People, get ready: planning for disaster as a community



Kate Aley

We all know that being prepared for an unexpected emergency as individuals is vital. How to be prepared as a community seems less clear. I asked communications agent Dominic Labrie about what we now have in place to help keep the people of Pontiac safe. Does the Municipality currently have a disaster plan?

Municipality of Pontiac (MoP): Yes, right now it is in phase 1.

P2020: When was it created?

MoP: It was adopted by the municipal council in February 2016.

P2020: Are all municipalities required to have an official disaster plan by law?

MoP: Yes it’s mandatory under clause 194, Loi sur la Sécurité Civile (LRQ, ch. S-2.3). Toute municipalité doit s’assurer que sont en vigueur sur son territoire, et consignés dans un plan de sécurité civile, des procédures d’alerte et de mobilisation ainsi que des moyens de secours minimaux pour protéger la sécurité des personnes et des biens en cas de sinistre. Our plan (phase one) was approved by the Quebec Public Safety Department in January 2016.

P2020: What kind of situation would be considered an emergency and what would be considered a disaster?

MoP: This is the official distinction between the two:

P2020: What kinds of disasters does the plan prepare us for: fire, earthquake, prolonged power outages?

MoP: For now, it’s a general plan for any kind of disaster. Over the next months and years, we will have to develop specific action plans for specific risks.

P2020: In the past, has the MoP had to utilize its disaster plan?

MoP: No. The biggest challenges in the recent years were the microburst storm (2014) and the subsequent collapse of the highway at Ch. Alary.

P2020: How can people find out what is in the plan? Is it on the website?

MoP: For now, the plan in an internal tool for the staff.

P2020: Shouldn't we all already know what the plan is? If the power goes out we can't call the MoP office. If the road washes away, we can't get to the MoP office...

MoP: In that kind of situation, we will use media (TV, radio, website, etc.) to contact people. In the next phase of the plan, we will develop more sophisticated modes of alert and mobilization procedures for stakeholders and the public.

P2020: What kinds of things can people do to prepare for an emergency in their own home?

MoP: The best “basic” public references are here:

Here is the municipal organigram:

P2020: So, you are working on the next phase of the plan now?

MoP: Our next step is to have a meeting with our staff. They will be asked to spend several hours per year to develop the plan in their attributed sector of responsibilities (eg. volunteers, management, procurement, etc.). Ben [Kuhn, general director], the Fire Department and I will work on coordination.

P2020: Should you have public input on that?

MoP: We know that some municipalities are asking the MRC to be more involved in that (development of a regional plan and courses for staff, etc.). We will see what happens there too.

P2020: When will it be finished by?

MoP: Phase 2? There is no deadline for the moment...

Questions? Concerns? Yeah, me too. There are many things we all need to be ready for. Have a look at the websites Dominic suggested... and maybe buy a generator.


With Gatineau Park’s

With Gatineau Park’s wilderness sector making up a large part of our municipality, I do hope the planning includes forest fire response preparedness.

Many of us who live near the Park (or anywhere else that may be at risk) have given serious thought as to how we might protect our properties — and likely to be amongst very few people aware of resources that could be of real help in an emergency.

For example, several water sources and forced forest roads were used to stop the 1988 fire that moved into the Park from the old landfill site. Today, the roads are blocked by fallen trees, and the water sources either forgotten or virtually inaccessible. In an emergency, I know that trails I maintain on my property could provide an alternative access.

Other examples might include knowledge of watercourses with old and potentially weak beaver dams.

I'm sure many other residents may have similar potentially useful "on the ground" knowledge. Will the municipality's preparedness planning process be able to tap into this type of information?


Nos autres nouvelles / Our other News

Celebrating weeds (not weed)


Look what I found in a particularly weedy part of my garden: the first Monarch caterpillar I've seen a very very VERY long time.






I found that chubby little fellow lurking on a blade of grass so I moved him to this leaf, where he lay like a slug for quite a long time. Then I saw that he'd done a neat u-turn. Then I saw he'd eaten a patch of the leaf and taken off like a maniac. No idea where went. Looked everywhere. So I assume he's out there.

Let your milkweed grow. 

Creative summer art classes



Kate Aley

Get some colour into your life this summer with bright new art courses at the Pontiac School of the Arts in Portage du Fort. This year, classes include watercolour painting, printmaking, screen writing and floor cloths (a durable painted canvas mat). 

Now in it's 14th year, the Pontiac School of the Art's mission is to inspire creative discovery in everyone.

For Over 8 MONTHS We’ve Had NO Emergency Route



Ashley Graveline



As someone who lives on Baie road and heads up to Quyon often, it really starts to hit how long Alary road has been washed out — and how annoying it is to detour around to head up to Quyon, Shawville etc.

The beginning of everything: "Origins" watercolour show opens



Kate Aley

You are invited to an extraordinarily moving exhibition of new work by renowned Luskville painter, Ruby Ewen.

Entirely painted in watercolour, the pieces immerse the viewer into multiple magical realms of creationism, imagination and classic myth.

Show runs: Friday, June 22 (opening event, 6 -- 8 p.m.) to July 22, 2018

Site: Stone School Gallery, 28 Mill St., Portage du Fort.

Cooking meets trucking at new restaurant



Kate Aley

After two years of extensive renovations, Au Coin du Camionneur, also known as Trucker's Corner, opened in Luskville on Sunday June 17. 

Owners Benoit Galipeau and Robert Bergeron have completely reconfigured the building at the corner of the Eardley-Masham Road and Highway 148. New lighting, comfortable seating and large windows that open onto a breezy patio create an inviting ambience.

Building a new future for Pontiac with slaughterhouse project



Kate Aley

After five years of planning, construction has now started on the Les Abattoir les Viandes du Pontiac. Set on five acres on the outskirts of Shawville, the slaughterhouse is the brainchild of Quyon entrepreneur Alain Lauzon and three partners, Sofian Elktrousie, Ibrama Diagne and promoter Gilles Langlois.

“We are aiming to be open by end of October,” said Lauzon last week, as he watched forms being set for more concrete to be poured.

Turtle S.O.S.: Save Our Shells!


Trouble in paradise.

It's June and that means those crazy turtles are once again roaming dirt side roads and busy highways alike; intent on finding mates, water and good nesting places as they have always done, paying no mind to the deadly wheels zooming past. I stop for a lot of turtles at this time of the year and so far we have all lived to fight another day. However I have never seen a turtle stuck in the bone-dry and baking-hot rink at the Luskville Community Centre before. Bad turtle terrain for sure.

Open letter to the Municipality of Pontiac recognizing the work of our municipal firefighters



Sandra Barber

To whom it may concern:

Re: Recognition of volunteer Firefighters

While sitting at our dining table enjoying our first coffee of the day on Sunday, May 20 at 6 a.m., my husband and I both heard a very loud “thunk” and wondered what the heck it was. Curiosity motivated my husband to investigate further; he checked our basement, nothing amiss. Checked the living room located on a lower level, noticed a man sitting outside on the guard rail.