Friday, July 12, 2024
Highlights 2News

Year in Review - March and April

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

March

Owner warned over English Facebook posts
The owner of Boutique Shawville Shooz, Jill McBane, received a warning letter from Quebec’s French language authority, the Office québécois de la langue française (OQLF), after publishing English-only posts on her store’s Facebook page.
The letter notified McBane that the OQFL had received a complaint that her business was making posts on the store’s Facebook page without including a French equivalent.
“I have a lot of French customers, and quite frankly, they are my best customers. And we have absolutely no problem communicating at all,” McBane said.

Centuries-old trees felled in Fort Coulonge
Five healthy, historic white pines were cut down in Fort Coulonge, located along what is known as the “Allée des Manoirs.” The removal of the trees was controversial for some, as the pines were between 200 and 300 years old. White pines are considered historically significant in the Pontiac due to their association with the forestry industry. Municipal representatives said the trees were being cut down to protect the sewer system that runs under the street in front of where the trees stood. Members of the public were not consulted.

Snowmobile Races return to Fort Coulonge
The 25th edition of the Snowmobile Races was held in Fort Coulonge. Over 500 people attended the event that was put on hiatus since 2020 due to the pandemic. The race was billed as a fundraiser for the arena and saw snowmobilists and spectators attend from across the Pontiac and beyond.

Hydro-Québec explains outages
Hydro-Québec (HQ) presented its preliminary analysis of the causes of the power outage that occurred in February, causing some residents of the upper Pontiac to go without power for 30 hours. “The Waltham Station is synchronized with Ontario, meaning that every time there are disruptions on the Ontario grid, it has an impact on the distribution of electricity to our customers,” Alain Paquette, an HQ communications person for the region told THE EQUITY, comparing failure in one part of the system to a game of dominos in the way it impacts the rest of the system.

Over $2.5 million for Pontiac vitalization
Politicians, municipal leaders, business owners and community groups gathered to officially announce the disbursement of over $2.5 million for the development of vitalization projects in the MRC Pontiac. In total, 29 projects across the region received $2,623,469.64. The announcement was held in the Bryson Lion’s Hall. “I am convinced that these projects will have a very positive effect on the quality of life of our citizens and that they will help attract new residents and businesses to our region,” said MRC Pontiac warden Jane Toller.

MP Chatel advocates for rural healthcare
Member of Parliament for Pontiac Sophie Chatel wrote a letter to provincial Minister of Health, Jean-Yves Duclos, advocating for improved access to healthcare for Canadians living in rural and remote communities. According to Chatel, “regional services are often limited, with fewer physicians and other health care professionals living and working in rural communities.”

Metal health resourses for farmers
The Canadian Agricultural Safety Association (CASA) announced the launch of a new online mental health and farm safety resource. A press release described the resource as an online hub for “farmers, farm families, farm workers and farming communities” to access resources relating to mental health and farm safety. Andrea Lear, CEO of CASA, said that the health of those who work on farms is essential to keeping farms themselves safe and sustainable.

Gavan’s St. Patrick Party returns
Gavan’s held its traditional Saint Patrick’s Day party which saw at least 350 people, mostly dressed in green, come through the doors of the historic Gavan’s Hotel. This was the first St. Patrick’s Day event hosted by new owner Jim Cain of Quyon’s Cain family, who bought the venue with a vision to return it to the magnetic hub he knew it to be in his childhood.

SQ arrest man for hit-and-run
Sûreté du Québec officers responded to a hit-and-run incident where, according to an SQ press release, a drunk driver deliberately hit a man driving a mobility scooter on chemin Grand Marais in Mansfield and Pontefract. The victim was transported to a hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries. The suspect was due to appear in court under nine charges.
Local wins national wrestling competition
Campbell’s Bay native Geneviève Morrison won the gold medal at Canadian Wrestling Championship in the women’s 50 kg category after coming out of a seven-year retirement. The comeback story started in 2016 when Morrison retired from her position as an alternate on Canada’s women’s Olympic wrestling team.

DG of Western Quebec School Board to retire
After six years as Director General of the Western Quebec School Board, Mike Dubeau announced his retirement. Dubeau started his career working as a teacher for what was then known as the Pontiac School Board. After becoming a school administrator in 1998, he transferred to board level administrator in 2008.

Sales scam targets people featured in THE EQUITY
Several local residents contacted THE EQUITY to notify us that a company was pretending to be affiliated with
THE EQUITY in an attempt to sell them a copy of an article they were featured in, mounted on a plaque. Research conducted by THE EQUITY’s Liz Draper revealed that Robert Roscoe, identified as the company’s founder and CEO, had been a subscriber to this newspaper since 2021, presumably for the purpose of identifying sales targets for his company. His subscription was quickly terminated.

U18 Comets secure championship
The Fort Coulonge Midget (U18) Comets, many playing in their final game of minor hockey, had the biggest win of their lives in March, defeating the Renfrew Timberwolves in the third and deciding game of the Upper Ottawa Valley Minor Hockey League’s Midget playoffs. The win marked them the A-division champions. The Comets finished third out of 13 teams in the regular season with a record of 13-5-2, just behind Arnprior and the team they would eventually meet in the finals, Renfrew.

New mayor of Campbell’s Bay
Raymond Pilon became mayor of Campbell’s Bay after being the only candidate to register in the by-election. Pilon will serve as a term mayor until the 2025 Quebec municipal elections, where he will have to run again to continue in the position. In those two and a half years, Pilon stated that the revitalization of downtown Campbell’s Bay will be his top priority.

April

Highway 148 collision leaves 1 dead
A collision east of Shawville on Highway 148 resulted in the death of a 55-year-old woman on Apr. 3. According to police, the collision was the result of a westbound vehicle losing control while navigating a curve and drifting into a vehicle traveling the opposite direction. The driver of the vehicle that lost control was sent to hospital, where she was pronounced dead. The deceased was identified by police as Roxanne Cadieux from Quyon. The occupants of the other vehicle, one driver and one passenger, were also sent to hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

The Flying Elbows hockey tournament
The Flying Elbows Hockey tournament returned to the Shawville arena. Sixteen teams across two divisions competed in the annual charity hockey showdown. Hockey players from all over the Pontiac, the Ottawa Valley, Ottawa, and beyond were at the arena to play for bragging rights. The Danford Lakers won the A division final after a comeback victory against the Micksburg Bulls. The Benders won the final in the B Division, beating the Puck Pirates 4-0 for the Bryan Murray Memorial Trophy.

Ice storm leaves Pontiac in the dark
The biggest ice storm to hit the region since 1998 left thousands of homes and businesses across the Pontiac and beyond without electricity over the Easter long weekend. The ice storm, which occurred most of the day Apr. 5, brought high winds that disabled much of the province’s energy infrastructure. At the outage’s peak on Apr. 6, 117,821 out of 226,921 HQ customers in the Outaouais were without power. Bristol, Otter Lake, most of Clarendon, Quyon, Portage du Fort and more went more than five days straight without power.

Scooters Bar & Grill celebrates grand opening
Things came full circle for Scott Gauthier and Angela Davis, the owners of Otter Lake’s newest eatery, Scooters Bar & Grill. After months renovating the building at 362 Martineau Avenue, that had once held the Le P’tit Bar, retrofitting the venue with a new kitchen and overhauling its interior to better fit with a sports bar aesthetic, the couple opened the restaurant on Apr. 2. The crazy thing? The couple first met there over 20 years ago.

Easter Duck Race
The Pontiac Lions Club held its much anticipated Easter Duck Race event in Campbell’s Bay. An annual fundraiser for the club, the event consisted of 500 plastic ducks being released into the recently thawed water of Lunam’s creek. Each duck corresponded to a ticket number that had been purchased prior to the event, and prizes were awarded to the ticket holders of the first, second and third ducks to cross the finish line.
School bus drivers set to strike
Pontiac school bus drivers voted to go on strike sometime during the first week of May. Tara Betts, the delegate for the Autobus La Salle union that represents the drivers said 97 per cent of members present at the vote were in favour of a strike. Drivers for Autobus La Salle take students to various schools across the Pontiac and beyond.

Swisha lumber mill reopens
Commonwealth Plywood held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the reopening of its mill in Rapides-des-Joachims. The mill had been closed for over a decade before returning to operations last January, and was the first lumber mill to reopen in the Pontiac in over a decade.

Vehicle crashes through Otter Lake storefront
A car crashed through the front window of Beauchamp Service’s gas station in Otter Lake on Apr. 22. Police said the driver was trying to hit a woman that was in the vicinity of the storefront, missed and inadvertently ran their car into the storefront. After the vehicle struck the building, the driver got out of the vehicle and an altercation occurred between the driver and the intended victim. The driver fled the scene and was quickly apprehended. She was later released by police, who said she would likely face charges relating to assault with a weapon and fleeing the scene.

A history of local farming
The Pontiac Archives hosted an informal presentation on the region’s agricultural roots at the Shawville Community Lodge on Apr. 19. Moderated by farming expert Chris Judd, the presentation covered topics relating to the inception and development of agriculture within the Pontiac region. Judd’s presentation concluded with him reflecting thoughtfully on the degree to which life has changed within the Pontiac since the days of European settlement.

The end of Quyon Jamfest
After a 20-year run, the Quyon Jamfest Committee decided to disband and donate its remaining funds to community organizations. The ceremony disbursing the funds was held at the Quyon Maison de la Famille, where the Quyon Lions Club, the Quyon Community Community Association, and the Maison de la Famille each received a $2,000 cheque from the remaining funds of Jamfest’s bank account.

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