Although she’s stepping down as mayor of Chelsea after 12 years, Caryl Green remains dedicated to serving local residents and is running for MRC des Collines’ warden. She told the Journal it’s the most opportune platform to impact the region’s resurgence and future development.
Green, who presided as the MRC’s warden for the last four years (elected by peers), believes her knowledge of the region, expertise of the job, and trust of local leaders will ensure stability and continuity for the region’s ongoing projects and issues, and a smooth transition of duties.
“I know the files and I have the experience to bring them to the next level. It would be my full-time focus,” she said, adding that working one position instead of two would better enable her to fulfill the warden’s long list of responsibilities. “The MRC des Collines is one of the fastest growing MRCs in the province,” she added.
Green plans to find ways to settle a financing agreement with the province to save people money on the MRC des Collines’ police services, which are funded entirely through municipal taxes.
With the pandemic looking like it’s nearing an end, Green said she will dedicate her mandate to supporting local small and medium-sized businesses and producers to re-establish themselves.
Stressing the need to adapt to the impacts of climate change, Green stated the region must implement proactive measures to assist municipalities in preparing for future natural disasters. “It’s very important at an MRC level that we are prepared to support municipalities in crisis and not just be reactive,” she said.
Green added that the region has tremendous opportunities to facilitate more tourism from Ontario and Quebec, given that the MRC is situated on the provincial border in a rural area that’s still close to major cities.
With the federal and provincial governments investing to connect 99% of homes to high speed internet by the fall of 2022, she added that rural internet access remains an issue to monitor closely. “The MRC has a lot of challenges with coverage and we need to ensure [the governments] come through … In order to have tourism and buy local campaigns, access needs to be good,” she added.
Green said she accomplished a lot for Chelsea, highlighting the construction of the Meredith Centre, the creation and expansion of the La Fab Arts Centre, and the revision of the municipality’s master plan. “But it was time for somebody else to bring their ideas forward,” she concluded.
L’Ange-Garden resident Éric Antoine is running to become the MRC des Collines’ first publicly-elected warden, hoping to bring the local economy back to health while promoting the natural richness it has to offer.
“There are a lot of changes I can bring to the region,” Antoine said, noting the job’s requirements correspond perfectly with his capabilities, experience, and connections in the community. “I’m young (46) and I have a different kind of approach to this … I really want to participate in the region’s community life.”
Antoine is a former commissioner (2014-2016), and president (2016-2020) of the Au-Coeur-des-Vallées school board, and has also served as director of the Fédération des commissions scolaires du Québec, and president of the Concertation des commissions scolaires en Outaouais, and the Centre de formation professionelle en Outaouais. Having also served as Fondation Santé Papineau board member, he is currently an administrative representative of the Maison des Collines and Loisir Sport Outaouais.
“I have a lot of interaction with the municipalities for memorandums of understanding, and exchanges of services,” Antoine said, stating he’s notably helped attract two $20-plus million investments to build schools in L’Ange-Gardien and Thurso, and has contributed to reducing taxes in the region considerably with an agreement in 2018.
Antoine emphasized the importance of promoting and supporting local businesses and producers to attract more visitors and permanent residents. To do this, he plans to help shine light on the region, promote its value, and comforting setting.
“We don’t have to be shy about where we live,” Antoine said, stating that he’s prided in providing utmost transparency. “We have a lot of things that people don’t have anywhere else … it’s the nature, it’s the country character, we have over 1,800 lakes, three large rivers. We don’t have a lot of access though. Maybe we should have organizations in certain places to manage [activities, initiatives, and services].”
He added that he intends to help the MRC finally obtain provincial funding for the region’s police services, which have been funded through municipal taxes, while prioritizing sustainable economic development and developing new infrastructure in adaptation to environmental needs. He also hopes to eventually develop an eco-centre in the region.
Antoine said he looks forward to potentially working alongside the Council of Mayors, as well as wardens of other regions of the Outaouais on important projects and issues.
“It’s important to have good relations because together with the other wardens, we can bring a lot of tourism here so our businesses can profit and everyone can prosper,” Antoine said. “We need more promotion of our services and touristic attractions. People don’t know what we have, and I think everybody would benefit,” he concluded.
Local politician Marc Carrière is hoping to use his political knowhow and experience to benefit the community economically and protect the environment over the next four years as MRC des Collines’ first publically-elected warden.
Carrière has been involved in politics since the early 1990s and said his passion to help people drives him to continue and achieve bigger and brighter ambitions. “I know the issues and I know the territory of the MRC by heart,” Carrière said. “I’m able to take the MRC even further in its development and improve residents’ quality of life.”
Carrière will prioritize the region’s economic resurgence and durable development with the pandemic nearing its end. “The MRC has a very important role in that,” Carrière said, stating the MRC’s population is growing rapidly and it must adapt its future development plans accordingly. “Economic and sustainable development go together. We have incredible natural spaces here, but we must protect them.”
Carrière said the MRC must ensure it’s represented at the National Capital Commission’s administrative board to highlight specific ecological concerns in different municipalities.
Carrière emphasized the need to consult the population on public projects. “We’re Ottawa and Gatineau’s playground … we have a lot of developing to do and we need to do it in collaboration with the public.”
He also plans to solicit financial assistance from the province to help subsidize the MRC des Collines’ police force, which residents finance via municipal taxes.
Born and raised in the region, Carrière wants to support social programs and help improve community services for vulnerable people.
“More social development, housing, and food banks play an important role, but we need to go further and help people with particular needs,” Carrière said.
Carrière has been Papineau’s economic development director since 2019.
Formerly a Member of National Assembly (MNA) of the Chapleau riding (2008 to 2018), he was previously a municipal councillor (1992 to 1996) and mayor (1996-2008) of Val-des-Monts, also serving as the MRC des Collines’ warden from 2000 to 2008.
Carriere was also a Centre intégré de la santé et des services sociaux des Collines administrative board member (2000 to 2005); he presided the Conférence régionale des élus de l’Outaouais (2004 to 2008) and the Commission regionale sur les ressources naturelles et le territoire public de l’Outaouais (2006 to 2008); and was vice-president of the Société de la diversification économique de l’Outaouais (2001 to 2006).
“All of these experiences put together can be [beneficial] for residents,” Carrière said. “The MRC is in full development mode and a lot of challenges await it in the coming years. I want to overcome these challenges and bring the region to a higher level,” he concluded.