Dear residents of the Pontiac,
On Wednesday night, we had a special meeting of the MRC Pontiac Council of Mayors where we approved the CN Railway Corridor By-Law, as well as the funding report for the Route Verte/PPJ Trail.
At the beginning of the meeting, we recognized former MNA and long-time Pontiac resident, Charlotte L’Écuyer. We spoke of her many accomplishments especially in health care and agriculture. Most of the 18 mayors spoke of their friendships and relationships with Charlotte over the years. A resolution was unanimously approved to express our condolences to her family, and to express our respect and gratitude for her continued work on behalf of the residents of the Pontiac. She will be greatly missed.
During Premier Legault’s press conference on Tuesday, he did not announce a change of colour in the COVID-19 alert system for the Outaouais region. Although the MRC Pontiac has had extremely low numbers, the decision was made based on our hospital capacity. If the Pontiac were to experience an outbreak, those patients would be transported to Gatineau and would not be treated at our local hospital. It had been my hope that the MRC Pontiac would be changed to an orange zone. We are expecting to have an update about provincial restrictions by Feb. 22nd. Thankfully, many of our non-essential businesses will be able to reopen after Feb. 8th, but our restaurants can still only operate for ‘take out’ only. This recent lockdown since Christmas has made it very difficult for our businesses.
The vaccinations in the Pontiac have begun. The first people to be vaccinated were the residents of the CHSLDs, our long-term care facilities and our health care workers. We will have at least one location, perhaps two, in the Pontiac to administer the vaccinations to the general public. This process should begin by Feb. 15th and will continue until September to complete the task.
At this point with COVID-19, the RLS Pontiac has had 64 historic cases since March. This includes the Municipality of Pontiac (Quyon area) with 41 cases and the MRC Pontiac with 23 cases. The MRC Pontiac has had ‘5 or less’ cases in the following municipalities: Fort-Coulonge, Shawville, L’Île-du-Grand-Calumet, Campbell’s Bay, Otter Lake, L’Isle-aux-Allumettes and Waltham. Yesterday, Mansfield-et-Pontefract reached 6 historic cases, which perhaps suggests that we have one new active case there.
I want to thank everyone for working so hard at wearing a mask and social distancing. We are doing very well and we need to continue this way. Please continue to support our local businesses and stay at home as much as possible, especially if you are over 65 years of age.
Last week, I hosted the first Flood Prevention Taskforce meeting on ZOOM. This meeting was well attended with 17 participants which included members of the Ottawa River Regulation Planning Board, Public Security, Hydro-Quebec, Will Amos, André Fortin, a group of mayors, MRC staff and André Boisvert. The taskforce will meet monthly to do everything possible to prevent flooding this spring.
Next week, Wednesday Feb. 10th, we have our plenary meeting of the Council of Mayors. At plenary, we will discuss many important initiatives, including the Energy from Waste project. The Pontiac has an excellent chance of obtaining the location for this type of facility. This project would save the MRC Pontiac a million dollars a year by not having to truck garbage to the landfill at Lachute, and it would create 50 jobs. It would also establish us as an environmental leader. This is a project whose direction will be decided later this year by the Wardens of the Outaouais, in terms of the technology to be used and the location of the site.
Our monthly public sitting of the Council of Mayors will be held on Feb. 17th at 6:30 p.m. and will be broadcast live on the MRC Pontiac Facebook page. This is the best to stay informed every month.
Please continue to keep the health of the Pontiac in your thoughts and prayers. Together Pontiac!
– Jane Toller