MUNICIPALITY OF PONTIAC – Council held its regular meeting, November 10 via teleconference. The main discussions were the creation of a quarter-million dollar emergency fund and filing a legal injunction to identify the person behind a fake social media account.
A resident asked if council members intend to run in next year’s election. Councillors Draper-Maxsom, Howard and Patry said no, while the others said they haven’t decided. Mayor Joanne Labadie added, “There’s a lot of work to be done.”
— Floods and other emergencies
Camille Beaufort and two other residents asked what the plan is for municipal roads affected by floods. Labadie replied that at the moment, there are no funds to do anything. Québec is planning to invest $445 million province-wide in flood zones, but only after the flood map is completed this winter.
Beaufort also asked about planning for a possible flood in spring 2021 given that she felt it was “fend for yourself” in spring 2020. Labadie said sand and bags were delivered to areas the Ministry of Public Security (MSP) identified, but employees and volunteers were unable to help according to public health guidelines.
Council passed a resolution to set up a $250,000 reserve fund for all emergencies to provide instant funds instead of having to wait for money from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing (MAMH). The municipality still hasn’t received promised funds from MAMH to compensate for loss of revenue and additional costs linked to the pandemic.
Another reserve fund was set up for infrastructure to allow for completion of major work without passing borrowing bylaws and paying interest. The annual gas tax (TECQ) and other funds council deems necessary will be transferred into this surplus fund.
—- Legal injunction
Following the lawsuit in Cantley, council passed a resolution for municipal lawyers to obtain a disclosure order to find the author(s) of derogatory and offensive comments and attacks on the municipality, employees and council from a fake Facebook account. Councillors Draper-Maxsom and McDonald voted against, the former stating not enough other options were pursued.
Laura, a concerned resident, said the bullying and intimidation must be addressed. “It’s a menace to employees who have been videotaped and harassed. Aggressive messages have sometimes encouraged others and produced a mob mentality. Those who join in should also be accountable,” she said.
Other residents provided their input: “Why spend money on this person? I’ve engaged with Mick Mars. We don’t need to spend money,” said Sheila McCrindle. “It’s easy to say ‘ignore’ unless you’ve been attacked,” added Laura. Diane Lacasse asked how much would be spent? Labadie replied that the cost would be comparable to the $9,000 spent in Cantley, which was recovered from “anon” along with an apology.
—- Livestock inventory
Blake Draper, the local UPA (farmers’ union) representative, asked why the urbanism department is surveying livestock farms. This is to make sure building permits are not given for lots closer to livestock farms than bylaws allow. Draper also noted problems with ditches that don’t carry water away. Labadie said the first priority was culverts, with 100 replaced since 2017. Ditches will be the focus in 2021.
—- NCC evaluations
The NCC is contesting the increased evaluation of its properties (done by the MRC). Last year, the NCC refused to pay the increased taxes of its properties in Chelsea. In Pontiac, NCC owns Gatineau Park as well as properties such as the Prime Minister’s country residence, Harrington Lake, which recently underwent $8.6 million in renovations. Council agreed to give Me Paul Wayland the mandate to represent the municipality in this dispute, as he represents other municipalities in the MRC.
—- Bronson-Bryant washout
The municipality may be able to get a grant from MSP to repair the road, which was destroyed during the 2019 floods. The alternative is to construct permanent dead-ends at each side. MSP requires engineering plans and drawings, a hydrological study and cost estimate before confirming its contribution, which will be obtained by public works.
The following expenses were approved for the fire department: $32,272 plus tax for a new “Jaws of Life”; an air exchanger, carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide detectors for the Breckenridge fire station for $11,746 plus tax; and a radio repeater for the Breckenridge fire station for $9,250 plus tax.
Other approved expenses: $57,258.70 for lamp posts and bases for the Luskville ballpark; cost overruns for unforeseeable work on the St. Andrew and St. John project amounting to $49,672 (paid from the gas tax); $36,786 for boards for the Quyon rink; Lacroix & Associés were given a 2-year mandate as external auditor, for $35,900 plus tax; and analysis of the vulnerability of the municipal drinking water supply (Quyon) for $23,800 plus tax, 50% of which will be grant funded if the study is sent to MAMH before April 1, 2021.