2030: What’s your vision?

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Allyson Beauregard
Rédacteur / Managing Editor
editor@journalpontiac.com

As the clock struck midnight on December 31, a new decade began. It’s hard to believe another ten years have passed.

Allyson Beauregard
Rédacteur / Managing Editor
editor@journalpontiac.com

As the clock struck midnight on December 31, a new decade began. It’s hard to believe another ten years have passed.
Faced with the devastating closure of Smurfit Stone in 2008, the MRC Pontiac and various partners launched Vision2020, in 2010. They determined the region faced a threefold crisis – economic, demographic and social. The task was set: redefine the socioeconomic future of the region, its people and paint a picture of what our community would become in 10 years.
Some progress was made since 2010: the Pontiac Dialysis Unit was realized; the Centre intégré de santé et des services sociaux de l’Outaouais was born; we’ve had two new wardens, a position now elected by universal suffrage; the Cooperative de Solidarité Houblon Pontiac was founded in 2012 and we now boast several hops operations, two microbreweries and several wineries.
Yet, a lot remains the same. We’re still one of the poorest MRCs in Québec (although we’ve climbed the ladder slightly), our forest industry remains in crisis, youth retention and newcomer attraction is challenging, large industries still come and go with big promises, good paying jobs are scarce, small businesses find it tough to survive…
Why? How much of the Pontiac’s success and progress has to do with careful planning? Or is it more a matter of being dealt the right cards at the right time by the bureaucratic ‘gods’?
Nonetheless, we can’t move forward sitting on our hands. The future is partially determined by investing careful consideration into planning and making wise plays; finding the right balance between optimism and skepticism, risk-taking and playing it safe.
The Pontiac’s reality is different than when Vision2020 was created, so it’s important to review if objectives are still worth pursuing or if we should change directions.
The MRC and its partners are in the process of creating a sequel plan, ‘Vision2030’, to determine priorities and goals for the next ten years.  Vision2030
will be an inclusive group effort involving everyone – businesses, school boards,
community groups, residents.
To collect public input, the MRC started an anonymous online survey in early 2019 (www.mrcpontiac.qc.ca/questionnaire), but with only 131 responses, less than 1% of residents have participated. Sit at any local restaurant or community gathering; there’s no lack of residents with opinions, visions, complaints, or praise about the Pontiac.
Why the silence now? Or, is there a better way to collect input?
The MRC Pontiac may be far from the “land of hospitality, commerce, resources and bounty” Vision2020 hoped to see by now, but progress (a summary will be published soon) was made and opportunities are on the horizon.  
Where do you see the Pontiac in 10 years? What should be pursued or
abandoned? What proposed projects have the most potential? Public consultations are expected to begin soon and the survey is still active. Let’s put our chatter to good use!