Dear residents of the Pontiac,
Yesterday, Premier François Legault announced that the return to school for our children will be going ahead on Monday, January 17th as planned and the curfew will also be lifted that same day. The measure requiring the closing of non-essential businesses on Sundays will also end after Sunday, January 16th. In an attempt to better protect the population and lower the risk of overwhelming our fragile healthcare systems, an expansion of the vaccine passport was also announced for businesses with a surface area of more than 1,500 square metres. This new measure will come into effect on January 24th. Businesses whose primary activity is the sale of groceries or pharmaceutical products are exempt from this measure. I would also like to remind everyone that the proof of vaccination will also be required at all SAQ and SQDC shops as of January 18th. For anyone looking for additional information on these measures, please visit the Quebec website at this link: https://www.quebec.ca/en/health/health-issues/a-z/2019-coronavirus.
As of today, January 14th, all citizens aged 18 years and older can book their vaccination appointments for their first, second or booster shots through the Clic Santé platform. I am once again asking all residents of the Pontiac who are able to please get vaccinated as soon as possible. As many of you are already aware, this 5th wave has touched the Pontiac more than we’ve ever seen before. The Omicron variant is highly contagious and has made its way in municipalities across our territory in the past month or so. The vaccine has been proven to drastically reduce the severity of symptoms of the virus which in turn helps reduce the number of patients being sent to the hospital. In order for us to work collectively to better protect our most vulnerable citizens, the best way forward is to get vaccinated and to please stay at home if you are showing symptoms. I know that you are all very tired of the pandemic, but we must stay vigilant and work together to get through this. We can do this Pontiac, I believe in you!
I would like to take this time to remind all Pontiac businesses who have been affected by closures and the various emergency measures for COVID-19, that the department of Economic Development at the MRC Pontiac are available to help you get through this difficult time. Eligible businesses can access emergency loans up to $50,000 with advantageous terms. Should a business be under a closure order when the application for assistance is made, there is a possibility to benefit from loan forgiveness for certain eligible expenses. The relevant information, along with links to various provincial and federal assistance programs as well as the application forms can be found on the MRC website at the following link: https://mrcpontiac.qc.ca/en/covid-19-emergency-help-for-small-and-medium-businesses/.
In other news, I’d like to encourage all residents and visitors of the Pontiac to please take the time to fill out the Landscapes Preferences Survey that is currently circulating on the MRC website and social media pages. This photographic survey is in line with the revision of the Pontiac Land Use and Development Plan and the results will help the land planning department determine which areas should be preserved or improved on our territory. The survey can be found online at this following link and paper copies are also available at the MRC office: https://mrcpontiac.qc.ca/en/the-mrc-pontiac-wants-to-survey-the-population-on-its-landscape-preferences/.
Another exciting development this week is that the BAPE Report (Bureau d’audiences publiques sur l’environnement) has been presented to Quebec’s Minister of the Environment, Benoit Charette. The report includes 112 recommendations for environmental initiatives in the province, and it will be made available to the public on the BAPE website as of January 25th. The MRC Pontiac continues to be extremely interested in hosting an Energy from Waste facility on our territory and our committee will be meeting next week to discuss our progress on this project. It is expected that a waste management solution for the Outaouais will be selected by the Conférence des Préfets de l’Outaouais (CPO) in 2022-2023. Instead of spending over a million dollars a year of taxpayers’ money to truck our waste to the Lachute landfill, this project would offer a unique opportunity for the Pontiac to save money, create 50 local jobs, and be an environmental leader in Quebec.
I would also like to report to Pontiac citizens that the Flood Prevention Taskforce will be resuming our work this year, and we are hoping to have our first meeting of 2022 during the week of January 24th.
Lastly, I would like to remind citizens to please tune-in to the Facebook livestream of the public sittings of the MRC Council of Mayors and TNO council this coming Wednesday, January 19th at 6:30 p.m. As the meeting will be held virtually on ZOOM, we are asking residents to please submit their questions for the public question period by using the online form available on the MRC website: https://mrcpontiac.qc.ca/en/public-questions-for-the-tno-council-and-the-regional-council-of-mayors-held-on-january-19-2022/
Please remember to look for weekly COVID updates on my Warden Jane Toller Facebook page. I’d also like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a very happy new year! We can look forward to many exciting projects in 2022. Together Pontiac!