Swimming pool? Yes, but…

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In response to the many articles recently published by our Warden, I cannot help but denounce the absurdities reported in them, and this, at the risk of making enemies.

In response to the many articles recently published by our Warden, I cannot help but denounce the absurdities reported in them, and this, at the risk of making enemies.
First of all, the centre of the Pontiac is Campbell’s Bay and not Fort-Coulonge, due to its geographical location within the MRC. This is why most government departments and agencies have settled there over the years, including the MRC headquarters. (According to the study on municipal amalgamation published in January 2013, Campbell’s Bay is the main service center, with 13 municipalities travelling there for services). Moreover, according to the Business plan for the construction of a pool in Campbell’s Bay produced in 2010 by Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton on behalf of the MRC, Campbell’s Bay was chosen because its location allowed it to serve the majority of the Pontiac’s population within a travelling distance of less than 50 kilometres. Beyond that, people will use it very little or not at all.
In June 2017, the MRC Pontiac mayors supported the project in general, but I don’t really believe they all agreed on the location, but rather to put the project back on track.
When it is mentioned that the project will be financed entirely by grants from the provincial and federal governments as well as corporate donations, let’s not forget that grants never cover the full costs, are not always accessible and are not necessarily recurrent. As for corporate donations, it’s the same scenario; and who are these ‘big companies’? That I question, having been fooled several times in the past…
Also, with regard to Fort-Coulonge being one of the poorest municipalities in the MRC, I wonder about fairness towards other municipalities that are just as poor and that will probably benefit very little, if at all, from this infrastructure. Is it the MRC’s role to indirectly fund a municipality who has difficulty, by installing regional infrastructure there to the detriment of its accessibility, or does the project have other benefits I don’t grasp? I hope the people behind this project in its current form realize that sooner or later, we will all end up paying for it, just like arenas and major tourist attractions.
Finally, when referring to the Minganie region, it is an MRC with only eight municipalities and one TNO, and their aquatic center is located in Havre-Saint-Pierre, the capital of the MRC, just like Campbell’s Bay. This municipality is also geographically central and houses 68% of the total population (compared with 26% for the proposed project). Campbell’s Bay has 10,422 people out of 13,987 (74.5%) within a 25 km radius.
I completely agree with the basis of these proposals: we need structured projects and quality infrastructure to attract people to settle in the Pontiac and the pool project is very commendable. However, I’m very disappointed by the lack of transparency and fairness in dealing with the issue, and I deeply regret the lack of respect for the residents’ intelligence.

Jean-Pierre Landry
CAMPBELL’S BAY