Chamber hosts annual general meeting

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Jamie Cameron

SHAWVILLE – The Pontiac Chamber of Commerce held its annual general meeting, February 20 at Café 349. Pierre Frechette, Ile-du-Grand-Calumet mayor, acted as moderator of the meeting, which several local politicians and business
owners attended, including Pontiac MP Will Amos.

Jamie Cameron

SHAWVILLE – The Pontiac Chamber of Commerce held its annual general meeting, February 20 at Café 349. Pierre Frechette, Ile-du-Grand-Calumet mayor, acted as moderator of the meeting, which several local politicians and business
owners attended, including Pontiac MP Will Amos.
Amos answered questions from the audience on a range of issues such as the decline of the Pontiac’s economy, tax relief for middle and low income families, immigration, and access to affordable high-speed internet. Back in December, the NRTC declared high-speed internet an essential service and stated that they and other large telecommunications companies will invest funds in the industry. Amos stresses how internet access is essential for local businesses.
A large concern for those present was the condition of the Pontiac’s roads. Amos highlighted how proximity to the national capital region is a major benefit for the Shawville area in terms of tourism. However, the audience stressed how
having only a two lane highway leading to the Pontiac hinders tourists from visiting the area; they suggested a four lane highway be built from Aylmer all the way to Shawville.
Amos reiterated that roads are a provincial matter. “The provincial
government and Ministry of Transport decide which roads should be invested in and then make proposals to the federal government.
I am not for or against the idea of the four-lane highway and would be interested in seeing where it goes if the proposal was made to the federal government,” he said,
noting the cost of doing so would be massive. He suggested that if that amount of money were available, it could be invested in other areas that would be more beneficial to the community than a four-lane highway.
Another concern was banking, especially in light of the announced closure
of both the Pontiac’s Laurentian Bank branches. Amos claimed it is an issue other regions are facing as well, given that 55% of Canadians now bank online. He said although banks are private institutions and the government cannot stop them from
closing, the government is working with the banks to resolve issues to prevent them from closing their doors.
After the question and answer period, the Chamber presented a review of the previous year. The Chamber is still down in members and will be launching an online survey for its members to get a better understanding of what they expect from their membership. The Chamber ran a small $2,900 deficit from April 2016
to January 31, 2017.