MRC warden hosts first agriculture-focused town hall

CALEB NICKERSON
CAMPBELL’S BAY
June 4, 2018
On June 4, MRC Pontiac Warden Jane Toller kicked off her series of public engagement tours with a town hall meeting on agriculture at the R.A. Hall in Campbell’s Bay, with around 30 farmers and stakeholders turning out. This is the second such town hall she’s hosted, with one concerning the local forestry industry taking place back in January.
She started off by saying that her gusto for town hall meetings comes from her time on Toronto City Council, where she found them to be incredibly useful.
She then gave an overview of the recent request by the MRC to the province for $2 million and a special status for agriculture. She explained that the special status and funding would mimic a similar program that used to be in place in the region. The request features 13 proposals covering everything from solutions to drainage issues to clearing up the red tape around farm successions.
She also spoke of an opportunity for local farmers to grow mustard, due to the proximity of a company in Gatineau that uses the seeds to create biofuel.
Allumettes Island farmer David Gillespie gave a brief overview of the Canadian-American Exchange, or CANAMEX project he has been working on in collaboration with stakeholders in Montérégie Que., and the U.S. The project is looking to create an agri-tourism route that stretches from Vermont and New York State up to Southern Quebec.
He was excited at the rate the project was coming along and said the route would be the first of its kind. In November, Gillespie and his compatriots from the project will attend the World Congress in Agritourism in Italy.

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