Dear residents of the Pontiac,
Earlier today, Quebec’s Minister of the Environment and the Fight Against Climate Change, Mr. Benoit Charette, announced his government’s intentions to create 11 new protected areas in the South of the province, which includes 820 km2 in the Noire and Coulonge watershed as well as an expansion to 313 km2 in the Dumoine River Biodiversity Reserve. I was extremely happy to hear this announcement today, and believe that these protected areas will be a great benefit to attracting new residents and tourists to the area. People are attracted to the Pontiac because of our beautiful wilderness, especially our pristine Noire, Coulonge and Dumoine Rivers. We need to continue to protect our waters for generations to come. Today’s announcement is a wonderful first step to achieve this goal! I would like to acknowledge both the CREDDO (Conseil régional de l’environnement et du développement durable de l’Outaouais) and CPAWS Ottawa Valley (Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society – Ottawa Valley Chapter) for their dedication and leadership in their consultation efforts for these protected areas and I look forward to continuing our work with them to ensure the project is successful. I was informed by Benoit Delage, Executive Director of the CREDDO, that the Pontiac will now have one of the largest protected areas in the entire Province. Our next step is to ensure that the east branch of the Coulonge River is also protected and I plan to work alongside Andre Fortin to ensure its protection.
This past Wednesday, we held our public sittings of the TNO Council and the Regional Council of Mayors. One of the highlights of the meeting was a presentation made by Mr. Éric Forget from a firm called Nova Sylva with an action plan outlining the situation and exploring development avenues in the forestry sector of the MRC Pontiac. This report was adopted unanimously by council and we as a council look forward to working with the forestry committee to implement actions based on the recommendations provided. Another highlight was the announcement that our Member of Parliament Ms. Sophie Chatel presented our petition, which had over 1200 signatures, to improve cellular service across our territory at the House of Commons in Ottawa. I was happy to hear in her deputation that Premier Legault has announced that the province plans to implement an action plan similar to their high-speed internet roll-out for cellular service in the near future.
I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a very happy Father’s Day this coming Sunday, and a very happy St-Jean Baptiste next Friday. I would also like to remind all Pontiac residents that the municipality of Fort-Coulonge is holding their ‘‘Village en Fête’’ event this Saturday on the rue Baume. The street will be closed to vehicle traffic in order to host numerous activities for families and to highlight local businesses. I am also looking forward to the numerous Canada Day celebrations that will be happening around the Pontiac. There will be a parade and fireworks in the municipalities of Sheenboro, Shawville and Otter Lake, as well as other celebrations throughout the Pontiac.
Lastly, I’d like to mention that there will be no meetings of TNO Council or the Regional Council of Mayors during the month of July as it is the holiday time for elected officials and MRC staff. I would like to wish everyone a very happy summer vacation time. I would also like to congratulation all of the recent graduates across the Pontiac, your futures are very bright!
Thank you, together Pontiac!