MRC requests mining moratorium and creates another PPJ committee

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Allyson Beauregard

CAMPBELL’S BAY – The distribution of $200,000 in FDT grants, the creation of a new committee to study allowing ATVs on the PPJ trail and a temporary suspension of new mining activities in “incompatible areas” were all topics discussed during the Council of Mayors meeting held at the MRC headquarters, April 17.

Allyson Beauregard

CAMPBELL’S BAY – The distribution of $200,000 in FDT grants, the creation of a new committee to study allowing ATVs on the PPJ trail and a temporary suspension of new mining activities in “incompatible areas” were all topics discussed during the Council of Mayors meeting held at the MRC headquarters, April 17.
Public input and questions
Randy and Francine Russell spoke about the Pontiac’s first Kidney Walk, in Shawville on May 26, organized in conjunction with the Rotary Club. According to Russell, one in ten Canadians suffer from chronic kidney disease and 70% of those on Quebec’s donor list are waiting for a kidney. A long-time participant of the kidney walk in Gatineau, Russell was inspired to coordinate a local walk when the Pontiac’s Dialysis Unit was opened last year. Russell received a kidney transplant himself
19 months ago, donated by his wife.  
Martin Bertrand, Guillaume Harvey and six of the ten students who participated in the recent Ski to Parliament expedition thanked the MRC for their support of the initiative and presented an unofficial trailer of their journey’s documentary, to be released later this year.
Helen Routcliffe from the Stark’s Corners Women’s Institute asked for council’s support of a resolution asking the Quebec government to sign the inter-provincial reciprocal bill, like every other province has, to eliminate charges non-residents face to access medical care when they travel to other provinces. Council agreed.
ATVs allowed on the PPJ?
An MRC committee consisting of mayors Gaston Allard (Fort-Coulonge), Gilles Dionne (Mansfield), David Rochon (Waltham), Maurice Beauregard (Campbell’s Bay) and Sandra Murray (Shawville) was created to look into allowing ATVs on the PPJ trail. “One of the MRC’s priorities is the ATV trail network. We tried hard last year to develop an alternative route, but hit a road block when we couldn’t use a section of Highway 148 to connect municipalities,” said Warden Jane Toller,
stressing the need to promote economic development and tourism. 
A boat wash station for the TNO will be purchased locally for $25,000 using funds from the TNO lease fund to prevent the spread of invasive species. In addition, $142,500 from the TNO’s road budget will be allocated to the maintenance of priority roads.
A request was sent to the provincial government for funding for equipment and training for water rescues.
Council sent the Quebec Department of Energy and Natural Resources a request for a temporary suspension (6 months) of new mining claims in identified “areas inconsistent with mining” while each municipality reviews their territories, consults the population and finalizes their lists. 
Following the recommendations of the FDT’s Structuring Project Analysis Committee (Fonds de développement du terrritoire) a total of $200,000 was awarded to the following projects: Jardin Éducatif / Fab Lab – $36,000; Norway Bay Municipal Association (updating Centennial Park) – $9,000; Chichester  (waterfront park development) – $14,000; Mansfield (park renovation) – $12,000; Amis du manoir St-Joseph (expansion project) – $70,000; Coop Solidarité de Plein Air l’hélianthe – $5,000; CDC Pontiac (community health) – $10,000; Asso Récréative de Chapeau (improvement of community park) – $5,000; Harrington Community Centre (improvements) – $5,000; Pontiac Tourism Association (renovation of tourist information relays) – $4,000; Bryson (development and accessibility of the beach) – $2,000; Bristol (redevelopment of the Norway Bay beach) – $24,000; Table Aînés retraités du Pontiac (Réseau aînés) – $3,000; and L’Île-du-Grand-Calumet (culture suppers) – $1,000.
Council supported a resolution from the Lac St. Jean area requesting that household and refrigeration appliances be included in recuperation and recycling programs; purchasers are charged a fee and certain companies accept the disposed items free of charge. Murray voted against the resolution.
After 12 years of service, Council bid farewell to Nancy Dagenais, former County Clerk, and welcomed Travis Ladouceur to the position. 
The next Council of Mayors meeting is May 22.