Liberal Socio-economic forum Bio-mass project not guaranteed but of great “interest”

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Francois Carrier
(tr. AB)

MANIWAKI – More than 150 people gathered in Maniwaki on October 3 to discuss the challenges the Pontiac riding is facing, as well as possible solutions. Internet accessibility, the decline and disappearance of the forest industry and the departure of youth were several topics discussed. 

Francois Carrier
(tr. AB)

MANIWAKI – More than 150 people gathered in Maniwaki on October 3 to discuss the challenges the Pontiac riding is facing, as well as possible solutions. Internet accessibility, the decline and disappearance of the forest industry and the departure of youth were several topics discussed. 
The federal Pontiac riding consists of three MRCs and a part of Gatineau. Although it is a vast area that sometimes faces very different realities, certain issues and
topics apply to the entire riding. The forest industry was one of the themes shared by the MRC Pontiac and Vallée-de-la-Gatineau. “We do not want to re-live the same reality as the Pontiac in the MRC Vallée-de-la-Gatineau,” said
a businessman from Maniwaki. “I’m glad we are talking about it because if it happened to us, it can happen elsewhere, so we need to find solutions,” said MRC Pontiac Warden Raymond Durocher.
Federal elected officials were keen to mention the MRC Pontiac’s proposed Biomass Conversion Centre; Pontiac MP Will Amos, and Greg Fergus, MP for Hull-Aylmer and Parliamentary Secretary to the Department of Innovation, Science, and Economic Development both spoke about it. “The project isn’t a guarantee, but we must do our research and I hope to help the MRC on this
subject,” said Amos.
Internet accessibility was also a topic that rallied various stakeholders. “With reliable internet access, workers and students who need this tool at home will settle here more easily,” said Mayor of Val-des-Monts, Jacques Laurin.
The mayor of Gatineau, Maxime Pedneaud-Jobin addressed the participants and explained the importance of rural areas to the city of Gatineau.
“When you receive investments or organize large scale events, it’s often good news for Gatineau because the participants will surely spend at least one night here,” explained the mayor, emphasizing he is open to partnerships and collaborations, something Amos had already touched on in an open letter regarding rural-urban complementarity.
MRC Pontiac forgotten?
One item that was noted by certain representatives of the MRC Pontiac was the initial introduction of representatives. In opening, leading politicians were highlighted, but not the official representative of the MRC Pontiac, Warden Durocher. Including Durocher, at least six other MRC Pontiac mayors also attended the forum. 
However, the reviews of the meeting were generally positive. “Yes it was interesting, but in order to judge if it worked, we will have to evaluate whether the situation has changed in a year,” said Durocher.
The next in the series of meetings Amos is hosting will be held on November 9 and 10 in Otter Lakeand Chapeau concerning Internet accessibility.