MRC meeting – Bill 96 petition launched, secretive HR resolution causes stir, TNO AirMedic service


Allyson Beauregard

MRC PONTIAC – The MRC Pontiac’s Council of Mayors (CoM) met for their monthly meeting, this time in person at the Bryson Lions Hall, with a lengthy agenda.
To start, there was a 45-minute in-camera session, with Warden Jane Toller asked to leave at one point. Afterward, the mayors voted on a very vague HR resolution to “reach an agreement on an outstanding human resources file in light of information that was shared with the mayors concerning the file”. Mayor Colleen Larivière (Litchfield) and Toller declared conflicts of interests and didn’t vote. All voted in favour except for mayors Maurice Beauregard (Campbell’s Bay), John Armstrong (Clarendon) and Winston Sunstrum (L’Isle-aux-Allumettes), who cited “a lack of transparency” as his reason. Toller wouldn’t provide any further details but said the file concerns a former employee and is “something that has been basically resolved”.
The CoM passed a resolution concerning the CAQ government’s proposed language law overhaul, Bill 96, which asks them to: remove all articles that could have a negative impact on Anglophones and bilingual communities; ensure post-secondary students can study in the language of their choice; and ensure the bill’s provisions do not create an administrative burden on small businesses.  
A petition in support of this request was launched and is available for residents to sign at municipal offices, the MRC headquarters, and the MRC’s website. Pontiac MNA Andre Fortin will present it in the national assembly.
The MRC will chip in $5,500 to partner with forestry companies and an outfitter in the Lac Brule area to repair a washout.
Four bridge/culvert repairs will be done in the TNO, which the Ministry of Wildlife, Forests and Parks will mostly finance with a 10% contribution ($38,000) from the TNO budget.  
TNO leaseholders, excluding those in ZECs, will be charged $15 annually on their tax bills to fund an AirMedic service to use in emergencies.
Michel Laporte from Centre intégré de santé et des services sociaux de l’Outaouais (CISSSO) detailed the Scouts (Éclaireur) program, which involves reaching out to community organizations to form a network of psychological health scouts to have more “eyes and ears out there” for those showing signs of distress who will be directed to available services.
John Petty, co-founder of the Pontiac Terry Fox Run, encouraged mayors to get involved in the 40th anniversary of the local run. An in person event may be held September 19, but until then, residents are encouraged to track their distances performing any type of physical activity and send them weekly to  pontiactrylike The goal is to reach a collective total of 6,700 km, which represents crossing Canada.
After the CoM approved an investment committee recommendation to award two loans of about $85,000 and $57,000 to development projects, Beauregard asked that the details of future projects be brought to the plenary meeting first so mayors are fully aware of what they are approving funding for instead of
voting blindly. Currently, only file numbers and the recommended amounts to award are provided.  
The Bryson Revitalization Committee was awarded $500 for a fundraising golf tournament, $1,800 earmarked for Isolation 2020 Jamboree will be held until next year as the event has been
postponed, Phare Ouest was given $500 for advertising the Marchand Bridge illumination project to tourists, the Terry Fox Run was awarded $500, and the Shawville Fair received a $5,000 donation.
Using a portion of the near $900K the province awarded the MRC for COVID recovery, the MRC will use about $9,300 to purchase new IT equipment and software.
Construction Jason Hynes will pave the parking lot at the MRC headquarters for $69,810.
The MRC will contribute $3,300 to a feasibility study on ‘Ultimate Waste in Outaouais’ that’s exploring waste management options aside from landfilling.
Other business
David Cyr was hired as assistant director of economic development.
An annual maintenance plan will be developed for the PPJ starting in 2022 to detail what work will be done and when each season.
Access to the PPJ will be given to the non-profit organization Ti-Mouuse dans Brousse, Loisir Sports Outaouais, Tourisme Outaouais and the Table agroalimentaire de l’Outaouais to use the trail as part of their Autumn Tour series on October 9 and 10. The event will draw people to the region to discover the trail, with workshops and activities on the section of the trail near the Shawville agricultural hall on October 10.
The MRC’s waste management committee was formed with 18 members who will meet monthly, starting August 30, to better coordinate plans, brainstorm ideas and identify solutions for waste management on the territory.
Sunstrum requested that the regional wardens table meetings be held in public rather than privately to address what he sees as a transparency issue given that the MRC periodically awards the table funding. Toller said she would look into the issue so people can possibly attend virtually and she will request that the meetings’ minutes be sent to each municipality.   
The next CoM meeting will be held September 15.