Gaston Allard tendered his resignation as mayor of the municipality of Fort-Coulonge last Wednesday (November 11). His resignation takes effect immediately. While citing personal and professional reasons, Gaston Allard considers his time as mayor as a personal failure.
“There were easier times, but I set myself higher goals. There were certainly good things but from a personal point of view it was a failure. I wish I had done more.”said the one who was elected in 2017 by a very strong majority in front of former councilor Jacques Masseau (585 votes against 214).
In a long interview with CHIP 101.9, Gaston Allard reveals that he has a new job on a professional level which no longer allows him to exercise his functions as mayor within the council. In fact, it is Pro-Mayor Debbie Laporte who has attended the various MRC Pontiac meetings for about six months. She also replaced Gaston Allard a few times for official meetings. “I would like to personally thank Debbie Laporte because she has been extremely present to replace me in the last few months” mentioned the former mayor.
A difficult task?
Gaston Allard did not hide the fact that he found the task of mayor sometimes difficult. “When I was sworn in, Raymond Durocher warned me. He told me, among other things, what challenges me and my family are facing. He was absolutely right,” says Gaston Allard. Telephone calls at any time of the day, threats from citizens, unforeseen events, equipment breakdown, these are events that require the attention of a mayor who is present and available. “Right now, in my job, I can’t even answer my phone. I’m uncomfortable taking citizens’ money, knowing that I couldn’t do my job the right way.” declared Gaston Allard. He also spoke of the many changes taking place within the municipal administration, with five transitions to general management in three years. Martine Durocher, Ellen Boucher and Naomie Rivest all held this position under the Allard administration.
“I had been warned, but I did not think that it would take that long to obtain authorizations or to advance projects. The bureaucracy does not move quickly” underlines Gaston Allard. He mentioned that he was unable to carry out certain projects such as the revitalization of the village of Fort-Coulonge. He was still positive about the mayor of Mansfield-et-Pontefract, Gilles Dionne, with whom he worked a lot. “Gilles Dionne has been a real partner and I am happy with the relationship between our two municipalities,” says Gaston Allard.
Gaston Allard did not hide it, a few weeks after his arrival in Fort-Coulonge, he lived a personal ordeal, a divorce. He also mentioned that he wants to be a more present father. He also says he is frustrated with the expectations of some citizens. “I was criticized by a citizen for seeing my girlfriend too often. It gives me the impression at a certain level of not being able to live my life” says the one who remained mayor of Fort-Coulonge for three years. To future candidates, he gave the following advice: “Before you embark, make sure you have the support of your loved ones”. Gaston Allard also referred to the various events of recent months. “The floods and the pandemic, in quick succession, it was not really easy,” says Gaston Allard.
Who will replace Gaston Allard?
According to the rules of the Ministère des Affaires municipales et de l’Habitation (MAMH), less than one year before the elections, the councilors can select the person who will succeed Gaston Allard within his council. This is what the city council decided. In the next few hours, the city council will meet to appoint a mayor or mayor. Remember that the municipal elections are scheduled for November 7, 2021.
Here is the whole conversation between the former mayor Gaston Allard and François Carrier.