MRC Pontiac unveils new logo, requests Ottawa River management study

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Rylee Ballman, the president of the youth council giving a report in the council of Mayors meeting.

Maryam Amini

MRC PONTIAC – The monthly meeting of MRC Pontiac Council of mayors was held on May 17 at the MRC offices in Campbell’s Bay.

Presentation

Josey Bouchard, a teacher at École Envolée in Campbell’s Bay, announced the launch of a book created by her students, to be held June 9 at Campbell’s Bay RA. The book “Les aventures mystérieuses Siméon et le train” is stories about Pontiac’s history. The MRC contributed $500 to the project so each Grade 6 grad would receive a copy.

Youth council report

Rylee Ballman, president of the youth council, reported on their activities and invited the mayors to attend a fundraising car wash & BBQ to be held sometime in June.

Ballman also reported the youth council passed a resolution requesting the Ministry of Education encourage negotiations between the Union representing local school bus drivers and the company Sogesco. (See related article page 8)

Administration

The RénoRégion program (RRP] of the Société ‘Habitation du Québec (SHQ) gives financial aid to local homeowners with modest incomes living to correct major deficiencies in their residences. The MRC is responsible and paid a
lump sum per file, called the Program Management Contribution (PMC), to cover costs to verify eligibility and plans etc., with no payment if files are cancelled part way through the process. It was resolved to ask the SHQ to modify the conditions of payment in the event of file cancellation.

The MRC mayors also approved a new corporate logo which removed the graphic image of an Indigenous chief’s head; it was reported there were lengthy discussions before the final decision was made. The new logo is now in use on the MRC’s website.

Funding granted

Council confirmed a Business Support grant of $12,500 for a project recommended by the investment committee; details of the project are confidential.

On May 2, the MRC’s analysis committee made decisions regarding the final dispersal from the 2022 Rural Regional Fund (FRR); there was $189,939 available for eligible “structuring” projects. Fifteen projects were received, requesting $303,203 in grants; 14 projects were declared eligible and 7 were selected for funding.

The selected projects are: Bryson RA – Summer Camp, $12,822; Chapeau Agriculture Society – Construction of farmers market Phase $50,000; Coopérative Aventure Hélianthe – Purchase of electric bicycles- $21,089; Harrington Hall Community Centre- Building renovations (Phase 1) $28,512.80; Campbell’s Bay municipality – Revitalization of the villages core and additions to the Ottawa River docks infrastructure $20,892.00; Pontiac Archives – Purchase of AV equipment, $1,739.34; Municipalité de Shawville – Revitalization of town core with Solar Lights $4,424.52. Total amount of grants allocated is $175,476.74.

Study requested

Due to this year’s spring flooding council resolved to request a provincial and federal study to assess the current infrastructures along the Ottawa River, including man-made structures and the natural shape and flow of the river and its tributaries along both sides (Ontario/Quebec). It would include a cost-benefit analysis of the addition of another reservoir and provide a comprehensive understanding of the current management system and its potential for improvement.

The Ministry of Public Security held two information sessions on May 23 for homeowners or tenants who had their primary residence flooded this year.

(See page 10 for related article)

The council also resolved to ask the MTQ to reduce the speed to 70 km/h at the entrance to the village of Waltham, up to the bridge crossing to l’Isle-aux-Allumettes.

Due to the scope of the April ice-storm power outages, council resolved to ask Hydro Québec (HQ) to take “a continued proactive approach to cutting of vegetation around electrical lines; in an emergency, to allow private companies to cut, trim and remove downed trees near power lines and to establish relationships with Ontario’s Hydro-One…to enlist their help…to reconnect clients more quickly.”

Municipal forestry tax credits

Following Quebec City’s new amendments to the Act respecting municipal taxation which adds a new category of “forest immovable”, the mayors will ask for the new tax credits offered forested property owners to not come out of the municipality’s budget, but should be treated like the existing MAPAQ credits; these credits are issued by the municipality on agricultural properties when they meet specific criteria — and the municipality is then refunded by the MAPAQ.

Forested properties would then be handled similar to farm properties.

Council also resolved to request renewing the temporary suspension for areas “inconsistent with mining”; the current suspension ends on May 30 and prevents new claims. Toller noted: “We have a huge amount of minerals, and great possibilities for mines. We are open to mining but there are lots of claims and we need time to revise them.”

The council resolved to renew the contract for the reception, transportation, and disposal of household waste within the MRC with Campbell’s Bay Ciment for another twelve months.

It was also resolved to ask the Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry to restore the pine allocation to the Commonwealth Plywood to ensure the sustainability of its activities. According to the company, the supply guarantee (GA) related to its pine allocation has been reduced by 40%.