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result of several months of consultation and planning by the UCPR, in partnership with its eight-member municipalities, with chambers of commerce and other local and regional agencies involved in economic and business development and support. It also includes the results of two surveys that polled local and regional businesses about the impact of COVID-19 on their operations. The recovery plan priorities outlined in the report include business support, promoting a “shop local” attitude among residents, encouraging a stronger local presence in the “digital marketplace,” encouraging local businesses to become more adaptable in their operations, regular and constant review of economic planning strategies, promoting a regional workforce, and restoring consumer and tourist confi- dence in the area. “The impacts of COVID-19 on the re- gion’s businesses are undeniable,” state Pierre Leroux, UCPR warden, “and being the economic drivers of our communities that play an important role in our recovery, it is more important than ever to support them.”

The Prescott-Russell region has its own official economic recovery plan now. Carole Lavigne, economic development and tourism director for the United Counties of Prescott-Russell (UCPR), announced the Prescott-Russell COVID-19 Response and Economic Recovery Plan (RERP). The 14-page document outlines the strategy that the UCPR and its eight-member munici- palities can use to help local and regional economies recover from the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic. “At the beginning of the crisis,” Lavigne stated, “the objective was to limit the eco- nomic impacts related to COVID-19. Now, to ensure economic recovery and to allow our businesses to restart safely, we are supporting and encouraging them to adapt to new realities and innovations to ensure their longer-term resilience.” Lavigne presented the document August 26 to the UCPR economic development and tourism committee. The RERP is the

The Ontario government has its restart strategy to guide the province in recovering from the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now the United Counties of Prescott-Russell has an economic recovery plan with a more regional focus. —stock photo




genet Township public works staff have also shut off the water-supply system for Denis St-Pierre Park splash pad for the duration of the ban. The ban on out- door water use is to make sure that the drinking water supply is not af- fected during the

project could be put to other related trans- portation needs. “Five months is not enough time to evaluate the success of the project,” said Vaillancourt, adding that UCPR council should allow the regional transit project to continue operations after the pandemic situation has ended. Regional transit goals i8IBUJTUIFHPBMPGUIJTQSPKFDU uTBJE 8BSEFO1JFSSF-FSPVY BEEJOHIF JTOPU against PR Transpo. “My only worry is we EPOUIBWFBUBSHFU8FIBWFBHPBM CVUOPU BUBSHFU8FSFTIPPUJOHCMJOEu Alfred-Plantagenet Township Mayor Sté-


An outdoor water ban for the Village of Wendover means homeowners there have to depend on the rain for a while to water their lawns. The inside of the village water tower is getting a makeover, which also involves SFQBJOUJOHUIFJOTJEFPGUIFTUSVDUVSF8IJMF the work is in progress, there is a complete ban on any outdoor use of the municipal water system until September 28. The ban includes filling swimming pools, watering lawns, trees, shrubs, and flowers, washing vehicles, washing outdoor siding and windows, washing driveways, and use of any water toys, including water slides and children’s play sprinklers.

The future existence of PR Transpo is still in doubt but the regional public transit has a new champion willing to fight on its behalf. Representatives for Centraide/United 8BZPG1SFTDPUU3VTTFMMQMFBEFEXJUINFN - bers of the United Counties of Prescott- Russell council (UCPR) during their August 26 teleconference session to set aside any thoughts about cancelling the regional public transit project. Anne Jutras and Denis Vail- lancourt argued that PR Transpo has great potential benefit for seniors and rural residents in the area who may not have other means of transporta- tion for doing grocery shopping, going to medical appointments, or dealing with other errands. “Many residents of Prescott-Russell have no vehicle or are in a vulnerable situation, and could take advantage of this service,” said Jutras. “For many, the pandemic has increased their vulnerability.” PR Transpo was created as part of a provincial government-sponsored pilot project to develop rural public transit systems in areas of Ontario where public transit did not exist. The provincial support funding covers a four-year operation period. The goal was to see if ridership numbers proved high enough at the end of the project period to interest a private sector operator in taking over the service. PR Transpo began operation October 2019 but had to shut down after five months because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Dur- ing the past few months at UCPR council, there has been talk about whether or not to suspend PR Transpo and ask the provincial government if the funding provided for the

water tower refit work. The municipality XJMMBMFSU8FOEPWFSWJMMBHFSFTJEFOUTXIFO the ban is lifted.

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phane Sarrazin noted that the provincial government provided the money for the regional transit project. He agreed that PR Transpo should at least operate for a full year to provide a “proper evaluation” of its use and success. “I’ve spoken to many people,” he said, “who say they would be willing to use it at least two or three times a month.” Mayor Normand Riopel of Champlain Township and Mayor Paula Assaly of Hawkes- bury both supported Sarrazin’s position. 8BSEFO-FSPVYOPUFEUIBUUIF135SBOTQP situation will come up for review again during a future UCPR council session.

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