Mayors discuss forestry development

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Eric Forget, from the firm Nova Sylva, gave the mayors a presentation about the forest industry in the Pontiac.

Maryam Amini

BRYSON – The monthly MRC Pontiac Council of Mayors’ (COM) meeting was held on June 15 at the Lions Club in Bryson.

The mayors accepted the TNO’s request for financial contributions to repair two local roads: Wright Lake Road and Lac du Portail Road. Wright Lake Road will get cleaning and ditching work for a cost of $8,000; Lac du Portail Road will receive a contribution of $20,000 for refection.

Developing Pontiac’s forestry potential

Eric Forget, from the firm Nova Sylva, gave the mayors a 20-minute presentation about the potential of the forests in the Pontiac. Forget is a forester with a master’s degree
in forestry and has done 7 years of research on how to increase the benefits from local forests. He mentioned regional deficiencies within the Pontiac sector: a shortage of labour, shortage of investments, and a shortage of market demand for hardwood. He concluded his presentation by recommending the creation of defined timelines and emphasized the need for incentives to attract investment and labour. He also recommended the MRC invest in the right places to increase the return from the regional forestry potential, including funding for more tourism projects, maple sugar bushes, and other forestry development in the region.

The mayors resolved to record Mr. Forget recommendations to help guide future development of the forestry sector in the Pontiac.

Increasing affordable housing

In consideration of André Fortin’s recommendations regarding affordable housing projects in the Pontiac at the last COM meeting, it was resolved that MRC Pontiac make formal requests to the provincial and federal governments for a tailored program to assist the building of rural rental housing. By creating and sending this resolution the mayors acknowledged the lack of rental housing throughout the Pontiac and that existing government programs are geared more towards urban areas.

Financial aid for Pontiac students

The mayors also resolved to increase funding for Pontiac students, voting to reallocate some monies from the donations and sponsorships fund to create bursaries and scholarships to encourage students to continue their post-secondary studies. The amount of financial assistance to be reallocated was not disclosed.

Additional funds for Chapeau splash pad project

Council also awarded an additional $71,875 to the Chapeau Recreation Association for their splash pad project. The project grant now totals $135,982. The Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing had previously struck an agreement with MRC Pontiac on March 31, 2020, to allow for the realization of this project, based on the priorities established for the years 2021–2022.

Chapeau Recreation Association was granted the additional financial assistance after they accepted changes to their original plan to complete the project.