Dear residents of the Pontiac,
Recently, I was informed by the CISSSO that there has been an increase in the amount of COVID-19 cases in our region. I was told that this can be explained by the recent easing of certain restrictions in public spaces and by people getting together more often. I am asking all residents to continue practicing vigilance when it comes to mask wearing, hand washing, monitoring symptoms, testing and self isolation when necessary. Even though we have been able to experience a sense of normalcy in the past few weeks, we must continue to do our best to avoid spreading this virus to our most vulnerable citizens. I have confidence that Pontiac residents will continue to do everything in their power to stop this virus from spreading even further within our communities. I have a meeting with CISSSO tomorrow morning to discuss their concerns and to get an update on the number of cases. I will be sure to update you on this on my Facebook page.
Last week, the Flood Prevention Task Force, which is a committee made up of elected officials, citizens, MRC staff, members of the Ottawa River Regulation Planning Board, Ontario Power Generation, Hydro Quebec, and Public Safety met to discuss the spring melt conditions and current water levels. I am happy to report that all levels are looking normal and we should be able to avoid any flooding this spring. This committee is meeting regularly and is keeping a close eye on the situation, we will continue to keep the public informed at every step.
This morning, we had the second meeting of our MRC Pontiac vitalization committee. This committee’s mandate is to identify and adopt a vitalization framework in order to revitalize our communities and improve the quality of life of our citizens in a sustainable manner. The Provincial government has allocated a significant fund of 5-million dollars which is to help improve vitality for the whole Pontiac with a special focus on the most devitalized regions. I am very happy to be sitting on this exciting committee and will be sure to keep the public informed on all decisions when they are ready to be announced.
In May, Canadian Nuclear Laboratories will be hosting a series of public hearings in regards to the proposed location of a nuclear disposal site located only 1 km away from the Ottawa River. The Council of Mayors have previously expressed our deep concern for this decision by passing a resolution asking CNL to move the location as far away from the river as possible. At the hearings, I plan to speak on behalf of Pontiac residents to express our concerns and to once again request that this disposal site be moved. I am working with several local associations, notably the Fort William Cottager’s Association, and concerned citizens to prepare our statements to CNL on this matter. As the MRC that is located closest to the facility, we were never asked for input when this location was initially proposed. I plan to express our opposition to the chosen location as it stands. For anyone interested in attending these hearings, they will be open to the public. You can find more information on the CNL website: https://www.cnl.ca/
In other news, I am glad to report that the Energy from Waste file has been moving along nicely through the hard work of the Conférence des Préfets de l’Outaouais (CPO), which is a working committee consisting of the 4 wardens of the Outaouais and the mayor of Gatineau. We are working together to find the best waste management solution for the whole Outaouais as we hope to move away from landfill. At this stage, the MRC Pontiac is the only willing host for an Energy from Waste facility on our territory, and we already have two potential locations which are zoned for this type of industry. We are currently spending over 1.7 million dollars to truck our garbage to Lachute. A facility of this kind would be a great solution for producing profits and energy from our waste, which will save us a lot of money and will also create 50 local jobs. A final decision on the chosen technology and the proposed location is to be made by the CPO later this year. There will be public consultation as well. Tonight, I am happy to be coordinating a meeting with our MRC Waste Management committee, which consists of mayors, director generals, municipal councillors, and MRC staff, in order to discuss solutions for reducing our waste, facilitating composting solutions and managing construction waste.
Finally, I am excited to announce that on Thursday, April 28th, we will be hosting a breakfast fundraiser for Centraide Outaouais at the Lion’s Club in Shawville. The event will start at 8:30 a.m. and all funds collected will be donated to help support Centraide and the seven agencies who benefit from it in the Pontiac. We plan to have the mayors waiting tables during the event and there will be a presentation made by Centraide as well. We plan to invite the Pontiac business community and several local organizations to attend. I also encourage all members of the public to come in large numbers to help support this wonderful and important fundraiser. We are hoping to make this an annual event. Thank you, together Pontiac!