That could happen here

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I am as appalled as anyone by what is happening in Alberta right now.

No, I'm probably more appalled.

As your self-designated, self-righteous rural Antipodean, the images of those helpless cars crawling between those immense walls of flame are almost more than I can stand. 

If you will allow me to be brutally honest with you now, and I apologize for this in advance, we need to understand that most of the population of Fort McMurray should be dead right now. Absolutely trapped, suffocated and burned to death by this terribly strong and sudden fire.

Or was it so sudden? Authorities knew conditions were dangerously dry, had been for months. The fire that forced the almost instantaneous evacuation of a city of 88,000 people had been burning for days. Why did these people have to flee at the last possible second? Why were so many people alerted to the imminent danger, not by a well-coordinated and executed emergency plan, but by alarmed neighbours belting on front doors?

These questions will no doubt be asked in time. I certainly hope so.

Meanwhile, in safe quiet green little Pontiac, we are safe from such awful threats to life and property.

For now.

I suppose.

In my travels today, I passed all three of our so-called fire danger information signs. Those at the Quyon and Breckenridge entrances to our Municipality were simply and utterly wrong. Only the arrow on the Eardley-Masham Road was actually within any kind of useful section of the fire danger range and this, I am extremely sorry to say, is because I climbed through the ditch and put the arrow there myself a few weeks ago, attaching it in place with a screw I actually installed MYSELF several years ago. (I've used tape on the other two in the past. Of course, that doesn't last as long but I don't always travel with a screwdriver, curiously.) 

I am sorry to sound cross and bewildered by this but the fact is, those poor troubled signs are the only indications your average resident of this region is ever going to have of an elevated fire danger.

And the more often the arrows point to the ground -- or, incredibly, blow off and become lost in the road-side grass - the less chance that we, as a community, will ever be prepared to escape alive from those insane walls of fire, if they should one day appear here, God forbid.

Please, please, capable and concerned members of the Fire Department and the council of the Municipality of Pontiac: please just look after our three little fire signs.

Don't make me keep doing it by myself.

Nos autres nouvelles / Our other News

The beginning of everything: "Origins" watercolour show opens

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by: 

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

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by: 

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

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by: 

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!

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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

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by: 

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.

Kickin' it: Pontiac youth get into soccer

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by: 

Kate Aley

Some might say that young people are glued to their screens all day and all night. But that's harder to say when so many bright young people are running, kicking, playing and laughing in Luskville every Monday evening.
Community soccer classes started up on Tuesday, May 1st at the Luskville Recreational Park. The two- to four year-olds play in the softball field. The older group, aged five and up, play on the soccer field to the north.

How do rural communities comply with Quebec's Organic Strategy?

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by: 

Kevin Brady

Current Situation:

The Québec residual materials management strategy includes a progressive reduction and an eventual a 'ban' of organic material from municipal landfills by 2020. Municipalities that comply with the policy are eligible for funding to help offset the costs. As with the Municipality of Pontiac, many municipalities have chosen to pass resolutions to initiate door-to-door collection, with costs paid for by the residents.

Get ready, get set, get out: disaster preparedness in a bag

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by: 

Kate Aley

Remember this?

As the Pontiac watches epic levels of flooding in both New Brunswick and B.C. and considers our own possible return to inundation, it's time to let paranoia rear its helpful head and get ready to get out of the house. The concept behind having a so-called Go Bag is to have ready everything you might need to survive, out-of-doors, for about 72 hours... until help arrives or the zombies get you.

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