Saturday, July 13, 2024
Highlights 2News

Over the next few weeks we we will reviewing events that affected us here in the Pontiac, in THE EQUITY’S 2023 Year in Review

May

Bus drivers strike
School bus drivers in the Pontiac working for bus company Autobus Lasalle hit the picket lines on May 1, demanding better pay and working conditions.
The company services the Portages-de-l’Outaouais and Hauts-Boisde-l’Outaouais school service centres, and the Western Quebec School Board, so the strike affected students across the Pontiac region.
At the time of the strike, drivers were earning $23 an hour for a 20-hour work week. The union was asking for a raise to $27 an hour.

Paragliding accident
A man paragliding over the Gatineau Park cliffs near Luskville was severely injured in an accident.
An officer and two local teens, siblings Rae and Tait Becke who live on Venturing Hills Farm, were first to respond to the accident.
“The police said they needed to get up to him as quickly as possible, and that they did not know the trail or the area that well so my dad asked if I could take them up the mountain.” Rae said.
First responders determined the man could not be evacuated down the cliff on foot, so instead called in a helicopter from Sûreté du Québec and successfully evacuated and brought the man to a Gatineau hospital after four hours.

Jesus Christ Superstar at PHS
Forty-two Pontiac High School students put on the rock-opera Jesus Christ Superstar, with the leadership of PHS theatre teacher Phil Holmes.
The bulk of the heavy-lifting fell to the roles of Jesus, Judas, Mary Magdalene, Caiaphas and Annas played respectively by Ollie Côte, Vasiliauskas, Amy-Lynn Moffitt, Laura Graham and Ruby Maloney. They accounted for contributions to all but three of the 23 songs over the two acts making up the show, performed against a backdrop of a stage covered in graffiti.

Third spring flood in six years
After a week of heavy rain, flooding hit a high point for 2023 on May 5, with many property owners in the Pontiac being flooded or cut off due to road closures. Mansfield General Manager Eric Rochon reported that as of May 8, 171 properties were either flooded or isolated by road closures due to flooding. L’Isle-aux-Allumettes Director General Alicia Jones reported that 105 properties were affected by the flooding, with 64 properties isolated and at risk. Several properties in Fort Coulonge were affected or put at risk, with Centennial Park being completely submerged. Other riverside communities were also impacted.

Coronation Hall celebrates coronation
Bristol’s aptly named Coronation Hall celebrated the crowning of Canada’s new head of state, King Charles III, on May 6. Charles III was the third monarch to be honoured at Coronation Hall, with the venue also historically holding occasions marking the accessions of George VI in 1937 and Elizabeth II in 1953. Greg Graham, host of the event, said that while the crown does hold a lot of civic importance for Canada, ultimately the coronation makes for a good excuse to have a party.

RCMP Musical Ride in Bryson
Large and enthusiastic crowds gathered in Bryson on May 13 for the acclaimed and much anticipated Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Musical Ride. As the riders and their horses entered, they were met with resounding applause, commanding the audience’s attention with their dazzling displays of coordination and pomp. The event, held at Lion’s Park, was a historic celebration of both the town of Bryson and the RCMP’s shared 150th anniversaries.

New plans for Otter Lake RA
The Municipality of Otter Lake held a public meeting to reveal their plans for numerous upgrades to the Otter Lake Recreation Association (RA) grounds at the Raymond Johnston Community Centre. The announced upgrades included adding paved entrances, more parking areas, boat dock access to the grounds, butterfly gardens, a roof for the outdoor skating rink, an extension to the walking trail, a gazebo with seating near the lake, vendor stalls for artisans, a multi-use municipal building, a possible spot for a daycare, pending government approval, and finally, a splash pad.

Hospital to expand oncology services
The Pontiac Community Hospital Foundation announced it had raised over $30,000 to expand the oncology facilities at the Pontiac Hospital. The new facilities will include a more spacious environment to treat cancer patients close to home.

Esprit Rafting owner celebrates 40 years on the Ottawa River
Founder and owner of Esprit Rafting Jim Coffey celebrated 40 years of living and working along the mighty waters of the Ottawa River. Coffey has for decades been at the forefront of adventure tourism within the Pontiac, and has been a key player in developing the Ottawa River basin into a global whitewater nexus.

June

Forest fires
At the beginning of June, five forest fires were burning in the MRC Pontiac. While three of the five fires were considered “smaller”, two are larger and cause for concern, MRC Pontiac Public Security Coordinator Julien Gagnon said at the time. The larger fires were located near kilometre 114 of Bois-Franc Road, commonly referred to as Jim’s Lake Road, and the eastern most corner of the MRC, just south of the ZEC Pontiac.

THE EQUITY celebrates 140 years
June 7 marked 140 years since
THE EQUITY published its first issue. To celebrate the occasion, we put together a special 140th anniversary supplement which chronicled some of the changes in terms of where, how and by whom this newspaper has been put together over the years.

First Nations reject nuclear waste disposal proposal
Two First Nations in the Ottawa area concluded they did not consent to the construction of a facility for disposing of low-level radioactive waste at the Chalk River nuclear research station, on unceded Algonquin territory. The decision from Kebaowek First Nation and Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation was the product of almost a year of studying the plans for the proposed facility to evaluate what impacts it would have on the environment and their constitutionally protected aboriginal and treaty rights.

Fatal Police shooting in Clarendon
According to a report released by the Bureau des enquêtes indépendates (BEI), around 11:00 a.m. on June 5, a call was made to the Sûreté du Québec regarding a reported family dispute. After police arrived, an incident ensued, and an individual allegedly pointed a gun at police. One police officer allegedly drew their firearm and fired at the individual who then “fell inside the shed”, the BEI report continued. The person was later pronounced dead. Police would not comment further on the incident, as an investigation was ongoing.

Bristol seniors recognized for community service
In a ceremony at the Jack Graham Community Centre, Bristol Mayor Brent Orr presented awards on behalf of the Lieutenant Governor of Quebec to Bristol residents Peter Haughton and Nora Bailey Findlay in recognition of their many years of outstanding community service.
Asked how it felt to receive the award, Mrs. Findlay said with a laugh, “I’d rather it was somebody else. I like to do things, I don’t like to be the centre of attention.” For his part, Mr. Haughton said “I feel honoured, for sure, but at the same time, there are so many people that help you. And when you’re in different organizations, it doesn’t just fall on one person, it’s the group.”

Warden Toller pitches waste incinerator
Fifteen people attended a public information session convened by MRC Pontiac Warden Jane Toller in Shawville where she made the case for an energy-from-waste project she is proposing for the Pontiac. In her 40-minute presentation, the warden described a plan that would see 395,000 tons of garbage trucked to the Pontiac each year from nearby urban areas on both sides of the Ottawa River for incineration in a $450 million facility located by the Ottawa River on the former Smurfit-Stone site in Litchfield.

Bus driver strike ends
School bus drivers from the Local 106 of the Teamsters Union agreed to an offer from their employer, Autobus Lasalle, that ended the drivers strike in the MRC Pontiac that began on May 1. Drivers with the Local 106 approved Autobus Lasalle’s offer by 81 percent. The deal included a wage increase of $26 an hour. Prior to the strike, drivers were receiving under $22 an hour.

Mansfield roadside restroom
Work began for a new, state-of-the art restroom facility beside Highway 148 near the Marchand covered bridge in Mansfield. This washroom installation was described by its manufacturer as “intelligent, self-cleaning and vandal-proof.” This facility is one component of a larger outdoor rest area that will feature picnic tables, a one hundred-metre illuminated trail with an art display space along the Coulonge River, an electric car charging station and an exercise facility where travellers can stretch.