Maryam Amini and Justin Prest
MRC PONTIAC – MRC Pontiac’s monthly Council of mayors’ (COM) meeting was held on May 18 at the Lions Club in Bryson. MNA André Fortin was present and gave an update on high-speed internet, Bill 96, affordable housing initiatives, and the regional healthcare crisis (see page 9).
Warden Jane Toller started the meeting by honouring former MP Robert Bertrand who passed away on May 17. She recalled that he was always interested in what the MRC was doing and was an active member of the community. Fortin also expressed his sadness and said, “Robert was always respected, wherever he went, but never forgot where he came from.” A minute of silence was held by those in attendance.
Louis Harvey, a volunteer from the region of Mansfield, was recognized for his volunteer work. He has contributed to many projects in the Pontiac, including the lighting of the Félix-Gabriel Marchand Bridge and the recently won the prestigious volunteer award Prix Hommage Bénévolat.
Council resolved to ask the provincial government to help manage and reopen Lac Dumont. TNO Council approved $3,000 to keep the lake clean and safe, by procuring important infrastructure, such as dry toilets and adequate signage against littering. It is also resolved to improve waste management in the area.
Another guest of the meeting was Alex Boivin, a skateboarder from Princeville; he was invited by Warden Toller. Boivin has convinced the government of Québec to recognize skateboarding as a federated sport and plans to build a skateboard park in the region using his experiences on administrative boards, in carpentry, and entrepreneurship. He is hoping for help from the MRC.
Agricultural immigration & firefighter recruitment
The COM adopted an Action Plan to “develop welcoming communities and foster agricultural immigration” in the MRCs of the Outaouais. This is a pilot project by the four MRCs of the region “for the reception and settlement of immigrants, refugees and ethno-cultural minorities, on their respective territories.” The measure is to counter the negative impact Bill 96 could have on the region.
Council resolved to ask the province to include a clause in financial assistance programs “to adjust the amount granted to compensate for significant increases caused by inflation” and requested both the federal and provincial governments “to improve the annual financial aid (equalization, QST, public lands, royalties and other compensations).”
Council resolved to ask the province for help with fire services, including financial assistance to recruit and train more firefighters, maintain services, pay salaries for one full-time firefighter and encourage more part-time firefighters.
Ministry of Transportation processing delays
Council also resolved to ask the Ministry of Transportation (MTQ) to improve its services especially regarding processing delays which have paralyzing effects on the work or projects to be carried out. “Municipal organizations are systematically confronted with such a complex administrative burden that it becomes difficult to obtain a clear vision of the process, not to mention the
additional steps and requirements that may be added along the way, which result in additional delays that are often very significant,” the resolution stated.