MRC announces vast housing plan

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House and town plans on lawn (digital composite)

Maryam Amini

MRC DE PONTIAC – MRC Pontiac has received confirmation of $197,780 from Quebec’s Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing (MAMH) to launch the MRC’s sustainable development strategy for housing, to be signed this fall. Its 3-year implementation will begin January, 2023. This “sectoral agreement on housing” was announced at the MRC’s August 17 meeting.

The MRC’s Director General, Bernard Roy, said this agreement should improve the housing shortage in Pontiac. “The Outaouais has identified housing as a regional development priority,” Roy told the Pontiac Journal; “MRC Pontiac defined a project adapted to its particular situation. It was submitted on August 12, 2022.”

The bulk of $197,780 will be to hire a person to create a housing strategy and implementation plan for the Pontiac. This includes, said Roy, “to launch the strategy, do research, have statistics ready, etc. This will take at least a year.”

The remainder of the three years will be to put the plan into action. “We can’t say exactly how long the whole realization will take,” added Roy.

Mr Roy elaborated, “Our objective is to add resources to what is already being done, through collaborative leadership, focused on tangible results.” He said local municipalities are crucial. “There are many solutions to explore, for example, ‘tiny houses’, large-scale housing, short-term rentals, etc.” He said Quebec and federal involvement will be recruited. “Local actors on housing are already on board — the table de développement social du Pontiac (TDSP), local public employers (school boards, CISSSO, etc.), entrepreneurs, municipalities, etc.” The DG said “the project will promote a supply of housing that is sufficient in number, diversified, and affordable.”

Roy added that “since housing is an indicator of the economic and social health of our communities, and in the context of an aging population and an exodus of young people, the retention and attraction of workers and their families is crucial.”