MRC launches $100K non-profit COVID relief fund

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Maryam Amini

MRC PONTIAC – The MRC’s Council of Mayors (CoM) convened for its monthly meeting, February 16, via teleconference.

The highlight was the launch of a petition to improve the region’s cell phone service. It’s available at all municipal offices and after a six week-period (end of March), Pontiac MP Sophie Chatel will table it in the House of Commons. The petition requests that the federal government and implicated ministers make a financial commitment to guarantee sufficient cellular coverage in all rural communities, including Pontiac; and that the Quebec government and implicated ministries coordinate with the federal government to quickly commit to ensuring complete rural cellular coverage as they have done with high-speed internet.

The MRC is currently working on a plan to progressively have employees return to in-office work, in March.
New members of the Iles Lafontaine National Park Committee were nominated: Warden Jane Toller, mayors Jean-Louis Corriveau (Calumet), Donald Gagnon (Chichester), Alain Gagnon (Bryson), Maurice Beauregard (Campbell’s Bay), Kim Lesage, MRC engineer, and Chantal Lair, MRC tourism marketing commissioner. Its mandate is to analyze the project’s feasibility study report and work on a strategy for developing the national park.

Funding
Using about $900,000 the MRC received from the province for COVID recovery efforts, the MRC created a $100,000 non-profit organization COVID relief fund and approved the purchase of health and safety equipment, including $1,033 for a defibrillator case and EpiPens for staff, as well as $6,307 to install an eye washing station at the MRC by renovating an underused washroom.

The following were awarded funding: $200 to Rapides-des-Joachims for new hockey nets; and $500 for an ice fishing derby at Île-du-Grand-Calumet on February 19 (see page 3).

Council approved $12,500 to participate for three years in La Ruche Outaouais, a regional crowdfunding platform, in collaboration with Gatineau and the other MRCs of the region, using funds from Component
2 of the provincial Regions and Rurality Fund. This will also fund a $6,000 collaborative training exercise through an external consultant for MRC and SADC employees.

Using a portion of the $12,500 received from Loisir sport Outaouais for the revival of territorial sports and recreation, the MRC partnered with Vallee-de-la-Gatineau to invest in a registration software system to support local organizations and municipalities in their administrative processes. The remaining funds were used to support the local Ski in School program.

The mayors approved a plan for spending $144,000 received from the province in 2022 through the Le Programme d’aménagement durable des forêts (PADF): $25,000 to the local wood producers’ board, and
the remaining for activities to promote forest management, multi-use road work and management work on TPIs.

The next CoM meeting will be held March 16, likely in-person.