Our last profile is of Jean Côté, who is running for the position of councilor of Ward 1. It proved impossible to interview Mr. Côté in person. Our gratitude to him for emailing his answers to us.
Retired as team lead, IT Program, Shared Services Canada
What are the greatest challenges you see for the municipality and/or your ward?
Challenges for the municipality and ward include improving infrastructure and roads and increasing business growth. A solid infrastructure is a prerequisite to increase business growth. As well, there may be a need for municipal subsidies or incentives to entice businesses to the Pontiac. An industrial park, rezoning discussions and looking into provincial and federal programs for their assistance would be required. There would be a need to identify what would best suit all parties (the municipality and businesses) and how they can work together to get things started. There are possibilities on the tourism front (a marina, museum, etc.), in the arts (local artisans and music), as well as other opportunities yet to be studied, such as an IT Centre, ski resort or outdoor center. The possibilities could be endless if we keep an open mind and are willing to discuss and research the potential. This could alleviate loss of our youth to the cities.
What would be your first priority if elected?
My priority [would be] infrastructure and roads. The rash of floods has devastated some people and properties and we must take measures to deal with this. Considering the bulk of the flooding is caused by things that are beyond our control, we could look at options such as discussing water dam management with the proper authorities and seeing if there are things that could be addressed at that stage (such as water release schedules). We need to research and identify problem areas in order to determine if preventative measures could be put in place, if only on a seasonal basis, such as shoring up certain areas in the fall in preparation for spring. A proper study of problem areas would also give us an opportunity to see if some form of diversion could be put into place where two waterways exist, in order to lessen the impact. There is also a discussion that needs to take place concerning known flood areas and building permits for said areas, as well as outlines of responsibilities for both homeowners and the municipality.
What do you see here that is going well?
What is good now [is that] some roads are being done, and the Quyon Beach Barn/Community Centre is being addressed. The municipality of Pontiac is a rich and diverse multi-cultural area, with lineages of First Nations, Irish, English and French descent, to name a few. As well, it is an area that abounds in talent, such as on the arts and crafts as well as music front. We have a distinct history in our contributions to industry in southern Quebec with the Ottawa River linking our area to others and facilitating transport of goods and people. These are things that we want to highlight and maintain as they are our history and our identities. It is a primarily rural area with an abundance of forests and lakes that also distinguishes the Pontiac from urban centers, as well as a beautiful place to live.
What makes you a good choice as councilor for your ward?
I am willing to work hard and am recently retired. I am bilingual, with prior experience (over nine years) as a church board member dealing with assisting in running and maintaining a church. I have experience as a supervisor and team lead within Federal Government which entails good people and leadership skills and working as a group with a specific goal in mind, i.e. client service. I think [council needs] to handle issues in an informed and logical fashion.