Dear residents of the Pontiac,
Earlier today, Quebec’s Minister of Health and Social Services, Mr. Christian Dubé, announced, following a recommendation from Public Health, that the imposition of the vaccine passport will be gradually phased out by March 14th. As of tomorrow, the proof of vaccination will no longer be required for access to big-box stores (1,500 square metres or more, as well as to the Société des alcools du Québec (SAQ) and the Société québécoise du cannabis (SQDC). As of February 21st, it will no longer be necessary to present it to access places of worship and to attend funerals. Finally, on March 14th, it will no longer be necessary to present a proof of vaccination in all other places where the requirement is currently in force.
This past weekend, I was delighted to participate in two press conferences announcing some very important and exciting projects for our MRC. The first was the official opening of the longest snowmobile bridge in the world which connects the Pontiac to the West Carleton area in Ontario. The bridge which was formerly known as the Morris Island train bridge spans 487 meters across the Ottawa River and is located in the municipality of Bristol. It is truly gratifying to see such a valuable piece of infrastructure be rejuvenated and reused in a way that connects and benefits both the Pontiac and our neighbours in Ontario. The second exciting announcement was the official launch of the MRC’s new territorial marketing image and campaign: “The Pontiac. 14,000 reasons”. This new brand positions the Pontiac as a region of 14,000 km2 supported by 14,000 citizens. All wonderful reasons to visit, to love, to choose, to live, to undertake and to believe in the Pontiac. This project has been in the works for the past 2 years, and will surely bring a lot of positive attention to the Pontiac’s many attractive qualities, both as a place to live and to work. I would like to congratulate Cyndy Phillips and her dedicated team for both the realization of the brand launch and the opening of the snowmobile bridge. I am very proud of our hardworking team of employees at the MRC Pontiac and am looking forward to many more exciting initiatives to come in 2022.
I would also like to announce that I am currently working with the mayors of L’Ile-du-grand-calumet, Mansfield-et-Pontefract and Fort-Coulonge to look into the possibility of replacing the current ice bridge to eventually become an actual bridge that connects these regions. This link would greatly benefit those areas because they are 3 of the 18 municipalities who have the greatest population of french-speaking residents, and this connection would be able to provide access to those living on Calumet Island with many services and businesses, of which they are currently lacking. For this project, we are revisiting a study from the 1980s that was done on this bridge and we will be hosting a zoom call with all three municipal councils to discuss this project on Thursday evening. There will certainly be public consultation on this in the future, and once we figure out the feasibility of this bridge we will be contacting the Provincial and Federal governments for funding options.
This past week, I was also glad to see that our provincial MNA, Mr. André Fortin presented a petition by the Pontiac Women’s Institute for the reopening of the obstetrics unit in Shawville at the National Assembly in Québec. This is such an important issue for our region and I am very happy to see that our voices are being heard by the CAQ government. I am truly hoping that we will be seeing some progress on this file soon, and I am working very hard with the CISSSO to ensure that the reopening of this unit remains a top priority. Tomorrow night, during the public council meeting of the Regional Council of Mayors, we plan to launch a new petition for a request to improve cellular service infrastructure across our territory. We are planning to give this petition to our Federal MP Ms. Sophie Chatel to present it on our behalf at the House of Commons.
I am also happy to announce that our MRC Flood Prevention Taskforce has been continuing to meet once a month. We are glad to hear that the predictions for this year’s spring melt are looking good. At this point, we are not expecting any abnormal water levels for the Ottawa River during the spring freshet. If there are any changes we will be sure to keep the population informed. This month, I also plan to begin our meetings with the MRC Youth Council. I am looking forward to working with our young councillors to discuss any projects they wish to pursue during their mandate. More details about this initiative will be made available on the MRC website and social media in the coming weeks.
I would like to remind everyone that this month’s meeting of the Regional Council of Mayors will be taking place virtually on ZOOM tomorrow night at 6:30 p.m. All residents who are hoping to follow along can do so by watching the Live Stream on the MRC Pontiac Facebook page. The agenda for the meeting can be found on the MRC website at this link: https://www.mrcpontiac.qc.ca/en/meeting-agendas-tno-council-and-the-regional-council-of-mayors-held-on-february-16-2022-at-630-p-m/
You can continue to look for important updates on COVID-19, and many other important files on my Warden Jane Toller Facebook page. Thank you, together Pontiac!