MRC PONTIAC & PONTIAC – At the end of May, the provincial government announced that the $4.2 million in assets contained in the Société de diversification économique de l’Outaouais (SDEO) fund will be divided between five Outaouais MRCs’ economic development funds: MRC de la Vallée-de-la-Gatineau ($752,400); MRC Pontiac ($543,600); MRC des Collines ($421,000); MRC de Papineau ($525,600); and Ville de Gatineau ($1,357,200).
The funds were distributed based on a variety of socio-economic factors such as poverty indexes, and according to Lise Thériault, Minister responsible for Regional Economic Development, the transfer was a way to decentralise local and regional development to allow local MRCs to manage their own economic growth. According to Pontiac MNA Andre Fortin, the new funds will be added to those already available through the MRC Pontiac to support new businesses or investment projects by early fall.
The SDEO was created in the 90s as a way to offset the effect a series of government cutbacks had on certain regions in west Quebec. After the SDEO was no longer needed years later, the fund’s $4.2 in assets were set aside. Since then, discussions have taken place to determine where the money would go and how it would be distributed.