Dear residents of the Pontiac,
On behalf of the MRC Pontiac and the Regional Council of Mayors, I would like to wish everyone and their families a very Happy Canada Day! Even though, due to COVID-19, we cannot have our usual large gatherings and events, I am sure that everyone in their own way will be taking the time to remember how lucky we are to live in a country like Canada.
As an update this week, I would like to highlight a few developments. Last week, I had the opportunity to meet with the Minister of Forestry, Pierre Dufour as well as Mathieu Lacombe and André Fortin. The purpose of this meeting was to address the current forestry crisis with pulp and biomass. We know that there are presently no forestry mills in the western Outaouais, and we hope to change that. We are working on an exciting project at Davidson Mills which is called Énergie Davidson. The project involves a cogeneration, which is a solution for pulp and biomass that produces both steam and electricity. In addition to that, there will be a white pine saw mill. My discussion with Minister Dufour was to emphasize that we need our cutting rights, otherwise known as garantie d’approvisionnement (GA). Minister Dufour told me immediately that he likes the project and believes it is ecocentric and self sustaining, particularly the fact that there could be a greenhouse industry to receive the steam generated by the cogeneration.
We held a public rally in support of this project on Monday, June 22nd in Davidson. Many local politicians and important speakers were in attendance, including André Fortin, Mayor Gilles Dionne, Mayor Gaston Allard, and Pascal Dupuis, Owner of Valleyfield Cogeneration, who is working closely with Bruno St-Cyr, the vice-president of the Scieries Davidson. Hector ‘Junior’ Soucie also addressed the crowd on behalf of the Forestry Co-op. All together there were approximately 80 people in attendance, which included the local media outlets. I intend to send a recap of this positive event to Minister Dufour, where we were asking the Provincial government to relaunch forestry in the Pontiac beginning with Énergie Davidson.
Another important event took place this past Tuesday. I had the opportunity to make a presentation on behalf of the MRC Pontiac to the Conférence des Préfets de l’Outaouais (CPO). Polytechnique Montreal also did a presentation on waste management in the Outaouais. The intention of my presentation was to declare the Pontiac as a willing host and are interested in all potential technologies to find a sustainable and profitable solution for waste management. Currently, the Pontiac spends a million dollars a year trucking garbage to Lachute, QC. By introducing new technology, we could potentially save a lot of money, create local jobs and become a leader in sustainable waste management in the National Capital Region. We are now going to begin Phase 2 of this project, which will be the prefeasibility study. Our goal is to have a solution and plan in place by the end of this political term (November 2021).
On June 25th, the Provincial Government announced the resumption of all physical activities, with the exception of festivals and large-scale events, combative sports, and overnight summer camps. Please continue to practice your social distancing of 1.5 to 2 metres, and please wear a mask when in public spaces. We do not know when the second wave of the virus will hit the Outaouais, and we need to stay vigilant and determined. We are blessed to have had zero cases thus far, and it is too early to start letting up on our prevention measures.
Wishing you a safe and healthy week, Together Pontiac!