Municipality of Pontiac consults seniors 52% are unhappy with the amount of services

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Mo Laidlaw


Mo Laidlaw

MUNICIPALITY OF PONTIAC – Over 60 municipal residents attended a consultation hosted by the Senior’s Roundtable (Table autonome des aînés des Collines), February 7, at the Marcel Lavigne Community Centre in Luskville to discuss the results of a survey that was mailed to and completed by people over the age of 40 in the Municipality of Pontiac last fall. Residents over 50 years old were invited to attend the
meeting; the group
represents 35% of the municipality’s population.
Marie-Pierre Drolet, Director of the Senior’s Roundtable, summarized the characteristics of those who responded to the
survey as well as the results. A total of 205 people completed the survey (9% under age 50, 25% in the 50-59 age group, 32% 60-69, and 32 % over 70). Slightly more women (56%) responded than men. Most respondents live with a spouse (71%), but 16% live alone.
Although the majority (29%) of respondents were from Ward 4 (Luskville), 18% were from Ward 2 (Quyon), and 16% were from Ward 5 (Breckenridge/ Luskville); the other three wards each represented about 10% of the survey’s respondents.
Despite most residents being happy to some degree (95%), and feeling secure (74%), 52% feel there are not enough
services offered in the Pontiac. Although most respondents had a driver’s license and access to a car, attending health appointments, grocery shopping, and banking were indicated as problems.
About 34% of respondents feel they need more information on bylaws and permits, recreational
services, and libraries. In general, seasonal residents and those living in Ward 6 and the Lac Beauclair area of Ward 1 feel they do not receive enough municipal information. Twenty-one percent of the group do not have access to the internet, and 65% of them do not want it. 
Apart from the Quyon Family Centre, Saint Vincent de Paul, and the Lions Club, which are organizations known to more than half the participants, most other social organizations are not well known.
Of those who responded, 27% indicated that they receive help from someone who does not live with them: a family
member, friend, neighbour, or paid employee; mostly for exterior work and house maintenance.
After the results were presented, those in attendance were divided into seven groups to compile a list of problems and priorities. After deciding their top three problems or priorities, each group presented their results to the entire room. Some of the ideas mentioned were: providing a directory of people available to provide house cleaning, snow removal, garden work, or external maintenance; forming a cooperative to build a seniors residence; receiving more information from the municipality about social and exercise activities; creating river access points and parks with exercise stations for seniors; and having a walk-in medical clinic.  
Problems mentioned included the
distance from certain parts of the Municipality of Pontiac to Shawville
(hospitals and doctors), and the lack of a bank in the municipality, which becomes a security risk when people have large amounts of cash in their possession. “Health, leisure, activities, shopping – all need transportation out of the Municipality of Pontiac,” said one participant. 
Mathieu Ravignat, Pontiac Federal MP, took part in the consultation and said he would take the group’s concerns to Ottawa. The overall results will be used by the MADA committee (municipalité amie des aînés) to propose an action plan to the municipal council, to be adopted in the fall of 2015.