Controversy continues at the MRC


Allyson Beauregard

MRC PONTIAC – The MRC Pontiac’s mayors met virtually for their monthly Council of Mayors (CoM) meeting, February 17, with continued controversy at the table.
Eight mayors voted against the adoption of the meeting agenda after Mayor Winston Sunstrum (L’Isle-aux-Allumettes) asked to add three items to the
agenda, and Mayor Alain Gagnon, Bryson, asked to add another. Warden Jane Toller refused their requests. She referenced a new policy created during January’s meeting stating items must be discussed during plenary meetings before appearing on the CoM agenda.
Sunstrum, after stating the new policy had no legal bearing, backed down, but said he would be “challenging the decision in the days to come”. After the meeting, Toller said she believed there was a consensus of understanding among the mayors regarding the policy during the last plenarymeeting and that the MRC
is in the process of creating an official bylaw.
Another heated debate took place when it came time to approve the hiring of
a consultant for phase two of the MRC’s investment attraction project, which
will be completed using about $95,000 from Fonds d’appui au rayonnement des régions (FARR). David Cyr was hired, but Mayor John Armstong (Clarendon) argued it was inappropriate to adopt the resolution without revealing a decision the mayors made during the last plenary meeting concerning the bio-park project.
After some back and forth discussion, Toller said the mayors unanimously want the bio-park project to move forward, but nine of them do not want the MRC to provide any further financial support.
Public affairs
Tribute was paid to Jerome Sallafranque, a L’Isle-aux-Allumettes resident
who passed away recently. Sunstrum detailed his vast community involvement as a “strong community supporter,” which included many years as councillor and Mayor of Allumette Island West and volunteer with numerous non-profit organizations in the Upper Pontiac.
Kim Rivet from Campbell’s Bay submitted an email question asking if Transcollines will reinstate an Ottawa drop-off for the Pontiac run rather than requiring users to use the Société de transport de l’Outaouais (STO) network to reach Ottawa from Aylmer. Toller said Transcollins has no plans to resume this service, but they are working on improving connection delays and travel time.
An extra $5,000 to accommodate rising steel prices was awarded to
install a mobile boat washing station at the ZEC St-Patrice reception station in Sheenboro to curb the spread of invasive species, bringing the MRC’s investment to $30,000.
A piece of artwork was purchased from Nancy Dagenais for $1,400 to add to the MRC’s regional art collection at its headquarters.
La Maison des Jeunes du Pontiac is working on creating an online interactive map of outdoor rinks in the Pontiac area to notify residents of what’s new and other details, like hours of operation.
The Carrefour jeunesse-emploi du Pontiac is taking the lead in launching the Place aux Jeunes en Region – Pontiac program in April 2021 with a $5,000 contribution from the MRC. The program’s goal is to support young people in their
journey towards autonomy by offering them stimulating , healthy, safe and open living environments, and to help and support them with their learning, projects and potential by using services already offered as well as complementary actions adapted to their needs.
The MRC partnered with students from École Secondaire Sieur-de-Coulonge (ESSC) for phase two of their Equipiste project, which involves installing bike repair stations along the PPJ trail: three were installed last year. ESSC will install three to five more stations this year while the MRC will fund an additional one to three (about $3,000 each) using the PPJ budget.
Donald Levsque from Construction Bonne Façon will create two closed office spaces in the MRC headquarters in “wasted space” for $8,960.
Intra-municipal (Crown) public lands in Rapides-des-Joachims were added to the MRC’s territorial management agreement, which will allow new development and construction. According to Mayor Jim Gibson (Rapides), about 80% of the island is crown land, which limits development and investor attraction.
The Solinov firm was contracted to complete a study of the management of organic matter in the MRC Pontiac for $20,000.
Fire and safety
The MRC’s Public Safety Committee (CSP) identified two priorities for 2021-2022, which will be addressed with targeted Sûreté du Quebec patrols: reduce property crimes and decrease violations concerning recreation and tourism safety.
The mayors appointed Bernard Roy, MRC director general, to sign a memorandum of understanding with l’École Nationale des Pompiers du Québec to
provide courses for various firefighter training programs. There is a possibility of offering this training locally within the MRC Pontiac through the partnership agreement.
The next CoM meeting will be held March 17.