Heated debate over TNO commercial zoning

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Allyson Beauregard

CAMPBELL’S BAY – February 18, over 40

Allyson Beauregard

CAMPBELL’S BAY – February 18, over 40
people attended a public consultation at the RA Hall, regarding Bylaw 155-2010 that allows commercial lodging facilities to be established in Zone 501 of the TNO. The purpose of the meeting was to explain the by-law, its implications, and to gather input from the public. “We are not here to justify the bylaw. We are here only to explain it and gather comments to make a report to present to the Council of Mayors (COM) to decide if modifications are needed,” said Regent Dugas, MRC Pontiac Director of Territory.
After debating the issue for over a year, the bylaw was adopted during last November’s COM meeting. “The only thing that will change is that commercial lodging facilities will now be permitted in the zone,” said Dugas.
According to Dugas, to obtain a lease in the zone, promoters have to put in a request to the Ministry of Natural Resources and present a business plan. Afterwards, the Ministry will have to consult with other government departments as well as the first nations and the MRC Pontiac for input before a lease is issued. A committee has been formed in the MRC Pontiac to evaluate all lease requests and make recommendations to the COM.
After a heated debate, Warden Raymond Durocher stressed the new zoning will give the MRC some say in the issuing of leases as well as exclusive rights. “By doing this, the Ministry can’t decide to issue leases or award exclusive rights without first consulting the MRC. It gives us some negotiating power so things aren’t instituted by decree. The Ministry could decide by themselves if we don’t do something. The bylaw contains conditions: the Ministry must consult us before any decision is made; and we have the right to say if we are for or against each lease,” he explained, noting the new bylaw clearly states the MRC is against exclusive rights.
The many concerns highlighted by the public included the possibility of exclusive rights, that having more promoters in the area would place additional strain on those already established, and the loss of hunting and fishing rights. “If enough complaints or comments are made, the bylaw can be modified and even cancelled,” stressed Terry Murdock, Pro-warden and Mayor of Thorne.
Those interested in submitting comments can do so by visiting or writing the MRC at 602, route 301 nord, Campbell’s Bay (QC), JOX 1KO or mrc@mrcpontiac.qc.ca.