Dear residents of the Pontiac,
Currently, we are experiencing a rise of COVID-19 cases across our region. I am asking everyone to please remain vigilant by following the recommended health measures, which includes frequent hand washing, monitoring for symptoms, wearing your mask in public spaces and keeping your distance with others – especially our most vulnerable citizens (immunocompromised individuals, the elderly, expecting mothers, etc.) If you are feeling unwell or have recently been in contact with someone who has tested positive, please watch for symptoms, and self-isolate when necessary. I would also like to inform all residents over the age of 70 that appointments are available at our vaccine clinic in Campbell’s Bay for the 2nd booster shot. Next week, people aged 60 and over will be able to book their appointments as well. For all other residents who have yet to receive their 1st booster, appointments are available right now. Please visit the ClicSanté platform to book your spot or call 1-877-644-4545. We must continue to do everything possible to protect our vulnerable citizens and communities at large. Once again, I want to thank everyone for being so resilient during this difficult time. We can all get through this 6th wave if we continue to work together to protect each other.
I would also like to provide a quick update on the obstetrics unit at the Shawville Hospital. I was very pleased to see that our MNA Mr. André Fortin presented the petition on behalf of the Pontiac Women’s Institute at the National Assembly in Québec. I would also like to recognize the Council of Mayors for their efforts in their municipalities to collect signatures. I am in constant contact with Josée Filion about the reopening, and I have been assured that reopening the unit remains a top priority for the CISSSO. I was pleased and encouraged to hear that some hiring of recent graduates is currently taking place and that a training program has begun across the province to provide regular nurses with the skills to work in obstetrics. Again, the most important factor for the reopening is the salary issue. The CAQ government made an election promise 4 years ago to equalize pay with our neighbours in Ontario, and I am still looking forward to seeing that happen. As long as you can earn 10$ an hour more across the border, it will be difficult to retain nursing staff here. We currently have two doctors and two midwives for our unit but we still need nurses, ideally 12, in order to fully reopen. I have been assured by Josée Filion that they have every intention of reopening and I will keep residents informed on all news about this.
In April, I am hoping to hold the first meeting of our MRC Pontiac Youth Council. We currently have 10 representatives chosen, and are still looking for other members who may be interested in representing their municipality. Ideally, we would like to have 18 members who represent each municipality in our region. If there are any students, aged 13 to 17, who are interested in taking part in the decision making on behalf of Pontiac youth, please contact me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone: 819-647-8198.
The Flood Prevention Task Force continues to meet monthly and we will have one final meeting this month. All indications show, based on less snow-fall this winter and normal trends, that flooding will not be an issue this year. We will continue to monitor water levels with our panel of experts on behalf of the people of the Pontiac. I will keep the public informed on all updates.
A new very exciting committee known as the Waste Management Committee has also been meeting regularly, and have identified the importance of increased composting across all municipalities as well as finding a solution for construction debris. Our main goal is to reduce the amount of waste sent to the Lachute landfill which, in turn, will save money for our taxpayers. For construction waste, we are hoping that the sorting centre in Litchfield will reopen and we will have a local solution for processing this type of waste. Currently, we are spending a staggering 1.7 million dollars on shipping our waste to Lachute and it is a top priority to find local solutions to help reduce this number. At the MRC Pontiac, we have a group of dedicated employees who are also working on strategies and opportunities to promote the Pontiac region as a willing host for an Energy from Waste facility. We are very proactive on this project, and I have personally heard from many people that believe this initiative would be a great asset for our region in terms of employment opportunities and to show leadership. I will continue to keep the public informed on this project, and I am looking forward to eventually having some public consultations on this topic.
I would like to remind everyone that the next public sitting of the MRC Council of Mayors will be held on Wednesday, April 20th at 6:30 p.m. at the Bryson Lion’s Hall. The public are welcome to attend in person. You can also tune-in to the Facebook Live broadcast on the MRC Pontiac page. I would also like to take this opportunity to inform the public that the Mayor’s council will be hosting another Lac-à-l’épaule this year. It will be held on Saturday, May 14th in Otter Lake. The topic of this year’s discussion will be waste management. I will be providing you with an update on our discussions after our meeting.
Once again, I would like to thank Pontiac residents for continuing to be so patient and kind during this difficult time. We have some very exciting projects on the horizon and I look forward to working together to create a better future for us all. Together Pontiac!