FQM congress: Municipalities meet in Quebec City

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Bonnie James
Local Journalism Initiative

More than 30 delegates from the Pontiac attended the 81st annual congress of the Fédération québécoise des municipalities (FQM) in Quebec City September 28 – 30. Representatives from the MRC Pontiac included mayors, director generals, and councillors.

The event brings together municipal representatives from across the province to discuss, share, and debate current issues impacting the day-to-day management of communities. Policy workshops led to the FQM’s adoption of seven resolutions concerning climate change, emergency measures, forestry, housing, protected areas, and ethics and accountability.

Premier François Legault spoke at the event, reaffirming the CAQ government’s commitment to complete cellular network coverage, province-wide, by the end of his term in 2026. He also reiterated the province’s commitment to invest $470 M in the vitality of village centers and the Regions and Rurality Fund (FRR).

Much of the conference was dedicated to climate change adaption plans. MRC Pontiac Warden Jane Toller — who attended sessions on waste management, the environment and forestry — said the plans are focused on reducing carbon footprints and greenhouse gases through a multi-angled approach that includes planting trees and transitioning to electric vehicles.

The waste management session focused on composting. Grants are available for municipalities to provide residents with home composting bins at no cost, something the MRC Pontiac ’s waste management committee will consider in their planning.

A need for decentralizing management was stressed in the forestry session with a call for the autonomy of local and regional industry. Community forests were also discussed, with Toller noting a keen desire for creating one in the Pontiac. She spoke of the benefits of these forests, including wood supply for small mills and recreation opportunities. There was lengthy discourse surrounding the impact of this year’s forest fires, with an emphasis on the need for more planes and support for the Société de protection des forêts contre le feu (SOPFEU).

Toller said negotiations for the renewal of the fiscal pact between the provincial government and municipalities was the agenda item that will have the greatest impact on the Pontiac. “As a spokesperson for the regions, the Federation reiterated it will not accept any setback regarding the renewal of the fiscal pact and wants to preserve all the achievements and above all the payment to municipalities of the value of the growth of one QST point,” said Jacques Demers, president of the FQM, mayor of Sainte-Catherine-de-Hatley and warden of the MRC of Memphrémagog.