News and Press Releases

Dear residents of the Pontiac,

I am very proud of the residents of the Pontiac who have once again risen to the challenges presented by mother nature with the recent ice storm and spring flooding.

In regards to the ice storm, the Council of Mayors join me in agreeing that Hydro-Québec did the best that they could under the difficult circumstances of having a storm that hit so many residents across the entire province. However, we all agree that no residents should be waiting 6 or 7 days without power. We, as a council, are taking steps to pass resolutions and to continue holding formal meetings with Hydro-Québec to discuss better solutions for the future. Some of these solutions could include enlisting the help of Hydro-One, who are located just across the river from us, immediately – especially when there is a lack of resources and manpower on the Quebec side. Another solution is to hire the services of private companies who could assist with the cutting of foliage and fallen trees – which I have been told was the biggest delay for reconnecting many residents. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our municipal workers, mayors, and fire departments who made such an effort to ensure that no one was left completely isolated and for opening their municipal halls to residents without power to warm up and recharge. In times of struggle, our communities always find a way to help each other.

Yesterday, the MRC received an update from the Ministry of Public Security (MSP) in regards to the spring flooding we are currently facing in many of our municipalities. The main messages that were relayed to me at this time are ‘’stability’’ and ‘‘vigilance’’. I have been told that all the rivers have seen a stability or a drop in level over the last week but the uncertain amounts of rain we are expected to receive over the weekend could change things quickly. As your Warden, I have been in constant contact with Hydro-Québec and the Ottawa River Regulation Planning Board to receive updates on the situation. Through the work of our MRC Flood Prevention Taskforce, which includes representatives from Hydro-Québec, the Ottawa River Regulation Planning Board, Hydro-One, Public Security, Mayors, MRC staff and citizen experts, we are keeping a very close eye on the situation. Various municipalities have taken necessary steps to ensure that their residents are well looked after and are staying safe. I ask that you please respect the orders from your local municipal office to not drive or walk down any sections of roads that are currently flooded as this can cause a great danger to yourself and to our emergency services. I also ask that you please stay updated through your municipality’s websites and social media accounts to ensure that you are well informed on the situation at all times. I would like to thank our local mayors and municipal workers who have been on high alert throughout this entire spring thaw period to ensure that residents are kept up-to-date and safe. We are all very grateful for your hard work and dedication to our residents. I would also like to formally thank our local elementary and high-school students who have taken the time to help their municipalities fill sand-bags. We are all extremely proud and appreciative for your help during this difficult time.

I recently had the pleasure of attending the re-opening of the sawmill owned by Commonwealth Plywood Ltd. in the municipality of Rapides-des-Joachims alongside the mill owner Mr. Bill Caine Jr., our Pontiac MNA Mr. André Fortin, the mayor of Rapides-des-Joachims Mr. Doug Rousselle and former mayor Mr. Jim Gibson, Mayors Odette Godin from Waltham, Lynne Cameron from Portage and Bill McCleary from Shawville. In attendance were also members of our MRC staff, notably Jason Durand, our Director of Territory, and Guillaume Boudreau, our Director of Economic Development. Representatives from the Pontiac Wood Producers Board, MP Sophie Chatel’s office and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry were also present for the event. It was very exciting to meet the workers and to see the mill in full operation. We as a council will now work very hard to restore the 40% pine allocation that Commonwealth Plywood Ltd. deserves in order to ensure that this mill remains open for many years to come. I once again would like to extend my heartfelt congratulations to everyone who was involved in the reopening of this very important Pontiac business.

In other news, the MRC Pontiac will be holding their 16th annual edition of the ‘’Tree and Forest Festival’’ at the MRC office on Friday, May 26th. Staff will be distributing free trees to residents as well as hosting a BBQ outside the office to raise funds for Bouffe Pontiac. More details about this event, including the types of trees that will be available, will be made public over the next few weeks. Please keep an eye on the MRC’s website and social media for further news on this event.

I would also like to take this opportunity to mention that our MRC Pontiac Youth Council will be holding a ‘’Car Wash and BBQ’’ on Saturday, May 27th from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. outside the MRC office. This event is to raise funds for our council to hold a youth conference on improving the physical and mental health resources in the Pontiac. I hope that many of you will come to support this group of dedicated youth councillors in their efforts.

I know that this spring has been a very stressful time for many of our residents and I am heartened to see our communities coming together to help and support each other. We can all be very proud of the Pontiac community for being so resilient under difficult circumstances. You can continue to look for updates on the MRC website and social media pages as well as on my Warden Jane Toller Facebook page. You can also reach me by phone at any time if you are need of assistance in any way: 819-647-8198. Wishing you all a great weekend. Together Pontiac!

-Jane Toller

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