Local businesses asks for emergency assistance from Council of Mayors

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Allyson Beauregard


Allyson Beauregard

CAMPBELL’S BAY –  Municipal mayors gathered in Campbell’s Bay, May 27, for the third Council of Mayors meeting of the year. The agenda included a presentation from Jean-Francois Dubois, Director of Chutes Coulonge, asking for emergency financial help from the MRC, a    presentation from Regent Dugas, MRC Pontiac Director of Territory about wood harvesting on intra-municipal public lands, and a discussion about road maintenance in the TNO.
Dubois highlighted the damages to Chutes Coulonge as a result of the major windstorm, July 19 last year. “We estimate our losses to be between $400,000 – $500,000 based on damages to infrastructure and losses of revenue. We realize we cannot  recover on our own,” he explained, noting the organization’s profits decreased by $90,000 last year. 
Dubois requested $35,000 to $45,000 in    emergency financial        support from the MRC to cover the period from this September until June 2015. “It all depends on how good the summer will be. We will be financially independent until September when   profits usually begin to dwindle,” added Dubois.
Dubois elaborated on the organization’s future plans based on three stages. In the first phase, the  organization will focus on reconstruction to bring the park back to the condition before the storm at a price of about $82,000. In the   second phase, they hope to expand and include        additional activities such as more aerial activities, four to six giant zip lines, and a water splash pad at a cost of between $162,000 and $222,000. The organization hopes to build a virtual and technological trail in the third phase, with an          estimated price tag of $500,000. The new trail would be animated, with special effects and sound, activated by a wand that   visitors would carry.
“We asked the government for help but were refused on the basis that   we don’t have a humanitarian vocation,” added Dubois. Warden Raymond Durocher claimed they will begin by looking into the rejection and will then approach the provincial and federal governments to lobby for the funds needed. “If one door closes, we’ll open another one and we’ll ask around. This is out        of necessity,” concluded Dubois.
Dugas addressed land management in the TPI, noting the area includes 9,000 hectares of land. He explained the TPI’s wood   is harvested to create economic development in the area and to benefit the community and local contractors. According to Dugas, at least three local businesses are contacted to submit their tenders to eliminate large, outside businesses getting the work when a Call for Tenders is posted.
The Council also discussed the maintenance of forestry roads in the TNO, which has been given a $195,000 budget this year. The maintenance includes: grading Rapides des Joachims Road, Charrette Crossing, Manitou Crossing, Schyan Road, Jim’s Lake Road, Osborne Road, and Route 20; replacing the Otjick Lake culvert on Osborne Road, a bridge on Manitou Road and one on Schyan Road; and replacing the Forant Lake bridge deck on Jim’s Lake Road. Terry Murdock, mayor of Thorne expressed his    concern that fishing        season has already begun and with the work not yet completed, potential       visitors to the area could be turned away because some roads and bridges are currently closed.
Dugas said the maintenance will be completed within a month and half and that the work had to be postponed until the risk of washouts had passed and the roads had dried up. Some bridges will be replaced by         culverts to cut costs since the government no longer provides funding for        the repairs.