Dear residents of the Pontiac,
As many of you are probably already aware, Premier Legault announced last week that the COVID-19 restrictions will be gradually lifted across Quebec over the next few months. As of this Friday, May 28th, the curfew will be lifted, restaurants will be able to open for outdoor dining, outdoor private gatherings will be permitted for a maximum of 8 people or occupants of 2 households (2-metre distance still applies) and travel between regions in Quebec will be allowed. As of May 31st, the MRC Pontiac will be moving to the Level 3 – Orange Alert Zone. To see all the information that applies in this zone please visit Quebec.ca/COVID19. As of yesterday, May 26th, the MRC Pontiac had reached 68% of citizens who have booked their appointment or have already received their first vaccination. This is wonderful news. However, we still have a number of municipalities who are lagging behind with vaccination rates, namely L’Isle-aux-Allumettes, Waltham, Portage-du-Fort, Shawville, Fort-Coulonge and Otter Lake. I would like to remind Pontiac residents that the Premier’s reopening plan for the Province depends on vaccination rates. If we want to be able to enjoy some freedom this summer, we must book our vaccination appointments. In June, we expect to have a mobile vaccination unit run by the CISSSO travelling through our region. This unit will be set up at the high-schools as well as in some of the municipalities where vaccination rates are lower. As soon as we reach 75% in the Pontiac, the CISSSO have informed me that we will be able to start booking for the second round of vaccines. This means that people who are currently booked in July could receive a call to get their second vaccination earlier if all goes well. I strongly encourage anyone who has yet to book their appointment to please book online at Quebec.ca/COVIDvaccine or by calling 1-877-644-4545 .
Last Wednesday, we held our monthly public meeting of the TNO Council and the Regional Council of Mayors of the MRC Pontiac. This was a very informative meeting, especially with a lengthy presentation from our Provincial MNA André Fortin to outline the upcoming changes with Quebec’s Bill 96 – “an act respecting French, the official and common language of Quebec.” During his presentation, Mr. Fortin outlined the different ways in which this proposed bill will affect our region and he provided some insight on what steps need to be taken by the municipalities to ensure that they do not lose their bilingual status. During our plenary meeting in June, we plan to discuss a proposed resolution to send to the Quebec government to express our concerns with the bill and to emphasise our desire to remain as a bilingual MRC. Each individual municipality are invited to send a resolution as well. During council, we happily congratulated Mr. Xavier Lusignan of Mansfield-et-Pontefract, who is preparing to compete in the Junior Pan American Games held from June 20-26 in Colombia. We also presented Mr. Marc Soulière, who runs a group of volunteers called ‘Les Amis du Lac Dumont’, with a certificate of recognition for his hard work and dedication to protecting the beautiful gem that is Lac Dumont. We also passed a very important resolution to provide numerous summer day camps across our MRC with funding to help pivot their programs for COVID-19., this resolution was passed unanimously. On behalf of the MRC staff and the Regional Council of Mayors, I would like to wish our local day camp operators and attendees a wonderful and safe season. The next public meeting will be held on Wednesday, June 16th at 6:30 p.m. We invite residents to listen to the live broadcast of our meeting on Facebook Live on the MRC Pontiac page.
Tomorrow, May 28th, is the MRC Pontiac’s annual Tree & Forests Day. Our staff will be handing out free trees outside of our offices in Campbell’s Bay from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Trees will also be available in the following municipalities: Alleyn-et-Cawood, Otter Lake, Clarendon, L’Île-du-Grand-Calumet, L’Isle-aux-Allumettes, Chichester, Sheenboro, and Rapides-des-Joachims.
I would like to take the chance to thank everyone once again for their patience with the restrictions at the provincial border. This decision was made by the Premier of Ontario under the ‘stay-at-home’ order. At this time, the order is set to expire on June 2nd. We are expecting to hear an update from Premier Ford next week. Even though our active cases have decreased and things are slowly opening up, we must remain vigilant in our prevention measures and get vaccinated as soon as possible. We can do this Pontiac!
Please continue to keep the health of the Pontiac in your thoughts and prayers.