Work with Pontiac’s assets, not rails

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As a Pontiac resident, thank you for the August 28 article, “MRC battles CN over tracks” about our dying area when it comes to our industries. As an ex-railroader (CN), I have seen many branches closed over the years. These places had a lot more to offer than the Pontiac, as they boomed with mills and other industries.

As a Pontiac resident, thank you for the August 28 article, “MRC battles CN over tracks” about our dying area when it comes to our industries. As an ex-railroader (CN), I have seen many branches closed over the years. These places had a lot more to offer than the Pontiac, as they boomed with mills and other industries.
The Pontiac should strive to develop tourism and attract retirees in order to better position ourselves in those fields and to market ourselves as being the number one place to live or visit as a retiree. After all, we are in the backyard of the national capital. We should also offer a better picture of ourselves, starting by cleaning up our roads and our villages.
We need to get our act together and begin working together. Businesses need to start working together to promote tourism in the Pontiac, by offering packages for fishing, hunting, hiking, etc. We have the space, and many pristine waters, we just need to open our eyes and realize that we are a rich area. Pristine areas are hard to find, and they will become increasingly important as time goes on.
For these things we don’t need railroads. What we do need is better marketing that works with what we have right now by describing our area in a positive way. For example: talking about our roads as an opportunity to slow down and admire the scenery or describing our residents in a positive way, such as our accent and the unique way some of us mix the two languages.
We also need to stop giving away our land, products and services, and put a respectable price on them. We need to work with what we have, rather than what we don’t have or would like to have. What we have is beautiful, it just needs to be made attractive with more value assigned to it.
The elections are coming in November and the people that suddenly decided to fight and spend our money to save a railroad that is dead, are up for elections. These are the same people who watched that same train go by when it was alive and they did nothing.
Industrial companies only come to this area because we are a depressed area and the subsidies are good. Once they’ve spent that money they’re gone and so are the jobs. I know an individual who remains unpaid for wood delivered to just such a local company, as well as the trucker.
These legal proceedings over the railway need to be stopped in its tracks. Instead, we need to start believing in ourselves and start hiring our locals; they are smart, intelligent, and know the needs of our people as well as the needs of visitors and cottagers so they will spend their money here. We don’t need to work with Renfrew County as much as we need to work with those in the Gatineau and Ottawa areas.    

Rejean G. Bussiere
OTTER LAKE