Dear residents of the Pontiac,
It has been a couple months since my previous message, so I wanted to provide you with an update on the files that I am working on.
But first, on behalf of the MRC Pontiac Council of Mayors, MRC staff and the residents of the Pontiac, I would like to express our profound remorse and sadness concerning the recent passing of Mayor Doug Rousselle of Rapides-des-Joachims, on September 11, 2023. Doug was a strong advocate on many issues, including forestry, public safety, and economic revitalization, and even during his illness, he never missed a meeting. He was extremely proud of Rapides-des-Joachims and had great vision and plans for the future of his community. He played a pivotal role in the reopening of the Commonwealth Plywood sawmill in his municipality last fall. Doug’s legacy will live on as the Rapides-des-Joachims municipal council will soon inaugurate the new splash pad in his memory. We extend our deepest sympathy and condolences to his wife Joanne, his children Tina and Scott, and the rest of the family. I would also like to thank Councillor Stephanie Rauche for agreeing to replace Doug at MRC meetings while we wait for a by-election.
For the last months, we had discussion about better solutions for our waste in MRC Pontiac. I would like to update you on our progress. We have a new waste management committee which is made up of representatives from each of our 18 municipalities. I created this committee two years ago to enable a harmonized approach for waste collection. Our last meeting was two hours of discussion concerning the implementation of compost collection and improving recycling. We know that to maximize our results we need to make these processes as easy and convenient as possible to gain the greatest compliance. By doing so, we believe that it will be possible to reduce the waste being trucked to the Lachute landfill by 40%. We also realize that these major initiatives will require excellent communication with instruction to all residents on exactly how these programs will roll out to ensure clear understanding of how it will work and what is expected. There is provincial funding available to put in place this new service and this compost is an important resource that we should capture rather than bury it in a landfill. There’s one thing that the residents of the Pontiac have spoken clearly in the past, it’s their opposition to landfill for municipal waste, by rejecting one in Danford Lake and also one in Bristol Mines.
In regards of the Energy from Waste project, it is important to review some facts:
- Even after maximum recycling, composting, and waste reduction we will still have a significant amount of waste going to landfill.
- Quebec approves energy from waste including incineration as it is a transformation of waste into energy, in this case electricity and steam.
- With forestry, 50% of our waste was imported from Ontario and the other 50% from other parts of Quebec during the time of Smurfit Stone.
- For EFW, we need more waste than what exists in the Outaouais, which is why we are hoping to partner with Ontario once again and parts of the Outaouais.
- In the near future, truck technology could be electric.
- Our business plan will include international expertise to enable us to use the cleanest technology available.
- Pontiac will become a leader significantly fighting climate change through carbon capture with this facility.
In other news, the Council of mayors had a presentation with the provincial department of Municipal Affairs to discuss the flood prevention strategy. There’s some work being conducted in regard to the mapping of flooding areas, as well as the possibility to add a new reservoir and remove some obstacles that obstruct the water flow in the Ottawa River. There’s also discussion to establish a federal plan in regard to the river minimum water levels.
Also, the Council of mayors and I are deeply concerned by the loss of services at the Shawville Hospital. We will adopt a resolution at our next meeting requesting the CISSSO to restore the full services that the Hospital was providing before the pandemic, including the obstetric and the cataract surgery.
Finally, on a more personal note, I have been encouraging Piscine Pontiac to apply for funding in the new PAFIRSPA program. We need a pool for our residents of all ages, all abilities and disabilities and that is available 12 months of the year! We still have many people who have never learned to swim. The pool could be used for much needed physiotherapy and as an effective way to lose weight and become healthier. We have twenty-seven percent of residents of senior age and this facility will promote social activity and longer life. Many professionals (especially doctors) have told me that to bring their families to live in the Pontiac they require an amenity like the pool. The facility would provide approximately 24 part-time and full-time jobs and would be the newest aqua centre in the Ottawa/Outaouais valley!
As always, you can continue to look for updates on the MRC website and Facebook page as well as on my Warden Jane Toller Facebook page. You can also reach me by phone at any time if you are in need of assistance in any way: 819-647-8198. Wishing you all a great weekend. Together Pontiac!MESSAGE FROM THE WARDEN, JANE TOLLER – OCTOBER 13, 2023