Pontiac 2020.ca hopes to run a short interview with each candidate in the municipal elections this year. First, current mayor Roger Larose who is seeking re-election.
I was elected 1998 as councilor for ward 1 for 11 years and 2013 elected as mayor.
I come from North Onslow; I’ve lived here all my life.
I was a construction contractor, now I work as mayor full-time.
What do you see as the greatest challenge for this area right now?
This is part of why I ran for mayor: the municipality is so big and we have three sectors [so] the biggest challenge for us is to bring all these people together; they have to work for the same goals.
That’s why we had the public consultations to understand the needs of the citizens. Every sector has different needs. This [community division] has been going on for years, but I find it is getting a lot better. People are realizing we are a municipality. When I talk to citizens, I never work as Breckenridge or Quyon; I talk only about what is good for the whole municipality and people are starting to understand.
We had many public consultations to understand problems and needs. What we did in the last four years [was] to get the people together. It’s important to realize we are all here as one. For me, that’s my biggest challenge, to bring [the people] in.
We are getting ready to do an evaluation for the whole municipality and then to make a five-year plan. It’s starting this year: cutting branches, taking inventory of all the culverts. One culvert can cost $300 000 but if we don’t know ahead of time [that it needs repairs], we can’t prepare for it. We need to know what has to be done to be ready for [the cost], that’s the only way you can prepare your budget. We can’t guess no more… we’ve got to know what we are doing.
What is your top priority if re-elected?
The Quyon Community Centre, that’s coming up. We are starting the work to demolish it.
In the last four years, the monthly bulletin has improved: we put everything in there, including by-law changes, to get the people involved. They have to realize we are voted [in] by them, in the end they know they have their chance to speak. We are always open to listening to the people, [at] all the meetings we’ve had. It’s important for us.
What is one thing that you are proud to look back on?
I’ve got lots: the [Quyon Community] Centre is a good example, we talked about it for years and finally it will get built. The seniors and family policies; for years we never had anything on this and now we can get grants, we qualify. Every time we modify a bylaw, [we] adapt it to fit with our policies. We want to attract young families and keep our old people here too.
We took over the Quyon Ensemble, [because] if we want to develop that [land], we need to own it. The play equipment, some of it was not even safe for our kids. For me, in the next four years you will see a big difference. We’ll know what we have; now we know what has to be done.
I got a $1.2M investment in the [Gatineau] Park. That’s something you’ve never seen before here. We finally got the NCC now really involved with us; if I call them [and] I need something, they always want to help. We spent the last four years getting all the good connections, now you’ll see a big difference in this municipality.
Why do you want to run for mayor again?
The reason I want to run for mayor is the reason I got into politics: it’s because this is my municipality. I have lived here all my life; I have seen what it looked like 40 years ago. I’ve seen it change and the changes are not going the right way. For me, I am proud of my municipality; I want to be involved. There was conflict, we changed a lot [but] in the end we got a good team and we are able to advance. People have to realize what we took it from.
When it comes to the election, no matter who you vote for, you need to have a council that will get involved. I was lucky to have a lot of councilors that were retired and able to be involved. As mayor, I did lots of meetings and I went wherever I could, but I can only do so much and [….] that’s when you depend on your council. Our same goal is to make this place better. You’ll see the town getting different, you’ll start seeing the Park getting better, but we need the people to get involved: that’s important.