Warden’s report, promoting immigration, grants awarded

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Allyson Beauregard

CAMPBELL’S BAY ­– The 18 Pontiac mayors gathered at the MRC building, October 18, for the regular Council of Mayors (COM) meeting. The agenda

Allyson Beauregard

CAMPBELL’S BAY ­– The 18 Pontiac mayors gathered at the MRC building, October 18, for the regular Council of Mayors (COM) meeting. The agenda
included a discussion about a study concerning the use of the PPJ’s overwidth (see page 3), the presentation of the Warden’s Report, a reaction to the announced Laurentian Bank closures, and a discussion about promoting immigration.
Jane Toller, president of Tourisme Pontiac asked each municipality to become members of the organization. “We’re on a major membership drive. Tourism is not a frill… every penny will be wisely invested,” she said, noting tourism in the region has increased.
In response to the recent announcement that the two Laurentian Bank branches (Fort-Coulonge and Campbell’s Bay) will be closed next year, Council will ask the Bank to reconsider the closings; Durocher hopes to meet with local bank managers before the final decision is made. “It’s a threat to the survival of some communities. Without banks, the Pontiac’s population could decline even more,” said Durocher.
The topic of the bank closures and the Pontiac’s dwindling population sparked another discussion regarding promoting immigration to the Pontiac; Council unanimously agreed to ask representatives from Immigration Canada for more information about how to promote settlement in the region. 
The Council also approved $65,000 in grants through the FDT Fund and the Business Support Program: $15,000 each to two farms from
Ile-du-Grand Calumet; $10,000 to a Bristol farm; $5,000 to an attraction hatching butterflies in Otter Lake (Bill Stewart – Campbell’s Bay mayor and Terry Murdock – Otter Lake mayor
and pro-warden voted against); $10,000 to a Shawville\Clarendon farm; and $25,000 to a Shawville manufacturing business.
Warden’s Report
In the annual Warden’s Report, Warden Raymond Durocher gave an overview of the financial situation of the MRC, a summary of 2016, and general orientations for 2017. One of 2016’s activities, other than the construction of the new MRC building for $1.3 million, was the development of the Biomass Conversion Centre (BCC) project. According to Durocher, the project is “moving fast” and has “attracted serious interest among a number of partners” over the course of the last
few weeks. “Within the coming weeks or months, the MRC will hopefully only be there to support the project. We have done all we can, as an MRC. Quite a few investors are interested in taking over the file,” he said.  
The transfer of the BCC project is one of the goals for 2017, which also include completing phase 3 of the MRC building renovation, reviewing the issue of universal suffrage, revising Vision 20\20, and improving high-speed internet access, among others.
According to the financial analysis done by
the MRC’s auditor, the 2015 statements show an
accumulated surplus of $1,016,245, of which $210,466 will be appropriated to the 2016 budget. Revenues for the year are $5,852,612 and expenditures are $5,727,361, creating a $125,252 surplus over the 2015 budget.
The next COM meeting will be held November 23; the new budget will be tabled at this time.