MRC meeting Fire safety, farm watercourses and the Warden’s Report

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Allyson Beauregard

CAMPBELL’S BAY – The regular Council of Mayors meeting was held October 27. The agenda included a presentation by Denis Dubeau, President of the Pontiac UPA, an update on the Biomass Conversion Centre, the unveiling of the Warden’s Report, and two resolutions regarding fire safety.

Allyson Beauregard

CAMPBELL’S BAY – The regular Council of Mayors meeting was held October 27. The agenda included a presentation by Denis Dubeau, President of the Pontiac UPA, an update on the Biomass Conversion Centre, the unveiling of the Warden’s Report, and two resolutions regarding fire safety.
MRC Pontiac Director General Remi Bertrand announced the resignation of Benjamin Hiard, MRC Rural Development Agent, who will be taking a job elsewhere.
Watercourse maintenance
Denis Dubeau, a beef farmer from Campbell’s Bay, and President of the Pontiac UPA, described problems some of the area’s farmers are having with watercourses on their properties. “There is a big difference between maintenance and digging. The two need to be
distinguished to allow farmers to maintain the watercourses on their properties to prevent flooding, and spending a lot of money to fix
problems that could have been prevented,” stressed Dubeau. In order to
do any work to a watercourse, farmers must first receive approval from the Ministry of Environment, which is both costly and time consuming.
Clarendon Mayor Terry Elliott reinforced Dubeau’s point: “Farmers are only trying to maintain the integrity of their fields and prevent safety problems. If a watercourse is left unmaintained, water could back up into a manure pit, and then
we would be in big
trouble!” he stressed. 
The Council made a resolution in support of watercourse maintenance and will meet with the UPA in the near future to discuss further steps.
Fire safety
Following a meeting that was held October 3 to discuss fire safety services in the Pontiac, the Council passed two resolutions. They will ask the Ministry of Municipal Affairs (MAMOT) and the Ministry of Public Security (MSP) to do a feasibility study regarding fire services (equipment, organization, finances, administration, etc) in the Pontiac and then make recommendations about the best approach for the future of these services in the region since the Fire Safety Cover Plan must be
re-written by next fall.
Second, they will ask the Fire Safety Committee (CSI) to look into the
standardization of equipment to ensure all fire departments are able to use each other’s equipment as well as training so courses offered in one municipality will be open to fire fighters in other municipalities as well.
According to Colleen Lariviere, Mayor of Litchfield and President of the Ad Hoc Fire Safety Committee, after the two ministries have completed their studies and have made recommendations, those involved will sit down again and decide what the next step is.
Warden and Mayor of Fort-Coulonge Raymond Durocher presented his
9-page annual report which noted the financial status
of the MRC, highlighted major projects and investments the MRC Pontiac has made, and stated plans
for the future. “The many provincial government changes and budget cuts had an impact on our
organizational structure and gave us much to reflect on in terms of our service delivery,” he said.
Revenues for the year are $5,671,600 and expenditures are $5,419,248, creating a $253,419 surplus over the 2014 budget. From the MRC’s $851,563 accumulated surplus, $84,989 will be appropriated to balance the 2015 budget.
Over the next year,
the Warden intends on improving partnerships to advance the development of several files such as the Marchand Bridge, frequent hydro outages in the Upper Pontiac, cell service, parks projects, waste disposal, and more. “We will find a waste disposal solution tailored
to our local situation. Transporting waste over long distances is an
outdated concept,” he said, adding that efforts to create a penitentiary in the Pontiac will also be renewed.
Bertrand, who just returned from a trip to Europe to explore various avenues related to the
BCC, said he is currently preparing a Powerpoint presentation to present to the Mayors in the near future and explained the level of investment to date. “Over the last two years, $161,445 has been invested. Of that, $31,845 has come from our shares and the remainder from grants and subsidies,” he said.