Working for a Green Pontiac

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MNA André Fortin, MP Sophie Chatel, Warden Jane Toller and Paul Turpin, CREDDO’s representative, participated in a day-long event at Pine Lodge, discussing about the best ways to have a prosperous green economy in Pontiac.

Deborah Powell

Local business people and politicians gathered at Pine Lodge on Saturday, April 29, to discuss the best and most immediate ways to move towards a green and prosperous future for the Pontiac. The event was initiated by federal MP Sophie Chatel and CREDDO (Outaouais regional council for the environment and sustainable development) under the name “Évolution Verte Outaouais Tour” (Green Evolution Tour); it is the second of Chatel’s roundtables on developing a greener economy (www.outaouaisvert.ca). The prime objective of the project is to bring together community leaders, entrepreneurs and community organizations, tapping into local ingenuity and expertise and to set out a roadmap to sustainable prosperity.

In the morning CREDDO focused on the theme of climate change and presented current related projects. Participants then broke out into small groups to discuss and share ideas on potential projects specifically for the Pontiac. Information was also provided on financial resources available for business initiatives related to climate change.

CREDDO is holding similar sessions in other rural MRCs of the region; they will use the results for strategic planning.

The afternoon session started with a welcome by MP Chatel, along with Warden Jane Toller and Pontiac MNA André Fortin, followed by discussions on green and circular economies in rural areas.

In addition to presentations by CREDDO and the SADC, local examples of projects were highlighted by Mariane Desjardins Roy, the owner of La Fée des Bois (organic agriculture), Louis Harvey from Hélianthe Adventure Cooperative (eco-tourism) and Thierry Raimbault, MRC Pontiac Environment Coordinator, who described the agricultural plastic recovery project. Participants then went into workshops on sustainable forestry, sustainable tourism, digitization and the technologies of tomorrow, and collective ventures as an engine for sustainable development.

Ideas and potential directions were shared at the closing plenary.

“It was really extraordinary to spend the day with you,” said Chatel in her closing remarks, expressing her gratitude to “the partners in progress: CREDDO, MRC Pontiac, SADC Pontiac, and Tourisme Outaouais.”

“This has been an amazing day,” said Warden Toller. “We’re all paddling in the same direction towards a green and prosperous Pontiac.”

Benoit Delage, CREDDO executive director, said the day was “inspiring,” adding, “We’ve discussed concrete solutions … and are looking for leaders, including elected officials, to take on green projects.” He emphasized funding is available.

Chatel plans to complete her roundtables by the end of the year.