Municipality upset with Journal report


The municipality (of Pontiac) is involved in a complex situation involving a building permit emitted for 1175, chemin du Lac-des-Loups.

The municipality (of Pontiac) is involved in a complex situation involving a building permit emitted for 1175, chemin du Lac-des-Loups.
There seems to have been some         misunderstanding as to the application of this article 105 of the Loi sur la protection du territoire et de l’activité agricole. It also appears as though the initial analysis of the file may have been based on incomplete information.
We find it worrisome that the two    articles published in the Journal so far seem to favour one side of the story and      present subjective comments. The fact that these articles were not in the ‘Editorial’ section would lead the reader to believe they were receiving the ‘facts’. Conclusions were drawn as to the     municipality’s responsibility, and a monetary figure as to the alleged financial losses was (proposed). These opinions were based on only a portion of the information needed, and were expressed by your journalist who is not an urban planner.
I believe you favoured one side       without verifying the credibility of your source and the veracity of the information received. We cannot comment         further on this file given its contentious nature, and the fact that as a public organization we must protect individuals’     personal information.  We have limited our comments to the 2013 CPTAQ      decision, which is part of the public domain, (with) the balance of the file being confidential in nature.
A press release we sent to the Journal was not taken into account in the      preparation of this article. It announced the hiring of a professional urban       planner, (to) help the municipality fulfill its role. Given the criticism expressed (in the article) as to the municipality’s   capacity to fulfill its role in urban planning, this information would have (been) pertinent to the story and your readers.
In the future, we hope that your staff could show more prudence in contentious situations and (not) reach conclusions based on partial information in a field for which they have not received any formal qualifications.
Benedikt Kuhn,
Directeur général par intérim
Municipality of Pontiac

Publisher’s note: We do appreciate Mr Kuhn’s frustration. However, we are a newspaper, a source of news, and not a government institution with its particular needs and protocols. It is indeed difficult to lay out the facts of any complicated case if we receive none, or only minimal        collaboration, from the authorities involved. Even in his letter here, Mr. Kuhn does not cite our mistaken reports, nor does he provide accurate facts to replace any mis-statements on our part. 
As someone deeply concerned about professional standards, Mr. Kuhn will understand that a journalist must cover all subjects of public interest to the best of his/her abilities and cannot merely sign off on an issue of public concern, as is this one, merely because an official has declined to provide explanations, details, or answers on whatever grounds. Our community’s news would be blank pages – or trivialities! Surely Mr. Kuhn is not advocating that. 
We look forward to reporting from     the Municipality, now with their full          cooperation on public files, no matter their complexity. Incidentally, we did publish the name of the new urban planner in a regular council report by Mo Laidlaw.
We will follow Mr. Kuhn’s recommendations to the very best of our abilities.
Fred Ryan