Our next profile is with Garry Dagenais, running to become councilor for Ward 2.
Born and raised in Beechgrove.
Office manager at L&J Towing.
Previous experience on council
I was councilor for Ward 4 for 7 years, beginning 2008.
What is the greatest challenge facing the Municipality?
The lack of communication by council. There’s no harmonization in this municipality. Big time. It’s a problem that council creates, we don’t seem to have harmony on council and without that, trust me, you don’t go forward too fast. When I was council, I sat in the middle; I was the deciding vote for a lot of stuff. It’s not just this current council; there’s always been a division between the wards. We need good leadership, good councilors who are actually there for the right reasons. If you are going run for council, you have to run for the people; your personal agenda can’t be for your gain, it has to be for the municipality.
If elected, what is the first thing you would like to do?
Work on infrastracuture, including the water and sewers [...] and our roads: they need to be upgraded. My previous experience on council will help with finding funds. We still struggle with [Quyon's water] as it was never planned out right; the whole infrastructure was not planned. If we have a water break, [we] do not have shut-off valves for each street. If there’s a break, we need to shut down the whole town to fix it. It’s not a simple fix: the sewer lines are 50 years old, there has never been any major upgrade in all that time. A lot of the paved roads have not been maintained. But it goes hand in hand: are you going to spend a lot of money until you fix water and sewers? [We must] decide on the priorities.
What is going right in this area?
[We are] starting to work with the NCC and our officials, Andre Fortin and Will Amos. That has changed; we are starting to be able to work together to get a lot of improvements. We never seemed to get any progress, no matter who was there before; we seem to have better communication between our elected officials now. I think that we should be able to get more funding for the municipality so long as they understand what we need. Priorities need to be made clear [to them]. Even with the MRC (des Collines), [there was] a lack of communication the long term, especially on Schema and getting stuff done for our municipality. That has been improving.
Why did you decide to run for council again?
My passion. Simple. It’s my community, I believe in it. We can develop this [place] but need the right people with passion who are willing to put time into it. I ran for council the first time as I had always volunteered in the municipality and I figured I could make better changes by running for council. My record stands on what I did as councilor. It was me that got the gym at the school (Notre Dame de la Joie) and I bought the land for the expansion of the school. I made sure we bought the property; if you didn’t buy it back then you wouldn’t have it now. We got the lagoon system figured out; it took less than six months from when I got in. We bought the land from Hydro Quebec for $1. A lot of things are simple if you put your mind to it. I was one of the first councilors to start putting money into Parks and Recreations. The municipality started to pay to help look after them. We didn’t have any parks in the municipality at that time: just the Eardley Recreation Association. It was pretty well run and paid for by volunteers. The other six parks and skating rinks I did when I was there too.
For me there has never been a border, an issue between the wards. I have family all over [the area]. For me, this municipality has always been one municipality.