Dear residents of the Pontiac,
As you may have already heard, the Province of Quebec released their regional alert system for COVID-19 earlier this week. This alert system includes progressive intervention criteria that defines additional measures to be taken as needed to ensure public safety. The Outaouais is currently at Level 2, which is the ‘Early Warning Stage’. Early Warning is required as soon as transmission of the virus has started to grow. The basic measures will be strengthened and further action taken to promote and encourage compliance. For example, there could be more inspections and greater crowd control in various venues to facilitate physical distancing. The Premier also announced that as of Saturday (Sept. 12th), you could receive a fine for not wearing a mask in enclosed public spaces, certain exceptions apply i.e. children under 12, medical conditions, etc. I am so proud of the results we’ve had so far in the Pontiac with zero cases. I know that we can continue this way as long as we remain vigilant and continue to wear our masks.
On Monday, the MRC is holding the first of 10 public consultations for both the land-use plan and the Vision Pontiac 2030 plan. These planning processes are crucial in order for us to move forward with the revitalization of the Pontiac, but we cannot do so without the input from the citizens who live here. I encourage everyone to get involved in these discussions, you can find the schedule and locations on the MRC website at this link: https://mrcpontiac.qc.ca/en/notice-of-public-consultation-august-21-2020/
Later this month, there will be numerous cultural events happening across the region as part of Quebec’s Culture Month. During these difficult times, we have not been able to go about our summer activities as usual, which has been tough on many of us. Despite this, the MRC has been working hard, in collaboration with the Culture pour Tous and local municipalities, in order to offer Pontiac residents an opportunity to enjoy arts and culture in a safe and creative way. You can find a calendar of all the Culture Month events on the MRC website and Facebook page. I encourage everyone to support these events, and I hope to attend them all myself.
Lastly, I would like to remind citizens that the public sittings of the TNO Council and Regional Council of Mayors are happening this upcoming Wednesday, September 16th at 6:30 p.m. at the RA in Campbell’s Bay. Residents are welcome to attend and there will be a public question period. All safety precautions for COVID-19 will be taken, and members of the media will be present. If you do not feel comfortable attending but wish to ask a question, you can find a form on the MRC website to submit your question electronically. One of the more important topics that will be addressed at council is the initiative to start a pilot study for the Pontiac to offer equal starting pay for nurses compared to Ontario. In order to ensure that the Pontiac Community Hospital’s OBS unit can reopen and stay open, we must first ensure that nurses are compensated fairly. I have written a letter to Mathieu Lacombe, Quebec’s Minister of Families and the Minister Responsible for the Outaouais region, in order to address this pay discrepancy and to discuss this pilot project with Premier François Legault.
You can continue to look for daily updates on my Warden Jane Toller Facebook page. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. Keep safe, together Pontiac!
– Jane Toller