Wednesday, July 17, 2024
Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor – May 15, 2024

A night to remember?

Dear Editor,
The upcoming Pontiac MRC meeting scheduled for Wednesday, May 15 could very well be one of the most important sessions in the history of the region. Not for what might be approved, but for what, hopefully, will be rejected.
The never-ending incinerator saga that has been hanging around our collective neck for a very long time, driven by the warden, should finally be voted out of existence. Doing so (much to the chagrin of Ms. Toller, I’m sure) will relieve the Pontiac of not only a potential billion-dollar boondoggle, but also of the environmental and health concerns that would have gone along with forever burning thousands of tons of other people’s garbage in our backyard.
Thanks to many dedicated people who have actively campaigned against the scheme, and aided recently by the MRC’s poorly executed business plan and information meetings, the majority of mayors and councils have rescinded their original support of the scheme. What’s surprising and appalling is how little information they seem to have been given about the scope of the project before they were asked to support it.
The pushback from Pontiac residents has been incredible, and should serve as a great textbook example of what can happen when politicians get elected, and then choose to ignore the wishes of their constituents.
There are a lot of good and well-meaning councillors and mayors across the Pontiac. If the MRC overwhelmingly moves to reject the incinerator plan permanently on Wednesday night, a lot of political careers may be saved. However, the warden has done irreparable damage to her political future over the past year. She will need to fast-track those often-repeated and well-worn election promises and re-open a lot of sawmills and get that pool opened up fast to redeem herself for the excruciating fiasco of the incinerator that we have been put through.
Let’s keep our fingers crossed for Wednesday night.

Gerry Bimm, Otter Lake

Thank you, Corey

Dear Editor,
I am writing to thank Corey Spence, mayor of L’Isle-aux-Allumettes, for accepting the request of 16 other mayors and, particularly, the warden of MRC Pontiac to take the lead in presenting publicly the results of the initial business plan regarding the EFW project, as prepared by Deloitte and Ramboll.
Where controversial issues evoke strong emotions and differing opinions, it takes a person of great character and integrity to step forward to communicate to the masses. Mayor Spence accepted the challenge and responsibility knowing the controversy surrounding this project. His willingness to take on the task of presenting at five separate town hall sessions, despite the challenges and criticisms, is commendable.
Even though our municipal council has voted unanimously to adopt a motion to rescind our original support of the incineration project in the Pontiac, Mayor Spence continues to demonstrate strong leadership, professionalism, personal integrity, and respect. We thank you for your ongoing commitment and your courage in tackling the tough issues.

Nancy Mcguire, Councillor, L’Isle-aux-Allumettes

Open letter to Warden Toller: Rallying cry for fair taxes

Dear Warden Toller,
I am writing on behalf of the residents of Alleyn and Cawood with urgency and determination. The recent decision to increase property tax assessments by an egregious 370 per cent has ignited a firestorm of outrage within our community at the last council meeting, and I refuse to remain silent in the face of such injustice.
I’ve heard all the mumbo jumbo of how property assessments are calculated, and how complicated the process is, and while I accept that as fact, nothing justifies a 370 per cent increase that will only serve to impoverish the community.
Let me be unequivocal: The decision by the MRC to impose this increase is not justifiable, nor is it the product of sound judgment no matter what anyone says. The arbitrary escalation in property taxes, purportedly based on the success of a single property transaction by the developers of Dreamy Estates in buying and severing one large parcel of land, reflects a staggering lack of competence on the part of the assessor tasked with determining fair taxation. To attribute such a drastic hike to the actions of two opportunistic Toronto developers is not only shortsighted but a blatant disregard for the realities faced by hardworking families and retirees that grew up and built the community. The assessments are not at all reflective of the value of their homes, and nobody has the means to pay for this, especially during the affordability crisis that is affecting Canadians.
To add insult to injury, we know that what befalls Alleyn and Cawood today will befall the 17 other communities that make up the MRC Pontiac region tomorrow. At the recent council meeting, the community demanded that a taskforce be created to fight this decision. The members are now in full force and, make no mistake, I pledge my unwavering solidarity with my neighbours and vow to stand shoulder to shoulder in defiance of any attempt to impose this unjust taxation to line the coffers of the MRC Pontiac.
Warden Toller, we will demand accountability. We will demand transparency. We will demand leadership that prioritizes the well-being of the people of Alleyn and Cawood above all else. This is a reminder that your election to office was not a mandate to inflict undue hardship upon the very constituents you were chosen to serve.
Know this: The residents of Alleyn and Cawood will not yield to tyranny masquerading as governance. We will rally, we will organize, and we will fight alongside our fellow Pontiac communities until justice prevails.

Julie Vaux, on behalf of the resolute
residents of Alleyn and Cawood

Unacceptable tax hike

Dear Editor,
With no warning, it came as a surprise to me that my latest property tax assessment from the Municipality of Alleyn and Cawood is destined to rise by 370 per cent in 2025.
At my first municipal council meeting last week, the 80 or more residents heard that the council knew about this proposal in December 2023. It was a small group who found out about this shocking act and let the rest of the municipality in on the secret.
The community also found out at the May council meeting that the shares paid by Alleyn and Cawood to MRC Pontiac have already had the 370 per cent increase applied, rising from $112,000 to $290,000 this year. This is money taken out of the municipality with very little information on what services or infrastructure will be coming back. Maybe the payments will stay in the MRC’s bank account and not see their way back to Alleyn and Cawood.
These types of increases are mind-boggling and leave little time for residents of Alleyn and Cawood to prepare financially for this higher tax rate. We are in the midst of an affordability crisis - food, mortgages and gasoline have all increased faster than anyone’s pay cheque, except the MNA’s in Quebec City.
It’s time for the Minister of Municipal Affairs, Andrée Laforest, to get involved and explain to our community why her employees are preparing to approve this gigantic increase recommended by the MRC.

Neil Brodie, Danford Lake

Oh, Hooley night

Dear Editor,
Last Friday, as the regulars assembled for the weekly song circle gathering at the Anglican Church Hall, the mood was already enthusiastic, audience seats were three quarters full and we all felt that a good evening was before us. Then the community overdrive set in, as members of the Pontiac Youth Council came in, and the energy level jumped up. Among them were some I recognized as having played significant roles in the high school play three weeks ago, and one who had worked at the Pontiac Museum for two summers.
My mind was revving up, trying to put together who these young people were, whom I’d seen in other settings, and who were their parents, and all the things that go into making a feeling of community continuity. We all had to up our musical game, as the youngsters joined in the circle, with extraordinary talent obvious all around them. Some of the Hooley regulars formed a dance circle, joined by the youths and Warden Toller, the dancing started, it all took off, the energy was electric. We had to play our best.
My conclusion: these young people will take good care of the world, when we oldsters get too tired to do the job. The future’s going to be alright.

Robert Wills, Shawville and Thorne

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