Wednesday, July 17, 2024
Highlights 2News

The Year in Review

September

John Chancey celebrates 100
Long-time Norway Bay cottager John Chancey turned 100 years old and celebrated with a birthday bash on his deck in Norway Bay.
Asked the cliché question about the source of his longevity, he responded with a smile “Clean living. I’ve never been in jail.”

Shawville Fair
Labour Day weekend saw another successful Shawville Fair come and go. As fair goer and longtime Shawville resident Mary McDowell Wood put it, “It seems that technology wants to tear us apart, and I’m so glad that this fair brings us together.”

Firemen quit MoP
Two volunteer firefighters resigned from the Municipality of Pontiac fire brigade over what they viewed as an unfair hiring procedure. According to the former firefighters, a woman who applied for a position on the brigade was recommended by the hiring committee for approval by council only to have her name removed from the list of selected candidates at the last minute under what they believed were questionable circumstances. One of the firefighters who resigned is the applicant’s husband and the other is her friend. In bringing the matter to THE EQUITY, all three requested their names be withheld.

Fort Coulonge to pay up
Two dozen Fort Coulonge residents showed up to a council meeting to pressure the municipality to pay a Mansfield business owner for maintenance services and equipment he had provided to the town. In 2020, Joel Romain invoiced the town for services dating back to 2014. The town argued that it was not obliged to pay invoices that were more than three years old.

Chat Falls dig
The public was invited to an archaeological dig at the site of the Chat Falls hydro dam in Quyon. The river where the dam sits near Quyon used to be home to large waterfalls, and so was the site of a major portage and trading post for Indigenous and settler travelers. The site was later developed by lumber barons such as Ruggles Wright and John Egan, the latter being credited with founding the town of Quyon.

Pontiac Pride at Esprit Rafting
Pontiac Pride’s community festival was held at the Esprit Rafting grounds. It featured a drag show, after which the performers took a ride in a canoe, as well as booths from vendors and community support groups. The event happened a few months later than originally planned after the organizing committee had a hard time finding a secure location.

PHS gets new principal
THE EQUITY spoke with Dr. Terry Burns about his ambitions in his new role as principal of Pontiac High School. “Number one would be making sure that the maximum number of students are successful in obtaining their high school diplomas,” Burns said at the time. “What we have to do is teach skills that can be used across vocational, academic and professional life.”

Rapides-des-Joachims mayor passes away
Doug Rousselle, the Mayor of Rapides-des-Joachims, passed away on Sept. 11 at the age of 73 after a battle with cancer. Rousselle was elected mayor of Pontiac’s western-most municipality in Nov. 2021. According to MRC Pontiac Warden Jane Toller, Rousselle “was a strong advocate on many issues, including forestry, public safety, and economic revitalization. Even during his illness, Doug contributed to the work of the various committees and councils on which he sat, never missing a meeting.”

Traveling fair
The Friends of St-Joseph’s Manor retirement community held its fourth annual Fair Day event in Campbell’s Bay. Members of the Shawville 4-H Club brought the thrills of a county fair right to the doorstep of the St-Joseph’s Manor for residents to enjoy, including their livestock and some of the projects they have been working on throughout the year.

Wool for the garden
Luskville business Leystone Farms created a new gardening product from discarded sheep wool. The wool pellets can be used to fertilize, conserve soil moisture in the garden, and repel pests. Owners Karri and Trefor Munn-Venn said the idea came about after seeing the amount of wool wasted in the husbandry of sheep.

Regional food processing plant
The MRC Pontiac hosted three community sessions where it presented the idea of a regional agrifood processing operation that would provide local producers with access to a commercial kitchen and a space where they could process and package their products.

October

Annual Oktoberfest
Ladysmith’s annual Oktoberfest celebrations brought out the masses over the last weekend of September. Festivities included live music, a parade, horseshoe games, face painting, lumberjack demonstrations, and a spread of German-themed snacks and refreshments.

National day of Reconciliation
The Pontiac Native Community organized a ceremony in Mansfield’s Healing Garden to mark the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. The ceremony was organized to “reflect on the harms, injustices and intergenerational traumas that Indigenous peoples have faced and continue to face because of the residential school system, the Government of Canada and the Catholic Church,” said Lise Romain, president of the group.

Teachers vote to strike
Members of the unions representing Pontiac teachers in the French school system and Englsih school board voted in favour of a strike action should contract negotiations with the provincial government not be resolved. The union’s demands included the improvement of class composition and salaries that are in line with inflation. A press release from the union said that while Quebec offered a 9 per cent increase over five years, this is less than the province’s own forecasted inflation rate of 16.4 per cent.

Coulonge gets in trouble for filling pond
A decision by Fort Coulonge to authorize the partial filling of a pond as part of a house construction project on Proudfoot Street in 2022 had adverse effects that were brought up at an October council meeting. The pond, which had previously served as a surface water collector in the spring, was unable to contain that water, which instead overflowed and caused damage on neighbouring properties.

Coronation Hall celebrates 15 years
Coronation Hall Cider Mills celebrated its 15th anniversary by hosting the community for an old-time country dance. The dance hall, built by the MacDougall family back in the 1930s as an extension to their Pine Lodge Hotel, was subsequently renamed to celebrate the coronation of King George VI. Its revival has been nothing short of integral to the community, and the dance made that apparent in spades.

Celebrated folk musician plays LRW

Ian Tamblyn, Canadian folk music icon, played a show at the Little Red Wagon Winery. This was his fourth show at the venue in the past five years. From the first moment Tamblyn addressed the mic, he had everyone in his hands. Granted, they were likely predisposed to be so guided as almost all present were already familiar with him, his story and his artistry, and those unfamiliar were immediately charmed by his unpresuming candour.

Calumet farmers boast largest Carrots
Calumet Island’s Joan Derouin brought in two of the largest carrots she believed she had ever grown to show the team at THE EQUITY. Reaching into her reusable tote bag, Derouin pulled out two massive carrots, one 2.3 pounds and the other 1.83 pounds, and thumped them proudly on the front counter.

Volunteer shortage
Several Pontiac community groups including the Pontiac Legion, the Quyon Lionettes and TransporAction Pontiac, described a severe volunteer drought, which was concerning for them as the services they offer are largely or entirely volunteer-driven. “I think people volunteering for things is just something that is going and gone and will never come back because everyone is just too busy in their own lives,” said Mona Woodstock, secretary of the Legion.

High demand for Snowsuit fund
The fund, which provides children 13 and under with access to subsidized winter clothing, has grown considerably since its inception, with families throughout the Pontiac now using its services. “Every year since covid the demand for the fund has gone up. We have a lot more families now than we ever had,” said Lisa Daniels, executive director of Maison de la famille du Pontiac, which organizes the fundraiser.

Big money for new projects
MRC Pontiac’s regional revitalization initiative awarded a total of $2 million to 18 local development projects in the region. Each funding application was considered on the basis of whether it would bring specialized labour to the MRC, whether it would strengthen a village core, whether it would encourage community involvement, and whether it would showcase the community’s attractions, among other qualifications.

New multi-sport court for PHS
Pontiac High School (PHS) celebrated the official completion of its new multi-sport court project. “You can actually play tennis, pickleball, badminton, volleyball, basketball and road hockey all on the same court now,” said Darcy Findlay, the school’s physical education teacher and one of the project’s key organizers. He said the court was intended to be open to the whole community.

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