Rue Principale revitalization project Upper Pontiac residents meet to discuss the future

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Peter L. Smith

L’ISLE-AUX-ALLUMETTES – About 40 people attended two information meetings – October 7 in St. Joseph and October 8 at Harrington Community Centre – to

Peter L. Smith

L’ISLE-AUX-ALLUMETTES – About 40 people attended two information meetings – October 7 in St. Joseph and October 8 at Harrington Community Centre – to
discuss some of the visions for Chichester and L’Isle-aux-Allumettes through the Rue Principale revitalization project. Winston Sunstrum, Mayor of L’Isle-aux-Allumettes, Donald Gagnon, Mayor of Chichester, and Jean
Yves Bernard, Project Coordinator, answered questions and explained some of the ideas for the two municipalities.
Two questions were put forth for discussion: What will L’Isle-aux-Allumettes and Chichester look like in 2025? And: Do you wish to protect the quality of your living environment, make
it more beautiful, more attractive, and safe? Residents appeared to
be divided: some were
optimistic about development in the area while
others suggested that due to poor employment opportunities, nothing much was going to change in the short term and most of the senior population may not remain in the area for another
10 years.
A slide presentation depicted areas of Chichester where property improvements could be made and listed what attractions are currently available. Gagnon highlighted the Wednesday and Thursday night entertainment at George’s Regal Beagle as an event that attracts people from outside the Pontiac while
others mentioned the public dock, Northfork Country Inn, and Three Hill Farms as other popular attractions.
“It is very unfortunate that many of these places are hard to locate due to the lack of proper signage,” noted one member of the public. Discussions are ongoing between the Upper Pontiac municipalities and the provincial
government regarding the installation of signs giving better directions. A suggestion was made to install a sign with business listings and directions near the
corner at Lepine’s Garage.
Sunstrum gave an overview of how the municipality has improved over the past 10 years: the Upper Pontiac Sports Complex has shown a healthy
profit in recent years;
the Chapeau Recreation Association has been very active, adding a new
playground for children;
the Chapeau Agricultural Society has an ongoing community garden project; Harrington Community Centre has been completely renovated with new ownership; a new restaurant has opened; the former rectory is being operated as the Chapeau Rectory Artists Gallery; a walking trail for seniors has been created; and a new play structure has been installed at Dr. Wilbert Keon School.
Sunstrum explained L’Isle-aux-Allumettes’ future is looking bright with the sale of the former St. Joseph Convent to a private business person who is expected to open a bistro/bed and breakfast facility and the Residence Meilleur de Haut Pontiac Seniors Retirement Residence which hopes to break ground next year. There are also discussions underway about creating
12 serviced building lots in a new subdivision in the
village as well as making a new park on the King Street Hill. The park, expected to cost about $262,000 in total, should be completed in 2017.
Sunstrum said each of the projects require some municipal funds and employee hours, but that grants have been applied for under different
programs. “We have also met with the CPTAQ, the government agency responsible for the protection of farm land, which ended well. We will have areas that were previously zoned green now available for
residential building,” he added.
In conclusion, a young woman spoke about her desire to remain in the Pontiac and raise her
family. “We need more facilities. Daycare has to be expanded and residents need to be better informed about what is available and where to find it,” she said.