030 strategic plan, which will replace Vision 2020. The students agreed to help spread the word and encourage their peers to
participate in the survey so the strategic plan will reflect the voice of the youth and include their ideas and input.
“It's important to ensure the priorities of youth play a vital role in the plan,” said Toller, who noted there are provincial grants available for youth councils to cover things like transportation. 
Given that the current council's term ends in June, for the next while, they've decided to meet every two weeks rather than monthly in order to accomplish as much as possible before the summer, and to reach out to other students for input
and ideas as well. The group's priorities include: better internet and cellular service; recreational facilities and access to public transportation; more access to part-time and summer jobs; and road safety. According to Toller, one
student mentioned another focus could be the need for more services for mental illness.
The Council consists of 20 students between the ages of 14 and 18. “We are the first MRC out of 86 in Québec to initiate a youth council. There are other youth councils in cities like Gatineau. I was told by the mayor that it's a powerful force that has made a big difference,” said Toller, who initiated the project, which was approved by the Council of Mayors last September. Although there was originally supposed to be only one student representing each of the MRC's 18 municipalities, a misunderstanding resulted in two students from Campbell's Bay and L'Isle-aux-Allumettes this term.
Late last year, Toller spoke about the Youth Council at local high schools, where she collected names of interested students to add to those recommended by teachers and mayors. Each municipality then chose a representative. A new council will be selected in September for a one year term, that will end the
following June.