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Province rejects counties council decision


years when the UCPR was doing a required review and revision of its OP. Pierre Bernard, owner/operator of PB Paving & Landscaping in Plantagenet, had proposed developing an asphalt paving plant in the escarpment area. Opposition to the proposal resulted in a 400-signature petition to the counties fromarea residents plus an organized billboard signage protest campaign. Counties council, when it approved the revised OP last spring, voted to remove the escarpment area from the plan as an aggregate resource site. The OP was then forwarded to the ministry for final review and approval. Alfred-Plantagenet mayor Fernand Di- caire will bring the matter before township council for discussion and decision on the municipality’s next action. While transportation infrastructure was a common issue MP Francis Drouin heard about during his pre-budget consultation meetings, two other concerns also domi- nated. Robert Laplante, spokesman for the Village d’antan heritage village project in Saint-Albert, described the 417 Highway as “a tourism route” for many communities in the Prescott-Russell region, drawing in visitors to Calypso Park in Limoges, the St- Albert Cheese Factory in Saint-Albert, and other regional attractions. One issue comingout of both theRockland roundtable session and those inHawkesbury and Casselman was support for the agricul- ture sector, which makes up a large part of the economy for several municipalities in the riding. Drouin heard concerns regar- ding the TransPacific Partnership (TPP), an international trade agreement that the previous Harper Conservative government supported and agreed to in principle prior to the federal election. The TPP still has to get parliamentary approval, and the Cana- dian farming sector has expressed concern about the impact of the TPP on both local and export markets fromCanadian produce and meats. During the Casselman session, there was discussion on the guidelines used in the selection process for federal grants for infrastructure and development projects and whether or not some communities were shut out of the process because of their munici- pal debt situations or because of their rural demographic profile. Tourism and farming for fed budget

Themayors on counties council said “No” but the provincial government says “Yes” to the possibility of an asphalt plant project in the Jessup’s Falls Escarpment. The United Counties of Prescott-Russell (UCPR) has received verbal notice from the Ministry of Natural Resources that the Official Plan (OP) for the counties will in- clude the escarpment area as an approved potential aggregate sources site. Written confirmation of the ministry’s decision is expected later. The decisionmay reopen a controversial subject that carried on through the past four

Counties council must now deal with the results of the provincial government overturning its decision on the Official Plan. – photo Gregg Chamberlain

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