MRC meeting Off-road interventions, new tourist route, and TNO zoning

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Arnaud de la Salle
(tr. AB)


Arnaud de la Salle
(tr. AB)

CAMPBELL’S BAY – During the Council of Mayors meeting March 15, MRC Pontiac Fire Safety Coordinator Jacques Piché suggested the Pontiac should follow the example of the MRC Vallée-de-la-Gatineau by establishing a structured plan for off-road first aid intervention since the MRC Pontiac currently does not have the means to intervene in emergency situations. A resolution was made to mandate Piché to return to the Council with suggestions for possible approaches. 
Piché proposed that the MRC Pontiac use the services of the organization ‘Volunteer Rescue Outaouais’ who would be responsible for recruiting emergency volunteers for the MRC. The MRC Pontiac would identify the equipment needed as well as where the organization would be based. Warden Raymond Durocher stressed that the MRC should approach local snowmobile and ATV
federations to examine possible partnerships that could be beneficial and effective for all parties.
Louis Caron, MRC Pontiac SHQ Inspector, made a presentation about the SHQ program, stating it is under-used and needs to be better promoted in order to increase the number of people benefiting from it.
Concerning the TNO commercial zoning file, Durocher said the Council must first evaluate the results of the public consultation before proceeding with any modification. (See more below).
Afterwards, an announcement was made that the MRC will invest $10,000 per year over the next four years to promote the first tourist route in the Outaouais called ‘The Water Way’ (Les Chemins d’eau) which will link 18 tourist attractions in the MRC Pontiac. Currently, Quebec has 16 tourist routes in nine administrative regions. More details will be revealed in the near future.

The report is in!
Majority against TNO zoning change

Allyson Beauregard

MRC PONTIAC – Following a public consultation that was held at the Campbell’s Bay RA Hall February 18 in regards to zoning Bylaw 155-2010 that allows commercial accommodation in zone 501 of the TNO, a 56-page bilingual report was presented to the Council of Mayors during their monthly meeting,
March 15.
The report details the opinions and concerns of those who attended the consultation as well as those who submitted their opinions to the MRC
following the meeting. The respondents included individuals, businesses, outfitters already established in the area, and ZEC representatives.
Except for a handful of people who support the bylaw as is for the promotion of economic development, the overwhelming majority of respondents were against the proposed bylaw or requested amendments. “We are not overbooked and turning clients away, so we don’t need the extra competition… it will cause us to have to work even harder to attract clients in order to stay in business,” said one outfitting business. Other concerns included conflicts over hunting territories, limiting access for Pontiac residents, more waste and pollution, amplifying difficulties for other outfitters, and the possibility of exclusive rights.
Suggestions included spot zoning rather than re-zoning the entire area, conducting an economic study to detail the effects of having another outfitting business in the area, and offering more leases to the general public in order to generate additional revenue from the zone. “This modification will result in nothing but minimal economic benefits for the MRC. The best way to attract tourists is to repair forest roads,” said one respondent. Many other participants claimed Pontiac businesses will not receive additional business with the addition of commercial lodging facilities since the majority of those visiting the area will bring their gear and supplies with them.
According to Regent Dugas, MRC Pontiac Director of Territory, the report was formulated in order to inform the Council of Mayors of the public’s opinions and concerns before making a final decision about whether to adopt the bylaw as is, modify it, or abandon it completely.