MRC meeting moves online – License Bureau re-opening; $500,000 for SMEs

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Allyson Beauregard

MRC PONTIAC – The MRC Pontiac’s Council of Mayors are still meeting monthly amid the COVID-19 epidemic, but instead of gathering at the MRC’s headquarters, members teleconference from home. On April 15 the meeting included local media, 16 of the 18 mayors and Warden Jane Toller.
Interest rates on TNO taxes will be set at 0% from March 15, 2020 until September 1, 2020 given the COVID crisis.
Phase Three of the reconstruction of the Bois Franc Road in Mansfield will be completed this year. The Ministry of Wildlife, Forests and Parks will cover 90% of the $419,000 cost, and the MRC will contribute the remaining 10% ($41,900) using the TNO budget and lease fund. The Ministry will also cover 90% of the $400,000 cost of revitalizing the Grande Chute bridge on the Dumoine River and partners, including the MRC Pontiac, will cover the rest; the MRC will pay up to $10,000.
The MRC office will remain closed until further notice, but the SAAQ license bureau will be open by appointment only on Wednesdays and Fridays starting April 27. Residents can call 1-800-361-7620 to make an appointment.
A bylaw establishing the conditions for engaging in recreational camping on crown land in the MRC Pontiac was passed and an agreement with Hydro Québec will be signed for an electric vehicle charging station at the MRC
building.
The Stone School Gallery in Portage-du-Fort will have its rent waived for two months since all of their fundraising events have been cancelled and they are struggling to make ends meet.
With $2.5 million provided in loans to small and medium businesses (SMEs) across Québec through the Emergency Aid Fund, the MRC’s Investment Committee will analyze and approve applications from the region’s businesses, which are available on the MRC’s website. The MRC Pontiac received about $500,000 and the maximum loan a business can receive is $50,000, conditional on demonstrating they were significantly impacted by the COVID crisis and can be profitable with the use of the funds.
The next Council of Mayors meeting will be held May 20.