Health initiatives supported by MRC Pontiac

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Allyson Beauregard


Allyson Beauregard

CAMPBELL’S BAY – The MRC Pontiac held their second council meeting of the year, March 25. Anne-Marie Vaz, Sports and Recreation Coordinator for the MRC Pontiac presented a new website for the Pontiac’s activities, events, services, and infrastructure; Jean-Marc Purenne from the Concertation pour les saines habitudes de vie en Outaouais requested a resolution supporting healthy lifestyles; and Lisa Legace gave a presentation on behalf of Pontiac en Forme.
Vaz explained the new website will allow the public to be made aware of what is happening and what is offered in the area. “It has always been a big challenge to promote events and resources that are available. People just aren’t aware of what is going on,” she explained.
Those visiting the website will be able to search by municipality, category (cultural, sports, health promotion, outdoor, etc) or age group to find events, activities and services. “This   website will be more inclusive and will provide a     bigger picture of what the Pontiac has to offer. Even though there may not be something available in one municipality, it might be in another municipality. The website is one-stop        shopping,” said Vaz.
The bilingual website costs about $500 per year to operate and its creation will involve two phases. During the first phase, information that doesn’t change, such as infrastructures, resources, services and contact information will be collected. Then, information that does change, like events and activities, will be added.      “I will be asking municipal organizations to get in the habit of sending me information about what is going on to put on the website,” concluded Vaz.
Afterwards, Purenne asked for a commitment from the MRC Pontiac to support environments that promote healthy living habits, explaining that 30% of MRCs in the Outaouais have already adopted such a resolution. “In the Outaouais, 54% of residents are overweight or obese,” he said, explaining there is no single solution to the problem. “We need to integrate health into everything we do, and make healthy choices more available to the people,” he added.
Purenne described some changes that could be made to support the initiative:   create sidewalks, parks and bicycle paths; set good examples by serving healthy foods at municipal buildings; educate the public about the problem and how to make healthy choices; reduce costs for accessing sports facilities; and more. “Municipalities have a role to play in making healthy choices easier to make,” he concluded. The MRC passed a resolution supporting the initiative.
Legace, Coordinator for Pontiac en Forme highlighted how the organization is celebration its 10th year in the Pontiac. Afterwards, she explained the organization’s three-year strategic plan that will include four projects: the fruit tree project will involve planting fruit trees in communities and hosting harvest festivals when they bear fruit; training will be offered to       educate those preparing food about having healthy options on their menus; a recipe book will be created to help parents prepare healthy lunches for their children; and a portrait illustrating the Pontiac’s health habits and what is available will be created.  
The next meeting is scheduled for May 27.