Lots of attention for mayors but no promises at OGRA conference Prescott-Russell

Fire protection service was also one of the main issues that Alfred-Plantagenet Mayor Jean-Yves Lalonde brought up during his meetings with ministers during OGRA. “We showed that everything was in order,” Lalonde said, adding that he was able to alsomeet withOntario’s deputy fire marshall while at the conference. “He gave us an A+ mark on what we were doing.” Overall, St-Amour described the atmosphere at the OGRA conference as “very sombre” given the fiscal restraint demands and plans now for senior government. “Whenwe got there,” he said, “we knew there weren’t going to be a lot of (funding) promises made.” Vars meeting rescheduled Vars The Vars Community Association will not hold its March meeting as planned. The next meeting for the community groupwill take place April 19, 7 p.m., at the Vars community fire hall.

SPÉCIALISTES EN DÉCORATION DE FENÊTRES DANNY & SANDRA DÉCOR Clarence-Rockland Mayor Marcel Guibordreportedtocouncilatthestartofits March 12 session that he lobbied Meilleur for help with the city’s plans for expanding and upgrading its Rockland fire station, plus meeting with Tourism Minister Michael Chan about the Festival d’Outaouais that the city plans to set up as a joint tourism project with the Town of Hawkesbury. innovation fund was refused,” St-Amour said. “I asked why. They just said it did not meet the criteria, and I was told to check the (provincial) website for those projects that did qualify.” St-Amour noted that the proposal for Limoges’ expanded sewage treatment system is a mechanical one based on a European design that uses lesswater, rather than the traditional settling pond lagoon- style typical in North America. He thinks that may be one reason why the innovation fund application was turned down, but he added that will not stop the municipality from going ahead with plans for a needed expansion and upgrade of the sewer-and- water system in Limoges. “We’re still going ahead,” he said. “But it is back to the drawing board.”

The ministers for transportation and community safety proved the most popular for many mayors and other delegates at an annual municipal conference in Toronto this spring. Community Safety Minister Madeleine Meilleur and Transportation Minister Bob Chiarelli were two names on the “must see” list of all the officials from Prescott- Russell. François St-Amour, doing double-duty as both mayor of The Nation and this year’s warden for the United Counties of Prescott-Russell, made a point of following up with the ministers several points that he and other Eastern Ontario wardens had made to Economic Development Minister Brad Duguid during a recent meeting in Rockland. “We stressed that the need for the Eas- tern Ontario Development Fund (EODF),” St-Amour said during a phone interview, “and some of the points we made in Rockland about modifying it.” The Eastern Ontario Wardens Caucus (EOWC), when it met with Duguid in Rockland, presented the minister with ideas for making the EODF more accessi- ble to more small businesses in the region. The main point was to change the applica- tion guidelines so that “mom-and-pop” businesses with five or fewer employees might become eligible for help through the fund. Right now the EODF is available just to businesses that have a minimum of 10 employees. The Ontario Good Roads Association (OGRA)conventionisoneofthetop-priority gatherings that all municipal councils in the province make a point of never missing if they can help it. Along with the Associa-


tion of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO), and its rural counterpart, the OGRA conference is one of the best opportunities for mayors and councillors and their chief executive officers to get some one-to-one discussion time, even if just for a fewminu- tes, with provincial and sometimes federal ministers, or their key senior staff. The Nation did not have its own designateddelegationattendingOGRAthis year but as both warden and mayor St- Amourpursuedoneimportantissuerelated to his municipality. He talked to municipal affairs and infrastructure officials about the application for sewer and water upgrading assistance for the village of Li- moges, which is experiencing a boom in housing developments. “Our application for the (infrastructure)

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