MRC meeting – Public transit expanding, over $400K in FRR funding available

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Allyson Beauregard

MRC PONTIAC – The MRC Pontiac held its last Council of Mayors meeting before the summer holiday via an online meeting, June 16. Warden Jane Toller said the meeting in August will likely be held in person at the Campbell’s Bay RA Hall, which offers more space for social distancing.
The council of mayors adopted a public transportation service plan and will
pursue the steps needed to establish an integrated public transit system by 2021. Bernard Roy, MRC director general, explained the four-year plan is an expansion of the current Transcollines service and involves new routes branching off Highway 148, more affordable fares, tailoring to post-secondary students, and different scheduling.
Mayors Gaston Allard (Fort-Coulonge) and Gilles Dionne (Mansfield) announced that they have partnered with the coopérative Aventure Héliante to create a public beach on the property adjacent to Bowers Restaurant in Mansfield.
A maximum of $50,000 will be spent to restore 15 kms of the Rapides-des-Joachims’ multi-use road by installing culverts, ditching, brushing the shoulders and adding gravel.
Mayor Maurice Beauregard (Campbell’s Bay) suggested creating a parking and
turnaround area somewhere between km 40 and 43 on the Jim’s Lake Road while machinery is already in the area doing work; this will save money.
Regent Dugas, MRC Director of Territory, said the project is likely to be inexpensive, and if so, he will coordinate the work.
The Table de développement social du Pontiac (TDSP) has proposed a new $82,500 project: “Comptoir St. Pierre” consisting of improving the living conditions of 25 to 30 people in the Pontiac with intellectual or physical difficulties. It will allow them to receive education while developing their autonomy, and help find furniture and household items. The MRC Pontiac adopted the TSDP’s action plan and recommended the Outaouais Warden’s Council, which manages funds from the Fonds Quebecois d’initiatives sociales (FQIS), to approve it as well.
The MRC will begin the process to hire an administrative assistant for the economic development director given the department’s workload.
Since April 1, 2020, component 2 of the Regions and Rurality Fund (FRR) replaced the Territorial Development Fund (FDT). Projects will be selected by a regional selection committee based on the region’s development priorities. Consequently, the MRC resolved to appoint members of their selection committee and to launch a call for projects from August 26 to September 23. There is $424,718 in funding available.
Cyndy Phillips, MRC Director of Economic Development, presented the 2020 budget (projects completed before March 31, 2021) for the $1.489 million available through FRR Component 2, which also funds some of the MRC’s operational budget and projects: $85,000 for PPJ maintenance, $20,000 for Energy-from-Waste, $10,000 for the Chemins d’eau tourist trail, $56,000 for TransporAction, $70,000 for discretionary COVID relief measures and $45,000 for tourism marketing, among others, including $424K for development projects.
The MRC added $5,000 to its agreement with the SADC Pontiac given the added workload the organization has from managing the business emergency aid applications. Thirteen loans have been issued to date ($480K) with $50,000 remaining. The MRC has requested an additional $101,000 through a
supplementary fund the government is offering to MRCs that have already distributed more than 75% of the initial amount awarded; presently the MRC sits at 91%. The support is given through loans of up to $50,000 that bear a 3% interest rate.
The Ministry of Transport Québec has informed the MRC that work on the Marchand Bridge in Mansfield is expected to be complete this fall, however, some mayors remain skeptical that it will be finished on time.