MRC meeting ATVs and the PPJ, bridge and culvert repairs, and abandoned FSC

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Allyson Beauregard

CAMPBELL’S BAY – After the summer break, the regular Council of Mayors meeting took place at the MRC building, August 16. The agenda included a presentation by the GreenPPJVerte group, the abandoning of the MRC’s FSC certification, and more.

Allyson Beauregard

CAMPBELL’S BAY – After the summer break, the regular Council of Mayors meeting took place at the MRC building, August 16. The agenda included a presentation by the GreenPPJVerte group, the abandoning of the MRC’s FSC certification, and more.
More than 20 members of the Green PPJ Verte group attended the meeting to demonstrate their support for maintaining the PPJ trail as a cycling path. Remo Pasteris represented the group and addressed the Council, indicating the group’s various concerns with the ATV Committee’s operation. “After attending two of their meetings, we are very concerned that their final report will not be a fair presentation of the choices available to fulfill the mandate they were given,” he said.
The group’s concerns include the Committee not respecting the mandate they were originally given (to work with the Ministry of Transport to open up more back roads for ATVs), focusing only on converting the PPJ into a “multi-use” trail, favouring groups that support their cause, and being unable to answer questions regarding safety and security. “There are already over 400 km of ATV trails that link each Pontiac community. Cyclists and hikers only have the 92 km of the PPJ to use in safety and security,” he continued.
Warden Raymond Durocher stressed that a recommendation still hasn’t been made by the ATV committee and all parties must work together to come up with a solution that suits everyone. “The mandate was to connect and not divide… As long as I am living, the PPJ will remain a bicycle path,” he said.
Terry Murdock, the mayor of Thorne and the chairperson of the ATV committee added that the Committee is not “trying to take anyone off the trail”, and suggested that if the PPJ was in better shape, it would be used more. “We have to find a way to maintain and improve the trail. The trail’s over-width is a key factor,” he said, noting the trail could be a “tremendous economic boost” for the Pontiac, but not until it is properly maintained.
Bridge maintenance and repairs in the TNO
The MRC announced $150,000 will be invested in the Watercourse Crossings Restoration Management Program allowing them to make about $900,000 worth of bridge or culvert repairs on public land in partnership with the Ministry and other promoters.
The funds will come from TNO lease revenues ($100,000) and the TNO budget ($50,000).
Forests Stewardship Council certification cut
The Council agreed to abandon the MRC’s FSC certification, which it has held since 2012 for an annual price of $15,000, because it no longer meets Ministry requirements under Article 62 of the Sustainable Forest Development Act. FSC certification is intended to promote responsible management of the forests by setting standards on forest products, along with certifying and labeling them as eco-friendly.  Forest management activities must now be carried out by companies that hold either the ISO 14001 certification or the Bureau de normalisation du Quebec’s CEAF certification, or those that perform work under the supervision and responsibility of a certified company.
The Council also sent a request to the Government of Quebec asking to be involved in the selection of the multi-use roads that will benefit from the Ministry of Forests, Wildlife and Parcs’ recent $4.7 million investment (see page 7). In addition, the MRC asked that at least 40% of the amount (equivalent to the share of Outaouais Crown land located in the MRC Pontiac) be invested in the Pontiac to improve access to public lands. “The funding will mainly help forestry companies, but since there is little forestry activity here anymore, we want to make sure we still receive our fair share,” said Regent Dugas, MRC Pontiac Director of Territory.
The next Council of Mayors meeting will be held September 20