In 2020 The MRC Pontiac should see the addition of two new employees (or internally hiring) in order to fill two positions of strategic importance at the MRC which could have impacts on everyone in the Pontiac. Two jobs that could also make a difference in vitality, economic growth and in the reputation of the region as well as the demographic reality of the Pontiac.
One of the positions, a key to stimulating the Pontiac’s economy, is the job of Danielle Newman, the director of economic development, who announced her departure last November. She had taken the place of Émilie Chazelas who was the director of economic development between January 2017 and May 2018. Émilie Chazelas had then replaced Marc Fortin who left office in December 2016. In three years, three people have succeeded this function and the account will soon be returned to a 4th in the span of just over three years.
The challenges are significant since the job description says that the person must work under the authority of the general management but also in accordance with the orientations of the Council of mayors of the MRC. In other words, 20 people will evaluate this new employee: the 18 mayors, the Warden and the Director General of the MRC Pontiac. Even if there is a certain cohesion within the council of mayors, it is still not an easy task to find a consensus.
It is written in the MRC’s Job listings that the new employee will be responsible for planning, organizing, directing and controlling all activities regarding the economic development at the MRC. This person will have the responsibilities to attract business people and make the MRC’s priorities a reality.
As an example, maybe a little rough, but all the same; a broad summary of the situation of the main files affecting the economy within the territory of the MRC Pontiac.
One of the main projects remains the Centre de Valorisation de Biomasse (CVB), active since 2015. Now, 2020 will be crucial. Already in 2015, during a tour of the municipalities of the MRC Pontiac, certain municipal councils, such as Alleyn-et-Cawood and Waltham evoked as much doubts as the success of the project. Five years later, if the question was asked again, the reality is which it is uncertain which of elected officials would insist on continuing in this direction if the MRC fails to produce results on the effectiveness of CVB.
The Warden of the MRC Pontiac has talked a lot about creating energy from waste. This file is still embryonic but will require a lot of time to move forward. On the other hand, already politicians with influence, including the minister regional for the Outaouais Mathieu Lacombe, has already shown to be receptive to the idea. It would even seem that Premier Legault has shown a certain curiosity about this project as well.
Regarding the forest industry in Outaouais, the presence of the MRC Pontiac seems to be essential, as insisted on by the MNA for Pontiac André Fortin in order to improve the local importance in the industry. It will be important to be on the lookout for updates on this. High speed internet and the cellular network are still categorized a top priority. Several municipalities, like Fort-Coulonge among others, are trying to enhance their main street, which does not seem to be an easy task at the moment. Among the problematic files, there is also the Pontiac Sorting Center which has already mentioned laying-off 32 employees, along with a possible closure.
We can also note the difficulties of the Pontiac Chamber of Commerce which seems to have had a certain pitfalls in attracting new directors. This does not directly concern the MRC, but complicates its task, nevertheless, in order to bring together businesses. Once again, the person who will occupy the position direction of economic development will only have to not count their hours, but be determined and unfortunately prioritize certain files. The hiring should start this winter as candidates have until January 24 to apply.
The other most important position to be filled soon is the Strategic Communications Advisor. Often underestimated, this job is generally the trigger for a vision that can operate and ensure the promotion of the region, that greatly needs it. With the knowledge that there are three medias in the region, among others; the CHIP 101.9 newsroom that produces news almost every day, the person who will fill the position will have to find ways to highlight what is being done at the MRC Pontiac. Already in recent weeks, the MRC Pontiac director Bernard Roy got more involved in addition to Warden Jane Toller who is always very accessible to answer questions. This is definitely a trend that should remain to better communicate the projects and the big questions that should be made public and explained further. Trying to make the public understand the functions of the MRC Pontiac, while highlighting its potential, are priorities that could have beneficial effects for the Pontiac region.