Dear residents of the Pontiac,
This Wednesday, Gaston Allard, the Mayor of Fort-Coulonge, announced his decision to step down from his office as mayor. He has started a new profession outside of the Pontiac and it makes it impossible for him to fulfill his duties as mayor. I applaud him for his decision and wish him all the very best. We will not need a by-election, as there is only one year left to his term and his Pro-Mayor Debbie Laporte will take his place at the MRC table.
At next week’s plenary Council of Mayors meeting, we have invited Manon Lalonde of the Ottawa River Regulation Planning Board, Dénis Belanger of Public Security, and representatives of Hydro-Quebec to answer our questions and to reassure us that all measures are being taken to prevent flooding next spring. Council will also be discussing strategies to take advantage of the current trend of people wanting to leave cities, and how the Pontiac can benefit from attracting new residents and businesses to the area.
As the holiday season approaches, I would like to ask everyone to consider doing their Christmas shopping locally. Supporting our small businesses is now more important than ever, and the Pontiac has a wide selection of talented local producers and artisans to choose from. I am also very happy to know that certain municipalities are making plans to host COVID-friendly Christmas Parades this year, by respecting all the social distancing and mask requirements. Despite the constraints from COVID-19, it is still so important to celebrate this wonderful season. The efforts made by these municipalities will go a long way to providing joy to the residents of the Pontiac.
I would also like to express an enormous thank you to the Municipalities of Shawville and Fort-Coulonge for hosting their reduced Remembrance Day ceremonies, and to the Pontiac Legion for placing wreaths at many of our cenotaphs. It was very important that we still had a way to honour and remember our veterans despite the pandemic. I know that the people of the Pontiac truly appreciated these gestures, and we thank you.
Some questions have been asked about the annual sale for non-payment of property taxes that was organized by the MRC in Campbell’s Bay on November 12. The annual sale is an obligation of the MRC and was originally scheduled for last May. It was postponed because of COVID-19. This sale is held annually and allows municipalities to recover their losses due to residents who have not paid their school and/or property taxes. The MRC had taken all the necessary precautions to ensure that the event could take place safely. Even though many people participated in the sale throughout the day, the maximum number of 25 people in the room was respected, and social distancing and the wearing of masks was maintained at all times. In addition, the holding of the sale in our region, which is on orange alert level, is in line with the government’s directives in this regard: “[…] The sale of immovables by public auction for non-payment of taxes is now permitted under by-law number 2020-058 of August 17, 2020 for municipalities whose territory is not covered by a specific ban on holding a public auction sale of immovables. » (https://www.quebec.ca/sante/problemes-de-sante/a-z/coronavirus-2019/reponses-questions-coronavirus-covid19/questions-reponses-municipalites-covid-19/)
You can continue to look for daily updates on my Warden Jane Toller Facebook page or listen to my weekly addresses on CHIP FM Radio. Please keep the health of the Pontiac in your thoughts and prayers. Together Pontiac!