MRC meeting

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Bonnie James
Local Journalism Initiative

MRC PONTIAC – The MRC Pontiac’s Council of Mayors’ monthly meeting was held January 24 at the MRC headquarters in Litchfield.

Law 25 denounced
Council denounced legislative amendments introduced by Law 25 – an act to modernize legislative provisions regarding the protection of personal information. They’re concerned Law 25 will impose an administrative burden on municipalities at a time when the municipal workforce is already stretched thin and overloaded due to labour shortages.

The resolution claims the new law accentuates bureaucratic burdens citizens and municipal stakeholders face by “increasing the complexity of the legal environment in which municipalities must operate.” It goes on to say the new legislative provisions are imprecise and difficult to interpret, thus risking disparities in application between different municipalities and levels of government. Council stressed the government has failed to provide support tools, including funds to hire new staff and compensate for additional hours needed to meet the Law’s obligations, in a timely manner.

The resolution will be forwarded to the Minister of Municipal Affairs (MAMH), the Union des municipalités du Québec (UMQ), the Fédération québécoise des municipalités (FQM), local members of the National Assembly, and other Outaouais MRCs.

Lights, camera, action!
The MRC was approached by TVA Sports with an offer to film episodes highlighting the Pontiac’s winter recreation. Two episodes of Alexis le Randonneur will be filmed showcasing winter tourism in the Pontiac and one episode of Motoneiges.tv will feature Pontiac snowmobile trails. Both programs promise to highlight local businesses as well.

The filming of Alexis le Randonneur is in partnership with Tourisme Outaouais and the Pontiac Tourism Association, with the MRC contributing up to $4,500. The MRC will contribute $6,000 to filming the Motoneiges.tv episode, with funds for both projects coming from the 2024 tourism envelope ($75,000 available) of the second stream of the Regions and Rurality Fund (FRR 2).

Cell service, NOW!
Council passed a resolution brought forward by Waltham Mayor Odette Godin and L’Isle-aux-Allumettes Mayor Corey Spence demanding that the western portion of Highway 148 – Mansfield, Waltham, and L’Isle-Aux-Allumettes – be made an immediate priority to receive cellular coverage.

The resolution states the absence of cell service impacts residents, emergency services, the economy, social health, and the region’s overall connectivity.

“Emergencies documented in Waltham have revealed the life-threatening consequences of unreliable cellular connectivity,” says the resolution. Godin stated that two Letters to the Editor published in the Journal last November will be attached to the resolution when it’s sent to the provincial government. The letters detail two recent emergencies in Waltham that were worsened by the lack of cell service. In one instance, a death may have been prevented if those present had been able to reach 911.

The resolution explains that new fibre optic landlines are vulnerable to severe weather events as they run along above-ground hydro poles, so it’s impossible to reach emergency services during infrastructure failures. It proposes government-owned infrastructure, including the Chapeau/Chichester CBC Tower and Brennan’s Bluff Sheenboro, be leveraged as immediate solutions.

The resolution will be forwarded to Premier François Legault; Pierre Rodrigue, Associate Secretary General for High Speed Internet and Special Connectivity Projects; Pierre Fitzgibbon, Minister of Economy, Innovation, and Energy; Mathieu Lacombe, Minister responsible for the Outaouais region; François Bonnardel, Minister of Public Security; and MNA André Fortin.

The next Council of Mayors meeting will be held February 21.