CAMPBELL’S BAY – The MRC Pontiac council of mayors meeting, held December 19, 2017, focused on issues and projects to be tackled in the new term. Warden Jane Toller reminded the mayors that the next MRC meeting—Jan 17th—would be an evening meeting which will hopefully encourage more members of the public to attend and become involved with the politics of local government. She also said
she intends to visit every municipality for at least one council meeting, in 2018.
Toller told the mayors that the provincial FARR program (Regions Support Fund) had allocated $1.9 million for the Outaouais region. These funds are to finance development and to promote regional coordination for projects that have spinoffs across at least two Outaouais MRCs. She said they should focus on issues of urgency, given there have been applications totalling over $14 million
from the entire region. It will be announced later this month which organizations will benefit from the 2017-2018 grants.
Toller also noted she is working on having a heavy vehicle inspection centre
set-up in the Pontiac.
Mayors briefly discussed activities in their municipalities. Kim Cartier-Villeneuve, pro-warden and mayor of Otter Lake spoke of a fitness centre recently opened and
a games room planned to open in January; Doris Ranger from Sheenboro mentioned the annual Senior’s Tea coming up on Valentine’s Day; Jim Gibson from Rapides des Joachims spoke of an ice fishing tournament; and Bristol mayor Brent Orr brought up the dog sled races, to be held at Timberland, on January 6 and 7 (see page 6).
Mayor Serge Newberry spoke about Île-du-Grand-Calumet in detail. He noted there are 1,100 acres of public land, including Îles Lafontaine, and spoke of his desire to develop it. He said that on the Ontario side the rapids were used to train Olympic white water kayak champions, while nothing of the sort was happening on the Quebec side. He asked that the management rights for Îles Lafontaine be given to the municipality. This is a topic he has brought to the MRC in the past, and it was made clear the municipality would have to find investors for its tentative projects. After some discussion Toller asked that a report be prepared for an update on the issue.
A majority of the mayors voted in support of the Canadian Nuclear Laboratories’ request for a 10 year extension to their license, despite concerns expressed by various cottagers’ associations (see letter page 7); the mayors noted that local jobs could be lost if the license wasn’t renewed.
On January 20th the MRC Pontiac mayors will hold a brainstorming session to focus and discuss issues without the glare of public scrutiny; topics include the mandates of new committees, a 4 year business plan, communication issues, tourism, forestry, and the development of a “plan for prosperity”. One of Toller’s objectives is the re-opening of a mill in the region, stating there is cheap hydro power available and lots of white pine to cut. The results of this meeting will be announced a few weeks after the retreat.