Wentworth-Nord 

Wentworth-Nord : trois réalités

Si les statistiques du Recensement du Canada et de l’Institut de la statistique du Québec nous permettent de chiffrer, et donc de brosser un portrait objectif de la situation démographique et socio-économique de Wentworth-Nord comme de son évolution, elles ne nous présentent qu’un tableau bien imparfait de ces réalités. [Cf. Le Nord-Wentwortois, selon le Recensement du Canada de 2021 (Synthèse)]

La villégiature, qui représente ici la bonne moitié de cette réalité, n’est pas comprise dans ces statistiques. Ainsi, l’Institut de la statistique du Québec n’en tient pas compte dans l’élaboration de son Indice de vitalité économique. Par ailleurs, elles ne sont pas publiées pour une présentation infra-municipale. Ainsi, l’amalgame des données pour les trois villages, les six districts municipaux, les dizaines d’habitats autour de lacs ou autre réalité spatiale de la municipalité, masque la situation locale. La planification urbaine doit pourtant aussi compter sur des données infra-municipale pour agencer au mieux les enjeux qui lui sont assignés.

La municipalité et la MRC possèdent et collectent des données sur toutes les propriétés de son territoire, qu’elles soient des résidences permanentes ou secondaires. Mais quel traitement en font-elles pour en obtenir le tableau chiffré nécessaire à la planification des activités et des orientations infra-municipales?

Statistique Canada nous donne la pyramide démographique de la population municipale, son revenu moyen, médian ou autre; les études, les qualifications ou le domaine d’activité de ses citoyens, et leur évolution. Mais cela ne correspond probablement pas à la réalité de l’un ou l’autre de ses trois villages. Les villégiateurs ne sont-ils pas plus nombreux dans les districts 5 et 6? Le niveau de richesse est-il le même dans les différents districts? Comment les caractéristiques, comme l’âge, de tous les résidents se comparent-t-elles à celles de la population permanente, celles des statistiques? Quelle est la signification du revenu moyen ou d’emploi de la population de la municipalité ou de la MRC, si plus de la moitié de ses résidents ne font pas partie de l’équation?

Comment prévoir le développement socio-économique de Montfort, de Laurel ou de Saint-Michel, sans statistiques pour tenir compte des tendances qui s’y dessinent sur le terrain au fil du temps? L’actuel moratoire ou contrôle intérimaire du développement immobilier, via les projets intégrés, ceux de location à court ou plus long terme, etc., et les décisions qui dicteront les clauses de la réglementation conséquente, ne risquent-elles pas de mieux convenir pour certains secteurs que pour d’autres? Comment procéder à un zonage adéquat dans leur application, sans avoir une image plus objective de la réalité locale? le plan d’urbanisme Farmer relevait déjà certaines incongruités dudit zonage.

Le développement socio-économique de Wentworth-Nord nous paraît axé sur le secteur est, celui qui est le plus près des zones urbanisées; qu’il s’agisse des villes et villages des Laurentides ou de la région métropolitaine. Il en subit déjà la pression. « De 2016 à 2021, certaines des petites villes ayant connu la croissance démographique la plus rapide en dehors des centres urbains sont situées à moins de deux heures de route de Toronto, Montréal ou Vancouver. Bon nombre de ces petites villes se trouvent dans des régions à forte densité de chalets ou à proximité de centres de ski ou de villégiature offrant une multitude de commodités, dont la nature, la navigation de plaisance, le golf, le ski et l’après-ski. »1 Le débalancement du poids démographique et économique que devrait entraîner ce développement sera pourtant une préoccupation majeure de nos autorités. Le portrait statistique actuel ne peut pourtant refléter cette réalité; il ne le fera pas davantage pour son évolution.

Laurel, que le plan d’urbanisme disait loin de tout, devra chercher à compenser en maintenant son statut de chef-lieu, par le développement des services sociaux et administratifs, entre autres. Même si M. Farmer y voyait « l’implantation d’une zone destinée à accueillir les industries et commerces lourds », rien, malgré la volonté de l’ancienne administration, n’y paraît encore.

D’autres variables seront affectées, dont l’environnement, avec la pression sur les lacs les plus abordables par exemple; la densité de l’habitat, son accessibilité, son cadre bâti, la valeur des propriétés, la mise au rencart, dans les zones urbanisées, de la maison unifamiliale qui logeait 99% des résidents permanents en 2021, la rentabilité des investissements en infrastructure routière et connexe, la langue ou autre.

Certaines régions touristiques ont procédé à des enquêtes pour avoir une meilleure idée du portrait infra-municipal de leur territoire, notamment du tourisme de villégiature. « Tourisme Lanaudière a récemment dévoilé les résultats d’une étude menée à l’hiver 2021 qui avait comme objectif de cerner les enjeux propres aux propriétaires de chalets locatifs ainsi qu’aux municipalités qui doivent assurer une cohabitation harmonieuse entre la clientèle touristique, la population locale et les villégiateurs. »2 Ces analyses ont sans doute permis de mieux asseoir les enjeux et les orientations auxquels elles doivent faire face. Sainte-Anne-des-Lacs a publié son Guide du bon villégiateur en 2019.3

Il nous paraît nécessaire que nos autorités, municipalité et MRC, profitent d’un accès aux données infra-municipales des recensements et introduisent, elles-mêmes, la collecte, le traitement et la publication de statistiques nécessaires pour les compléter. On voit bien l’intérêt que suscite déjà la publication de la carte des évaluations des propriétés de la MRC sur GeoCentralis. L’envoi du compte de taxes, qui rejoint aussi bien les résidents permanents que les villégiateurs, devrait contenir un questionnaire qui permette la collecte d’informations statistiques pertinentes et récurrentes, particulièrement aux dates des recensements du Canada.

Par Carl Chapdelaine

  1. https://www.statcan.gc.ca/o1/fr/plus/767-troquer-la-grande-ville-pour-le-cadre-idyllique-dune-petite-localite
  2. https://www.lejournaldejoliette.ca/actualites/affaires/429408/portrait-du-tourisme-de-villegiature-dans-lanaudiere
  3. https://www.sadl.qc.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Guide-du-bon-vill%C3%A9giateur_SADL.pdf

The income gap in Wentworth-Nord

Is the income gap between households decreasing or increasing in Wentworth-Nord; and how does it compare to the situation in the MRC des Pays-d'en-Haut and in Quebec as a whole?

In a previous article, we reported that in 1920, in Wentworth-Nord, 6.3% of the population was in a state of poverty, according to the Market Basket Measure, compared to 5.4% in the MRC and 6.4% in Quebec. The Canadian censuses also allow us to measure the income gaps of Canadian households by classifying them on a ten-step income scale, i.e., by decile. The percentage of the poorest is thus found in the first decile. The variation of this percentage, as well as that of the other deciles that complete the 100%, gives us a good indication of the income gap between households. Nationally, each decile comprises 10% of the population. Statistics Canada also groups these ten levels into two blocks: the five deciles in the bottom half and the five in the top half, allowing for a more global comparison. For Canada, each of the two blocks contains 50% of the population.

In 2015, according to the 2016 Census, out of a population of 1,370 individuals in nord-wentwortoises's "economic families"1, 62.8% were in the bottom half of the distribution, compared to only 56.6% in the MRC and 57.5% in Quebec; much higher, therefore, than the 50% benchmark. There was little difference between men and women. 12.0% of these 1370 individuals constituted the first echelon, or lower decile of this block, compared to only 9.5% in the MRC and 9.4% in Quebec.

By 2020, the position of the poorest had worsened in Wentworth-Nord; the bottom tier now included 16.9% of the population, compared to 10.1% in the MRC and 10.3% in Quebec. The situation in Wentworth-Nord thus contrasted significantly with the Canadian norm of 10%, found in the MRC and in Quebec. On the other hand, the tenth level, the top decile, had seen its importance increase from 7.3% to 7.8%; this seemed to indicate a growing gap between the poorest and richest economic families in the municipality. It was also noted that, in 2020, the percentage of the population in the lowest decile was more than double that of the highest. 62.3% of the population was in the lower half block, compared to 37.7% in the upper half. Histogram 1Histogram 2

For its part, the Institut de la statistique du Québec uses data from the Canadian censuses, using quintiles in its tables to present the situation.

Many additional findings can be found in the analysis of these statistics; however, they require an expertise that the undersigned does not claim to possess...
By Carl Chapdelaine

1. Economic family: "Economic family" refers to a group of two or more persons living in the same dwelling who are related to each other by blood, marriage, common-law, adoption or foster care. 

The Income Gap In Wentworth-Nord (2020) : Histogram

Note: Corrigé le 25 mars.

The Income Gap In Wentworth-Nord, W-N, PdH, QC (2020): histogram

Note: Corrigé le 25 mars.

Meeting Of W-N's Council Of march 15, 2023 (Report)


Present were the members of council: Mrs. Colleen Horan and Lyne Chapados, Mr. Réjean Gosselin and Mr. Eric Johnston, as well as Mrs. Danielle Desjardins, mayor, who presided over the meeting, assisted by Mr. Ron Kelley, the director general. A dozen people were present in the room, while the Zoom counter indicated 45 people. The meeting will last 1 hour and 50 minutes.

2. Statement from elected officials
- The mayor reminded everyone that the public should not intervene during the council debates, neither in words nor in writing (chats on Zoom), except for exceptional reasons. During question period, the yellow hand is raised to ask for the floor.
- At the March 8 public consultation on the proposal to prevent short-term rentals in primary residences, the question was asked whether those who did not want a referendum should sign the register. (It seems to us, as Councillor Johnston will clarify, that they do not have to sign the register. However, they would have to vote in the referendum if the referendum was dictated by the required number of signatures in the register calling for it. The mayor confirmed this, adding that a note will be published to explain the procedure to follow).

4. Administration and correspondence
4.1 Acceptance of the reports of salaries, purchases of disbursements, purchases of capital assets for the month of February 2023: The total was $700,000 this year, compared to $350,000 in 2022. The difference was due to the $264,000 contribution to the MRC in 2023.
4.2 April By-Elections for District 2 - The salary schedule for election officers was adopted.
4.3 Adoption of the Donations, Sponsorships and Grants Policy. This item was deferred as council did not have time to complete the policy.
4.4 Awarding of a mandate for animal control to the firm Patrouille canine Inc for an amount of $10,833. For the period of March 1 to Dec. 31, 2023.
4.5 The renewal of the annual financial aid of $2,000 is granted to the Club l'Étoile du Nord, which takes care of the elderly in the Laurel sector.
4.6. A grant of $10,000, in two installments of $5,000, will be awarded to the Chambre de commerce et de développement durable Wentworth-Nord. The purpose of this grant is to allow the Chamber to conduct a needs assessment of the community in order to properly target the services to be offered. Mr. Johnston will vote against, as he did not have enough time to evaluate the file. The mayor will indicate that the file dates back to November 2022 and that it contains nothing new. Carried 3 to 1.
4.7 Resolution to allow the General Manager to proceed with the hiring of a Public Works Director.

5. Public Security
5.3 Fire Safety - 2022 Assessment - Fire Safety Cover Plan (FSCP): Quebec requires that each municipality of the MRC accept this assessment and plan by resolution. Carried.
6. Public Works and Municipal Asset Management
6.1 Report of the President of the Road Committee, Councillor R. Gosselin: We are preparing the machinery for the summer season; we are making an inventory of the equipment on the territory, etc.

7. Environment
7.1 Report from the President of the Environment Advisory Committee, Councillor C. Horan:
- Mr. B. Plourde deposited the document on the protection (?) of lakes. Everyone is invited to consult it.
- The municipality will call the lake associations to a new meeting this spring, to invite them to participate in the implementation of the regulations concerning shoreline owners and ...
- All boats will be required to display a sticker.
- The CCE is completing its environmental policy: Biodiversity, etc.
7.2 End of probation of the Environmental Coordinator. On the recommendation of the General Manager, Mr. Ron Kelley, Mr. B. Plourde, becomes permanent.
7.3 Notice of motion and tabling of draft by-law 2023-526 concerning the protection of and access to water bodies on the territory of the Municipality of Wentworth-Nord. Cf.2018-526
7.4 Upon the recommendation of the Director of the Planning and Environment Department, Mr. Cadieux, hiring of an environmental officer, Ms. Catherine Thibodeau-Babineau. The duration is 12 weeks, with the possibility of extension.

8. Urbanism and economic development
(Some headlines reported here)
8.2 Tabling of the list of permits from February 1 to 28, 2023: 18 general permits for a value of $1.6M; compared to 15 in 2022, for a value of $109,000. 35 permits since the beginning of 2023, for just over $2M; compared to 24 permits in 2022, for a value of $764,000. So, still higher this year.
8.4 Adoption of the second draft of By-law 2017-498-19 amending Zoning By-law 2017-498 in order to prohibit the use complementary to a residential use (Tourist accommodation of principal residence type) in all zones of the territory. The mayor reminds us that we are talking about a principal residence and not a secondary residence. There was a public consultation on March 8 and the adoption of the by-law is subject to the referendum approval process. Carried.
8.7 PIIA - New construction of a main building on des Montfortains Road: Already accepted in April 2021; but with the condition, among others, to reduce the lighting. The applicant has agreed to use lower intensity bulbs in the four lights considered and the CCU recommends the acceptance of these modifications. Ms. Desjardins pointed out that there is a current trend to want bright lighting. However, this disturbs the neighbors and prevents them from enjoying a starry sky.
Councillor Johnston opposed adoption, noting that the owner is presenting the authorities with a fait accompli, which also sends the wrong message to developers. Ms. Chapados prefers to follow the recommendations of the CCU, while Mr. Gosselin also votes for acceptance, saying he disagrees with the municipality's policy on lighting. Ms. Horan will side with Mr. Johnston, while the mayor will abstain from voting. By a two-to-two vote, the refusal of the adoption prevails, Mr. Kelley will confirm. Ms. Desjardins invited the owner to modify his plan and to represent it.
8.9 Transfer for parks, playgrounds and natural areas - Application for subdivision permit: Here, the municipality is interested in these lots and prefers to take them instead of the corresponding $40,000.
8.10 Offer of purchase, by Mr. Philippe Marchessault, for a part of lot 5 589 384, contiguous to a lot he already owns, and which will allow him to have an access (direct) to the lake Saint-François-Xavier. “It is a small border of the lake", explained the mayor. But the owner will not have to give access to any other property via this lot. Accepted.

9. Recreation, Culture and Community Life
9.1 Ms. Chapados will applaud the success of the Winterfest held the previous Saturday in Laurel. The children's games and the torchlight walk made it a great day.
She will remind everyone that the DécouVerte Day will be held on Saturday, May 27. There will be presentations related to the environment, distribution of plants, etc.

Question period
(In summary)
Semi-submerged bins. We will talk about these bins, which we would like to see multiplied. And also about the temporary interruption of their collection following a serious accident that happened in Saint-Sauveur, to an employee resident of Wentworth-Nord. One of these huge bags, often loaded with materials that should not be there, would have broken over the employee during its transfer to the truck (?). He is now paralyzed. The Commission de la santé et de la sécurité du travail (CSST) intervened in this case. The collection, interrupted by the company in charge, should resume within a week or a week and a half.

Tax accounts. Although the MRC is responsible, several stakeholders presented their case to the municipal council, demonstrating incomprehensible and disproportionate increases in their property assessment and tax bills, as well as gross errors on the lots.
The mayor was as shocked as they were at the inconsistent assessment picture and disproportionate increases. She told them that we would meet urgently with the firm Évimbec to get explanations and that we would notify the population (?). Ms. Desjardins even invited an aggrieved resident to send her a copy of his tax bill.
Property owners have until April 30 to contest the matter before the MRC, using the appropriate form and returning it to the address indicated on their tax bill.
Why environmental fees? / To allow actions for the protection of the lakes. And on the ecocenter? / To better reflect the real cost.

The second draft of by-law 2017-498-19. Do we have to sign the register if we are for the adoption of the draft by-law? / No.
When will the referendum be held? / Mr. Cadieux will notify the population concerned of the procedure and, if there is sufficient demand according to the register, of the holding of the vote. This will be posted on the bulletin boards, on the municipality's website, etc. There will be maps showing the areas involved.
The questions asked at previous meetings will come up again, with the same answers:
- Your residence is not a primary residence.
- It is only about renting for 31 days or less.
- You plan to rent a room / You are prevented from doing so by the regulations (to be verified).
- Your short-term rental project is currently affected by the interim control. There will be a consultation on your issue in due course.
- Some feel they are being treated unfairly / Mr. Cadieux is doing his best.

Without prejudice; by Carl Chapdelaine
Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version) & Linguee

Consultation on tourist accommodation as a principal residence, March 8, 2023

Presentation and consultation on draft by-law 2017-498-18 amending the zoning by-law in order to make corrections to uses complementary to a residential use; and on draft by-law 2017-498-19 amending the zoning by-law in order to prohibit (short term) tourist lodging at a principal residence.

Mr. Benoît Cadieux, Director of Planning and Environment Services, will present the two draft by-laws using a Power Point. The mayor and the members of the council, Mrs. Colleen Horan, Karine Dostie, Mr. Eric Johnston and Réjean Gosselin are also present. The Zoom counter will be at 47 participants and there will be two dozen people in the room of the Laurel Community Center. The meeting will last 1 hour and 45 minutes.

We will only dwell on the project 2017-498-19, the one that interests the citizens in the first place. This interest is mainly sparked by the misinterpretation that it is a proposal for a more generalized ban on short-term rentals in Wentworth-Nord. At the outset, Ms. Desjardins clarified the purpose of the proposed by-law, insisting that the prohibition would only apply to owners of principal residences (who do not already have a short-term rental permit of 31 days or less).

Mr. Cadieux, on draft by-law 2017-498-18: The changes on this draft by-law are minor and are intended to simplify its description and application. They applied, we understand, to certain subsections of the bylaw or certain zones of the territory; they can now affect all subsections and the entire territory. In addition, the wording of the draft by-law is intended to mirror the wording of the government's one.

Mr. Cadieux, on draft by-law 2017-498-19 (zoning): (Texts copied from Power Point images with One Note from Microsoft 365.)
- Amendment resulting from an initiative of the Municipality
- Purpose of the proposed by-law
To prohibit the complementary use to a residential use "tourist accommodation of the principal residence type" in all zones of the territory.
- Reason for this zoning change procedure
As of March 25, 2023, the provisions adopted as part of Bill 67 will allow Quebecers to rent out their principal residence on a short-term basis throughout the territory without a municipal by-law prohibiting the operation. Municipalities will, however, be able to prohibit or limit the supply of tourist accommodation in a principal residence in certain areas of their territory, subject to an adapted referendum process.
- Referendum Approval
Draft by-law number 2017-498-19 contains provisions that may be the subject of an application by interested persons to have a by-law containing them submitted for their approval in accordance with the Act respecting elections and referendums in municipalities (R.S.Q., c. E-2.2) and the Tourist Accommodation Act (S.Q. 2021, c. 30).
...
- The main use "Tourist residence" and the complementary use "Short-term cottage rental" as defined in the present by-law are not assimilated to the complementary use "Tourist accommodation of the principal residence type".

The referendum approval process in municipalities normally consists of three steps:
1. The application to participate in a referendum;
2. maintaining the register
3. the referendum vote.
Note: From the following clause b, we understand that the first step is waived in the case of a second draft by-law. (A second proposed by-law appears to us to be an amendment to the first following the consultation. To be destroyed: to exclude areas where it would have been rejected by a referendum.)
  • a. For the purpose of determining whether a referendum vote should be held in respect of this by-law, the number of applications required to be met ... is reduced by 50% rounded up to the next whole number. (Mr. Johnston will indicate that this is to make it easier to claim a referendum).
  • b. Any provision contained in the second proposed by-law shall be deemed to have been the subject of a valid application from any area from which such application may originate...
During the question period, Mr. Cadieux will suggest that clarifications and confirmations of explanations related to this referendum process be given at the March 15th council meeting.

IN SUMMARY
  • a. The Tourist Accommodation Act procedure provides for half of the signatures required at the registry and referendum stage.
  • b. The Tourist Accommodation Act procedure provides that after the second draft of the by-law, it is "deemed" to have received the minimum number of applications required. Thus, Step 1 of the referendum process (application to participate) does not apply.

SUMMARY OF THE MAIN STAGES OF THE PROCEDURE
Notice of motion and filing of the draft by-law: February 15, 2023
Adoption of the first draft by-law: February 24, 2023
Public notice announcing the holding of the public consultation meeting: March 1, 2023
Holding of the public consultation meeting: March 8, 2023
Adoption of the second draft by-law : - To come -
Adoption of separate by-laws (1 per zone, 145 in total): - To come -
Public notice for the registration procedure (keeping of the register) : - To come -
Maintenance of the registry : - To come -
Result of registers and filing of certificates before council: - To come -
If applicable: Referendum vote: - To come -
Examination of regional conformity (Schéma d'aménagement de la MRC): - To come -

Question period (Summary)

The mayor and the urban planner will answer questions from the floor and from the participants via video conference.
As at previous municipal meetings, where the real estate moratorium by an interim control was presented, as well as the draft by-law 2017-498-19, several questions were considered out of order or simply perceived as comments; while others obtained clarifications sometimes repeated many times.

- Some were from applicants who do not have their primary residence in Wentworth-Nord, but have invested in the purchase of land or cottages in the municipality. They were concerned that they would not be able to carry out their plans and that they would suffer financial losses.
Their questions were out of order, and they were invited to ask them at the next Council meeting, directly to the Planning Department, or at the appropriate future consultations.

- Many stakeholders were in fact more concerned with the interim control than with the nature of their projects. However, the indecision about the future of their projects, as well as the additional cost of the imposed delays, made it difficult for them to proceed.
They were told that the moratorium was unfortunately necessary to allow the administration and council to adjust the regulations to current criteria, residents' concerns, etc. This was done in other municipalities.

• Some were highly critical of the upheaval introduced by these measures, which they sometimes considered unfair and contrary not only to their legitimate plans and commitments, but to the very economic development of Wentworth-Nord. Investors would turn away from the municipality. They were not necessarily millionaires, and their lives were being made very difficult. Their interventions could be applauded.
In response, they were reminded that the short-term rental had proven to be a source of multiple nuisances, denounced by the citizens, and that it caused additional and unprofitable costs in municipal services, notably for garbage collection and others, for surveillance by the new constabulary, etc. The arrival of these visitors did not bring in anything for the local economy and would not necessarily be a source of economic development. Some banks, the mayor said, were no longer financing the construction of short-term rental units.

- Rare interventions came from permanent residents, interested in occasionally renting their house or a room, often in their absence, and to make their investment and expenses profitable. There was a contradiction, not only between the development orientations, but also with the Quebec regulations concerning this type of accommodation.
They were unfortunately penalized; but it was only for rentals of 31 days or less. And, if they were already licensed, we understand, they would not be affected by the new regulations.

- Some stakeholders said they understood the nature of the projects and would, as stated, defer to the results of the referenda. Others presented more complicated situations, the implications of which would need to be analyzed more specifically.

- Finally, some residents openly supported the nature of the proposed changes, reiterating the nuisance and other counterarguments related to short-term rentals.

- Other questions concerned the referendum process. Did you have to go to the polls to sign the register? (But were we talking about the first step, or the second?) There was understandable confusion.

Mr. Cadieux wanted this to be clarified at the next council meeting on Wednesday. For one thing, the number of signatures required would be indicated before the event. Residents could have several registers to sign, depending on the areas where the projects are located.

All Rights Reserved; by Carl Chapdelaine

Ps. Please report any errors or inaccuracies you may have noticed.
Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version) & Linguee

Special Council Meeting of February 24, 2023 (Report)

Agenda         Video version

Are present the members of council: Mrs. Colleen Horan, Lyne Chapados, Réjean Gosselin and Mr. Eric Johnston, as well as Mrs. Danielle Desjardins, mayor, who will preside over the meeting, assisted by Mr. Ron Kelley, general manager. The Zoom counter will indicate 24 persons and the meeting will last only 27 minutes.

2.+3. Notice of motion, filing and proposed adoption of draft by-law 2017-496-5 amending the Permits and Certificates By-law in order to increase certain fees related to the study of an application for a permit or certificate of authorization and to provide for a fee for obtaining an information document concerning the septic installation serving a building.

The mayor explains that this is an update of the rates, which have not been adjusted for a long time, by making them similar to what is done in the other municipalities of the Pays-d'en-Haut.
Thus, according to article 4, "The base rate of $150 for a New Construction, including guest houses is increased to $200. The $40 fee for a Transformation or renovation is increased to $75.
Under Section 5, regarding Main Building, Commercial, Industrial, Public or Agricultural Use, the base fee of $200 for New Construction other than a farm building is increased to $250. The $50 fee for a conversion or renovation is increased to $100.

These new fees are reasonable," commented Ms. Desjardins, "considering the increased costs to the municipality. Mr. Johnston added that there was an attempt to recover the costs of these services. But he will indicate that the councillors (do not have all the details on some of the fees and would like to have a closer look). Mr. Gosselin will also have noted some omissions.
The Council will therefore postpone the adoption of the project to the next meeting; this will allow for the reworking of the fees if deemed appropriate.

4. Adoption of draft by-law 2017-498-18, to make corrections to the section relating to uses complementary to a residential use. These (minor) changes do not appear to have been contested.

5. Adoption of the first draft of By-law 2017-498-19 amending Zoning By-law 2017-498, in order to prohibit the use complementary to a residential use "Tourist accommodation of principal residence type" in all zones of the territory. (This is the draft by-law that raised many questions when it was tabled at the previous meeting). The mayor underlines at the outset that there was a lot of confusion in its interpretation, as reflected by the questions, between short-term rental, in this case of one's main residence, and rental of another type, such as a secondary residence, a cottage (rental), etc., (the latter not being affected by this draft by-law).

The mayor explains again the reasons for prohibiting this type of short-term rental on the whole territory, such as the nuisance in populated areas; she adds that there is, in any case, little demand for this type of rental. She repeats that it is following the emission of a rule by the government of Quebec, affirming the possibility of proceeding to this type of rental, as long as it respects certain criteria and that it has the approval of the municipality, that this by-law was proposed. There will be an information and question session on this project at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 8. The present adoption of this project will be subject to referendum approval according to the usual formula, (if therefore requested by the required number of citizens).

Question Period
Marian Mihai (Ch. du Lac-Thurson) (In writing): The Wentworth-Nord Council and Mayor were elected with 25% of the voting population. ... Proposed By-law 2017-498-19 intends to restrict a right that relates to property. In this situation, a public consultation or referendum is required. ...? Ans: In the last election, more than 60% of the population voted; and council represents all citizens. We will follow the normal procedure for the adoption of the draft by-law: consultation on March 8, opening of a register to choose whether or not to go to referendum, etc.

Stéphane Haken(?) (In writing): ... Draft by-law 2017-498-19... Does the ban concern existing tourist accommodations? Ans: No; these establishments are still renting.

Tracy Goodson-Mackay (In writing):
  1. Why does the municipality want to end rental when it brings extra taxes, extra earnings and provides jobs? Answer: The low tax revenue here does not offset the cost of services provided by the municipality; and short-term rentals create very little local employment, since these tenants bring everything with them and do not patronize local businesses (if any).
  2. ... Why doesn't the municipality implement guidelines...? Answer: No one here loses their rental rights...
  3. Why...? Ans: Regarding the need to accommodate tourists, there is currently no additional need to what is offered.
M. (gray sweater/white hair in the room): If we turn our primary residence into a bed & breakfast, can we rent? Ans: Then it is no longer a principal residence, but an inn, and the regulations no longer apply.

Mr. Vincent Jephi (for Louise St-Pierre, resident of Laurel): We built a house (cottage) to rent out, and now we can't rent it out on a short-term basis. Many residents do not agree with this. New owners are being penalized for behaviors due to previous owners. They can no longer rent on a short-term basis. Ans: Your main residence is in Montreal, isn't it? Your question is out of order today because we are not talking about a second home. Otherwise, short-term rentals are only prohibited because of the freeze imposed by the interim control. V.J.: Will this be discussed at the March 8 consultation? Ans: No (for the same reason).

Ms. Ramona Iordache:
1. Regarding the land purchased for short term rental...? Ans: Ms., you are out of line...
2. Potential land buyers here are so discouraged by the inspector's comments, that they are no longer interested in investing in the area... Mrs., you are out of order. Is there a request to adjourn the meeting? RI: So you're not answering my question? Out of order. RI: We're not robots... Mr. Johnston: You can't ask your question today; we'll be happy to answer it at a future meeting. IR: Thank you.

At the close of the meeting, Ms. Desjardins reminded everyone that there would be public consultation, limited to the topics on this agenda.

Without prejudice; by Carl Chapdelaine

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version) & Linguee

Meeting of W-N's council of February 15, 2023 (Report)

Councillors Colleen Horan, Line Chapados and Karine Dostie, as well as Councillor Réjean Gosselin were present. Mrs. Danielle Desjardins, Mayor, presided. The Director General, Mr. Ron Kelley, assisted the council. The Zoom meter will indicate three dozen participants, while there will be many people present in the hall of the Laurel Community Center. The meeting will last over two hours; with the question period taking up half of that time.

1. Adoption of the agenda
Item 9.2, hiring of beach guards (or lifeguards?) for the municipal beaches, was added.

2. Statement of elected officials (Mrs. Desjardins)
a. Following the death of the former minister, Mrs. Nadine Girault, a devoted person with whom she had the opportunity to work, the mayor expresses her sympathies to the family.
b. She announces the birthday of Mrs. Minnie Johnson, our dean who will celebrate her 102nd birthday on February 21.
c. On the occasion of the school perseverance week, Mrs. Desjardins reminds that Wentworth-Nord does not have a school. Out of 140 children, a good portion have to take the bus to the school in Lachute; the other to the one in Saint-Sauveur. The journey represents a minimum of two and a half hours per day. She thanks Ressources Sophie who helps these children with their homework every day.
d. The agreement with the SPA is not renewed; consequently, we cannot obtain the obligatory tag for the dogs; but the municipality will not crack down for this infraction. It will take measures to see to the care of the animals.
e. Today, as every third Wednesday of every month, the community dinner took place here, at the Community Center. At this occasion, two persons came to present their services concerning the foresight towards the seniors.
f. For those interested in the issue of mining claims in municipalities, the Mayor indicated that a TVA program will deal with the problem on Friday night, the 17th, at 9:30 p.m.

4. Administration and correspondence
4.3 The municipality supports the Chambre de commerce et de développement durable Wentworth-Nord (CCD2WN) request for a grant from the MRC, within the framework of the Fonds régions et ruralité (FRR).
4.4 Service agreement between the Municipality and the Coopérative de solidarité Laurel Station, following a partnership request by the latter, for a maximum of $3,000.
4.6 Temporary loan from the Caisse Desjardins de la Vallée des Pays-d'en-Haut in the amount of $13,961,685, repayable over a period of 20 years for road repairs on sections of Jackson road, Principale road (between Saint-Michel and the Municipal Hall) and Millette road. The draft by-law for this loan has been approved by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing. (It is known that the project is almost entirely subsidized).
4.7 Support for a grant application to the MRC from the Table de concertation des arts et de la culture de Wentworth-Nord. The Table de concertation des arts et de la culture de Wentworth-Nord wants to promote the immense potential of Wentworth-Nord in this aspect. The funds would be used to put on a festival that will take place over four days in the three sectors of the municipality. It will be on the theme of the August sky.
The mayor points out that with the creation of the chamber of commerce and the presence of this round table, Wentworth-Nord, in a way, is coming out of the doldrums...

5. Public security
Mrs. Desjardins gave her report.
- She starts by mentioning that, in the tax bill you will receive, there is a form that asks you to identify vulnerable people who could benefit from networking with the association ... to ensure their safety.
- Two cadets from the Sûreté du Québec will be added this summer to our constables, to do surveillance and prevention as well as communicate information.

6. Public Works and Municipal Asset Management
Councillor Gosselin indicated that the department was busy with daily activities.

7. Environment
7.1 Councilwoman Horan:
- Recalled the January meeting of the lake associations. Washing of boats and better protection of the lakes were the subject of two workshops.
- Councillors and members of the administration participated in the Public Land Use Plan that the government renews every five years. This plan involves, among other things, the designation of lands to be protected. In this regard, the municipality is working on a vision to be presented to the Ministry des Ressources naturelles et des Forêts.
7.2 Request for a grant for the installation of a boat cleaning station in Saint-Michel that is more functional than the one that currently exists in this sector. The municipality is only allowed one such application per year.

8. Urbanism and economic development
8.2 Filing of the list of permits from January 1st to 31st, 2023. There were 17 permits, for a value of $740,000 (?), compared to 15 in January 2022, for a value of $109,000 (?); which shows that the real estate development movement continues.
8.3 Increase of certain fees related to the study of an application for a permit or certificate of authorization, to better reflect the time spent by the administration on these services. Thus, the basic fee for a permit concerning a building other than a farm is increased from $200 to $250.
8.4 Amendment to zoning by-law number 2017-498 in order to improve and correct the provisions relating to driveways, the architecture of the façade of single-family dwellings and the width of a buffer zone built at the limits of properties. This amendment was submitted for public consultation on January 18, and Council took it into account. Desjardins says this is being done as part of the interim control, to correct some anomalies in the regulations here. But the bulk of the work in this framework concerns the more global orientations of the urbanization policy of the municipality.
8.6 Filing of draft by-law 2017-498-19 amending zoning by-law number 2017-498 in order to prohibit the complementary use to a residential use "tourist accommodation of the principal residence type" in all zones of the territory. The reading of this deposit arouses a reaction in the room, where a participant requests the reading of the entire draft bylaw. This reading, which will seem tedious to us, does not seem to have made the scope of this draft by-law better understood. During the question period, several participants, believing that all short-term rentals are at stake, we understand, will express their fears or their opposition to the changes that they believe are coming in the regulations.
8.7 to 8.12: Series of PIIAs for which Council will follow the recommendations of the CCU, which proposes to grant permits in all cases, subject to certain modifications, i.e. lighting, façade, parking, etc.
8.13 Transfer for parks, playgrounds and natural areas. On the occasion of this transfer of land, concerning a new construction on Loan Street, the Mayor explains that, in the context of a land exchange agreement with Lac-St-Victor Estates, the municipality, instead of taking a small lot from each property, can locate all these lots in the same place and thus form a more interesting piece of land in terms of value and usable for various future purposes.
8.15 The municipality shall take legal action against an owner who has built without complying with the conditions imposed. The action could go as far as demolition, the mayor said, expressing that the municipality never wishes to have to resort to such legal action.

Recreation, Culture and Community Life
9.1 Councillor Line Chapados highlights the first meeting of the Art and Culture Committee. She also spoke about the creation of a food autonomy collective, after several meetings and discussions on the development of a community garden, etc. This collective aims to include more residents.
Ms. Chapados also reiterated the mayor’s announcement on the projects of the Table de concertation des arts et de la culture de Wentworth-Nord, which aims to develop in this area.
9.2 Recruitment of lifeguards for the municipality's beaches.
To conclude the list of items, the mayor reminded everyone that the meeting must be conducted in a harmonious manner, which can be compromised by the use of the chat function between participants. Questions to Council should be reserved for this period.

Question period
Mr. Fernand Janson (in writing):
- Why are the cross-country ski trails not groomed? Answer: Breakage of equipment and impossibility of obtaining the right replacement parts. Concerning the non-plowing of the Aerobic Corridor, it is because of the prohibition to proceed, decreed by the MRC against the municipality, for lack of financial participation agreement. But, "...we are not going to negotiate with a knife to our throat..."
- Why does it take so long to get a book to the library? Answer: Mr. Janson asks for rare books, according to his interests, and the municipality has no control over the exchange system between libraries.

Mr. Sylvain Lebrun (in writing):
- Given the large number of constraints in your zoning grids, and in the face of speculation in real estate:
o How do you justify maintaining a special tax on your vacant lots? Ans: The tax on vacant land was abolished this year for land of 10,000 m2 or less and reduced on larger land. It will also be completely abolished in 2024.
o How can it be applied in integrated projects, where lots are indivisible? (?) Ans: There is no relation between this regulation and integrated projects; but your question will be submitted to our urban planner.

Ms. Natalia Saiab (?): Concerning the draft by-law 2017-498-19 (Cf. 8.6), can we rent our main residence? Ans: Quebec has allowed owners to rent their principal residence on a short term basis; but municipalities are not obliged to accept this rule. Wentworth-Nord has chosen not to allow this type of rental. This is only for primary residences and is not for long term.
Mrs. Saiab: If we want to rent while we are away? Ans. (Mayor): No, it is no longer allowed in Wentworth-Nord. Ans. (Karine Dostie): Unless you have acquired before the adoption of the by-law (and before the interim control?). Ms. Saiab: But if you are still in the process of applying for the permit, and unable to do so, due to the current freeze; what if you have already purchased the land? Ans: The municipality cannot predict the intentions of the owners. Also, we are currently reviewing the by-laws and cannot give you more details in the meantime.
Mrs. Saiab: We are with friends, who bought contiguous lots, following invitations from the mayor at the time (Mr. A. Genest), during a housing show in Montreal, to take advantage of what Wentworth-Nord has to offer, in areas planned for ... and short term rental. Ans: That was six years ago, but reality is changing and municipalities are having to adapt. I can't discuss your personal case. Ms. Saiab: But there are many of us and not rich people... Ans: We can't discuss that now, thank you ma'am!

Ms. Denyse Pinsonneault: You are talking about the tax bills that were sent out, but we have not received anything. Rep. (Mr. Ron Kelly): The process is ongoing and the accounts should all be delivered next week.

Mr. Martin Tessier, Saint-Michel sector (addressed to K. Dostie): You have been in power for one year, Mrs. Desjardins; you are constantly playing with zoning without consulting us. In Saint-Michel there are no services, and we want to build our community. You always intervene to prohibit, and never to create and have a vision. We have lost a year and we don't want to lose another one. We need a Vision Saint-Michel committee. Answer (K. Dostie): We are actively planning: seniors, etc., and we will have consultations. Tessier: We have been talking for years; see the case of the church, with committees and nothing concrete. And it is like that in everything. We want to act. The mayor refutes Mr. Tessier's statements, indicating that the interim control is a big job and that the citizens will be able to express their opinion on the orientations and proposals presented.

A gentleman X in the room: He has properties and wants to know if he will be able to rent them out in the short term. The mayor told him that she could not answer him because the whole question is under study, within the framework of the interim control and the revision of the by-laws.

Mr. Y says he bought two lots in 2019 to build cottages. "And now you're talking about I don't have the right to rent in the short term." Ans: There is no mention of this in the draft amendment to the regulations tabled today; it is only about owners of a primary residence and who will no longer be able to rent it out on a short-term basis. Short-term rentals (cottages, etc.) are still under consideration, (and the current freeze applies to them), so we can't answer you today. Mr. Y: "Several people have taken the money from the bank and invested here; and we have to pay it back. Can't you help us?" Ans: As long as the interim control lasts, we can't do anything.

Mr. Pascal Moreau:
- About the taxes on vacant land. What about forest properties, which are not intended for construction? According to the president of the forestry group in the region, Mr. Pierre Baril... Answer: The vocation of the land has nothing to do with it, and it is never assured; the type of classification of the land is the responsibility of the MRC. It is a tax imposed by the former administration, and it will be abolished in 2024.
- Mr. Moreau returned to the festival announced by the Table de concertation ... (CF. 4.7) and praised the quality of a pure sky, illuminated with stars, in Wentworth-Nord (not so pure in Montfort, where the lighting coming from Morin-Heights does not allow for optimal observation of said stars...)

Another gentleman asked if a permit could be obtained to build short-term rental cottages in zone H 71. Ans: The Mayor reminds that no short-term rental construction permit can be issued during the current interim control, and that the subject will be subject to consultation. Here, Councillor Gosselin clarifies that the information communicated on the draft by-laws in question will be clearer. He also pointed out that those who obtained permits from Quebec, before the imposition of the interim control, are not subject to it.

Ms. Catherine Léger: "Where are we with the future of Saint-Michel Church? Response from Mrs. Desjardins: We are still waiting for the report from the architectural firm to complete our health file for the building. The mayor added that she would prefer its transformation into a multi-sector service center. The municipality and the chamber of commerce are working on this option. She believes that, given the financial state of the municipality, the objectives, etc., grants could be obtained to cover 80% of the costs of the transformation. "It is certain that the transformation cannot be done this year. But we hope to be able to go out to bid next spring."

A lady in the room comes to ask for confirmation of what she understood from the previous interventions on the modification of the regulations regarding renting, foreseen in the draft regulation 2017-498-19 (Cf. 8.6). Same response as to previous interventions on the matter by the mayor.

Ms. Ramona Iordache: (Again on the impact of By-law 2017-498-19 on short-term rentals; case here of investors on the Chemin du Lac-Thurson side). "We made disbursements; but everything is frozen with your interim control... What's going to happen to us? We don't want to be forgotten. We've all invested our assets in this project. We've been held back by the pandemic, by the elections, and now by the interim control; we want to know what direction we're being taken." Rep: "For the sixth time, I'm responding that item 8.6 does not affect short-term leasing."

A gentleman asked:
- What will the consultations look like and what will the council do with them. Will it be like the one in January with the lake associations? Ans: Yes, that would be fine and the council has taken into account the recommendations that came out of that.
- Will the interim monitoring last 90 days? Ans: There is no set duration.

A disgruntled older first responder returned to the microphone to explain that he had purchased land a few years ago, specifying that it was for the construction of rental cottages. But now that the cottages have been built, he can no longer obtain a permit because of the freeze (Indeed!)

Another asked for clarification on the content of this interim control and on the qualifications of those who will see to the modification of the regulations. Answer: We are working with lawyers, urban planners; we have Councillor Gosselin who follows these files on Council and who has seen snow.

Question on item 7.1, Councillor Horan's presentation on the Public Land Use Plan. Ans: Ms. Horan resumed her explanations; while Ms. Desjardins explained that the Department is consulting with hunters, municipalities, etc., to review its five-year plan. Since we have a lot of public land in Wentworth-Nord, we want to express our concerns in this regard.

A stakeholder is concerned that the interim control and what it entails may take years... Councillor Gosselin replies that information must be prepared to allow citizens to participate in an informed manner in the consultations and to give their opinion on the proposals presented. The councillor will indicate that his profession is to build cottages, etc.; that he cannot be against that.

Ms. Johanne Pagé asked:
- What is happening with animal control, since the SPA has been dismissed. She can no longer have a tag for her dog, which would assure her that it is protected. Ans: The mayor explains that the SPA wants to impose its rules on the municipality. But, some of them are contrary to the solution to be considered for the case, among others, of the 50 stray cats on the side of the Notre-Dame Lake, (whose reproduction must be prevented). Wentworth-Nord did not renew its contract; it will see to the animal control and will send you a license for your dog...
- The Dubois curve has still not been straightened, except for a small fifty foot section; what will happen to it? Answer: We don't own the road and we can't take the hand of the Department of Transportation.
- What about the closed trails? JP: You are not answering our questions.

A gentleman: Why are you so focused on short-term rentals. Do you want to close us? Yes or no? The mayor replies that she does not respond to ultimatums.
Without prejudice; by Carl Chapdelaine
Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version) & Linguee

What about business?

Amazing news at the last Municipal Council meeting: By the will of committed citizens, the Chambre de commerce et de développement durable Wentworth-Nord has just been born. But who sees businesses in our municipality? (It is true that this is a community project, which is not limited to the traditional fields of activity of these institutions.) There are no more businesses in Montfort, and it is necessary to fight to keep the few that are still open in Laurel, as described in a report by Radio-Canada radio: Sauver des commerces de proximité. The reporter, René Saint-Louis, had the chance to be invited to the public meeting to save the Nouveau resto de la Rivière Perdue, in Laurel, which was taken over by the Maison de Sophie and became the Rendez-vous des 4 pôles, which we heard about several months ago.The reporter, René Saint-Louis, had the chance to be invited to the public meeting to save the Nouveau resto de la Rivière Perdue, in Laurel, which was taken over by the Maison de Sophie and became the Rendez-vous des 4 pôles, which we heard about several months ago.

Indeed, due to financial difficulties or lack of succession, alternatives are rare to keep businesses alive in small municipalities. Due to a lack of succession, the century-old grocery/general store at the eastern entrance to Laurel was taken over by the Coop de solidarité Laurel Station in 2011. The MRC prefect and former mayor of Wentworth-Nord, Mr. André Genest, reminded the reporter that there was once a bakery, a gas station and even a hotel in Laurel. It is known that, at the time of the presence of the Montfort orphanage, there was a hotel and businesses in this village. Mr. Genest added that the cooperative model seemed to him to have been the most successful in such cases. We had to stop looking for goods and services in distant cities when they were available locally.

The result of this cooperative movement was the Coopérative des 4 Pôles, dedicated to the development of tourism in the four villages (Wentworth-Nord - Lac-des-Seize-Îles); involved in the survival of the Lac-des-Seize-Îles General Store, now closed and in the process of being restructured; involved in restaurant services for the latter as well as for the Laurel Station Cooperative; a gasoline supplier (in the Sixteen Islands?); in charge of the Shuttle on the Sixteen Islands Lake; and other. However, it is itself undergoing restructuring. Co-ops are said to have twice the life expectancy of private businesses, the report says, but they face the same challenges as private businesses. In fact, our perception of cooperatives may be tainted by the fact that they are often formed to take over a failing business, with the priority of saving threatened jobs and often local services. If the profitability is not there, the effort will be in vain, and the money invested will often be lost.
As one participant in the report points out, one would have to travel 60 km to get to and back with a “quart” of milk purchased in Saint-Sauveur or Lachute. "Offering frozen meals, at a good price for the elderly clientele (or in the form of) lamb chops in sauce for vacationers who arrive at their cottage on Fridays"; offering the renowned small sandwiches of the 4 Poles Co-op catering service; or being a drop-off point for the SAQ; are among the many adaptations put to the test by the Laurel Station Co-op. Loyal customers of the business feel that residents are not sufficiently aware of the services it offers. There is certainly also an awareness to be developed with this potential clientele. It is at this price that the few existing or to be attracted local businesses could currently flourish in Wentworth-Nord.

Doesn't increasing the clientele, or reaching a threshold of frequentation that will ensure the profitability of businesses, also imply an increase in the number of residents and visitors? The municipality is announcing a 12% increase in its budget; most of the increase in revenue involved will come from various taxes, including property tax. The arrival of new valuable properties or integrated projects, in the Montfort sector or elsewhere, and while making the best use of the municipal infrastructures already in place, would not be sufficient to increase these property revenues enough to absorb the anticipated increase in expenses. So, we need more? And the gentrification of the area and the tax increases may affect less affluent households.

But the current imposition of interim controls is intended, among other things, to better match real estate development with environmental protection. Will this result in a halt to construction or a greater effort to put in place the infrastructures that will allow for "sustainable" development, meaning development that will not harm the environment or the peace of mind of current residents?

There is an outcry against integrated projects, especially those for short-term rentals! With good reason, since the anticipated access to the village, to the parking lots, to the lakes and to our greenway, for these new residents, causes problems. The same outcry against visitors, for the same reasons. The services offered at the Montfort Pavilion are being eliminated; kayak, bicycle and other rentals are being abolished to dissuade visitors from venturing out. The Aerobic Corridor is closed for the winter and is a year-round problem. The Orphan Trail is underutilized, and its refuge abandoned.

Talking about tourism has become taboo. In terms of visitation, are large lakes, such as Lake St. Francois-Xavier, the only one here with some public access, already saturated? Or shouldn't more appropriate developments be considered: new public beaches here and there, bypass via Chemin Sainte-Marie in Montfort or parking lots on the outskirts, like at the Tremblant Resort, etc.? Will the decisions taken following this interim control put an end to all these contradictions?

This control imitates neighbouring cities that have done the same, but Wentworth-Nord does not have the physiognomy and character of these cities. In Sainte-Adèle, one is an Adélois; in Wentworth-Nord, one is primarily a resident of this or that lake, and one does not know well who lives or what happens at the neighbouring lake; and even less so in the other two villages of the municipality. The sense of place is very different, and fears about growth do not necessarily have the same meaning. In these towns, tourism and real estate development are part of the economy; they support businesses and municipal revenues. Now they need to set a threshold for development and opt for densification, or, as in Saint-Colomban, impose a levy on new construction. Wentworth-Nord is not at that point; quite the contrary. But, in its quest for equitable financing, it is adding an environmental tax and a surcharge on integrated short-term rental projects for garbage and recycling collection.

Yes, a chamber of commerce; but this is just the beginning. We have, by luck and determination of residents, a Lake St. Francois-Xavier Environmental Fund. Wouldn't we need an economic development fund, if we could find the financial backers; administered by a council that would know how to draw up a picture of the situation, advise the administration and promote the realization of admissible projects?

By Carl Chapdelaine

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version) & Linguee

Special Council Meeting on Taxation 2023 (Report)

Are present the members of the council: Mrs. Colleen Horan, Lyne Chapados, Karine Dostie and Mr. Eric Johnston, as well as Mrs. Danielle Desjardins, mayor, who will preside over the meeting, assisted by Mr. Ron Kelley, general manager. The Zoom counter indicates 22 persons and the meeting, which follows the budget presentation, will last only 9 minutes.

  • Adoption of By-Law 2022-609 decreeing the imposition of a special tax for the protection of the environment. This tax will allow to carry out certain projects in this field, had indicated the mayor at the time of the presentation of this draft by-law. It will be (roughly) $50 per tax account.
  • Adoption of By-law 2019-562-1 amending By-law 2019-562 imposing a special tax on vacant lots. 2023 will be the last year that there will be a tax on vacant lots.
Here, Mr. Johnston points out that a draft by-law number does not match a first version (?)

  • Adoption of By-Law 2023-580 to decree the imposition of taxes, compensations and tariffs for municipal services for the fiscal year 2023. The adoption of this by-law follows the adoption of the budget.
11% tax increase: Tax (all taxes) revenues increase from $4,485,891 in 2022 to $5,101,294 in 2023, i.e. 11%. (Cf. Budget)

Question period
No questions.
Without prejudice; by Carl Chapdelaine
Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version) & Linguee

W-N 2023 Budget & PTI 2023-4-5 presentation on Jan. 26, 2023 (report))

Government housing support    Video version       Power Point

At the podium, Councillors Colleen Horan, Karine Dostie and Eric Johnston. Mrs. Danielle Desjardins, Mayor, will present the budget and the Plan triennal d’investissement (three-year capital expenditure plan) 2023, 24, 25 by means of a Power point. The Director General, Mr. Ron Kelley, assisted the council. 

During this special forty-minute council meeting, the Zoom meter will show up to twenty participants. Due to the weather, the mayor explained, the room at the Laurel Community Centre will be empty.

Budget 2023
In her introduction, the mayor reminded everyone that the property value of homes, including land, has increased significantly; by 50% on average, and even by 100% for some. However, Council has lowered the tax rate to compensate.

The budget is increasing by 12% this year. Like other municipalities, inflation has affected us. We also have to deal with an increase in salaries. There is no budgetary surplus, bequeathed by the previous administration, that could allow us to absorb part of these increases.
In addition, the MRC is giving us an increase that constitutes 3% of our own tax increase. Its tax rate for residual materials is increasing by 25%, which results in a huge increase of 20% in our contribution, or $140,000. This increase does not seem justified to us in this time of tightening finances. "I voted against this budget of the MRC... Smaller municipalities cannot afford to support such increases." In total, our contribution to the MRC budget constitutes 25% of our own.

  • The highlights of the budget are $7,240,927 for revenues, as well as for expenses, of which, for the latter, $6,466,079 in the operating fund and $774,848 in financing costs. Here again, inflation has played a role.
  • Assessment (taxable values) and roll value for 2023: The assessed value of all properties is $896,502,600. Their average value is $375,000; to which corresponds a tax increase of approximately $264(?).
  • Taxes and compensations: The general property tax rate of $0.446 per $100 of assessment in 2022 drops to $0.350 in 2023, to compensate for the increase in assessment. In addition, there is a tax for the improvement of the road network, a tax for the SQ, a new tax for the environment, of $50 per property (we have many projects, for the lakes among others, and they must be financed); the tax for the disposal of household waste and recycling, which increases from $167 to $203 on residences, due to the increase of 25% by the MRC. Finally, there is an additional tax of $1,000 for the latter service aimed at short-term landlords; the number of tenants can rise to 20, 30, or even 50 per establishment, significantly increasing the municipal collection costs (around the semi-founded bins). The basic annual tax as well as the green tax (ecocentre) on residences and vacant lots are also increasing.
  • General administration expenses: $30,000 in 2023 for "Clerk's Office and Elections", compared to $5,000 due to the by-election to council that will be held in District 2.
  • Property assessment expenses: 2022, being an assessment year, had a more than double amount.
  • In Administration - other, it goes from $395,114 in 2022 to $295,413 in 2023, because, by becoming permanent, some staff are simply no longer classified in this line item.
  • In transportation, snow removal, for a normal winter, will cost more because of the increase in the price of gasoline mainly.
  • In environmental health, we have seen that the collection of residual materials costs more. The focus on the environment for 2023 and the new tax explain the increase from $62,290 in 2022 to $201,019 in 2023.
  • In urban planning, the expenses for hiring new staff explain that the cost will be $477,918 in 2023, compared to $381,186 in 2022.
Here, the mayor indicates that there will be links, with the publication of the budget on the municipality's website, to information on government assistance programs for people 65 years and older or disadvantaged who cannot afford the cost of property taxes. (Government housing support)

Plan triennal d’investissement – PTI (three-year capital expenditure plan or program)
  • Capital projects for 2023: We note the $13,275,600 for roads, for the rehabilitation of the Route Principale, Jackson and Millette Roads, which could not start in 2022. Here, Councillor E. Johnston specified that there are grants totaling approximately $12M for this project. Ms. Desjardins added that there are several ways to finance these investments: taxes, loans, leasing, etc.
  • Administration (2023): $53,000 will be required to replace our outdated network and computer programs.
  • Environment (2023): Note an expense of $2,000 for signage in the Newaygo sector, and $1,000 for the purchase of buoys for Lake Saint-François-Xavier.
  • Recreation and culture (2023): There are a new platform and anchors for 20 boats at the Newaygo marina and a generator at St-Michel Church. In addition, $70,000 is provided for the Cap rocheux Lookout in Laurel.
  • In the PTI Capital Summary, the $13.8M in 2023 is primarily due to the road restoration project; the figure will drop to $1.6M in 2025. Of the latter amount, $1.5M will be for recreation and culture, while only the relocation of the shelter (Orphans' Belvedere?) and the Montfort Community Centre project are highlights.
The mayor indicated that the details for 2024 and 2025 will be available on the municipality's website.
Councillor Johnston moved the adoption of the budget; it was done. Same for the PTI.

Question period
  • The mayor will explain here that the evaluation of the total property value in the municipality, which is close to $1 billion, is used for the calculation of different financial allocations by the governments.
  • André and Cécile. The question is about the Cap rocheux Belvedere at Lake Laurel. 70 000$ for this development seems huge, in these times of tax increases and other things... Rep. There is a 30 000$ grant here. AC: There is $40,000 left...
Here the mayor recalls that other municipalities have much higher tax increases: "Around 18% in Ste-Anne-des-lacs; Brownsburg-Chatham at 14%. We have no choice. You will notice that our capital expenditures are for very specific projects and are reasonable.
  • Mrs. Denyse Pinsonneault asked if the vacant lots on Chemin-de-fer Street, where construction is prohibited, are subject to the tax. Answer: No, vacant lots that cannot be built on are not taxed; and Mr. Johnston will clarify that this is particularly the case for those in this sector.

Without prejudice; by Carl Chapdelaine

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version) & Linguee

Wentworth-Nord Council Meeting Of January 18, 2023: Report

Councillors Colleen Horan, Line Chapados, Karine Dostie, Réjean Gosselin and Eric Johnston were present. Mayor Danielle Desjardins presided. The Director General, Mr. Ron Kelley, assisted the council. The Zoom meter will indicate about thirty participants, while there will be a few people present in the hall of the Laurel Community Center. The meeting will proceed smoothly and last one hour.
Items 8.7, 8.9, 8.11 and 8.13 were deferred.

2. Statement of elected officials (Mrs. Desjardins)
a. Further to requests for information, the mayor reminds that the municipality can reimburse up to $250 to citizens for their participation fees to activities at the Pays-d'en-Haut Sports Center or other municipal centers of the MRC.
b. The municipality will set up a program of twinning of neighbors to help the most vulnerable people during bad weather or others, for those who wish it.]
c. Thursday, January 26, 2023, at 6:30 p.m., there will be a presentation of the municipality's 2023 budget and its Three-Year Capital Program [Programme triennal d’immobilisation (PTI)] for 2023, 2024 and 2025. Zoom
d. The Mayor welcomed the creation of the Wentworth-Nord Chamber of Commerce by committed citizens and invited all merchants, professionals, self-employed, permanent residents or vacationers, to join. A press release will provide the necessary contact information.
e. On Friday, January 27, the municipality will hold a Lac-à-l'épaule in order, after having resolved several issues during the first year of its mandate, to begin the development of a strategic plan, with the planned implementation of various projects. Alternative programming will be presented to the public during consultations for their input.

4. Administration and correspondence
4.1 The total of salaries, purchases, disbursements and capital purchases for the month of December 2022 was $705,270, compared to $515,000 for 2021. The major expenditures were for computer equipment, a gas tank, all-terrain vehicles, etc. A lot of the municipality's equipment is obsolete.
4.2 Notice of vacancy for the position of councillor in seat number 2. No mention made of the name of Mrs. Karine Brunet (it's a complete mystery...). As there are more than 12 months before the next general election, there will be a by-election for this seat.
4.3 Notice of motion and filing of the draft by-law 2022-609 decreeing the imposition of a special tax for the protection of the environment, in order to carry out certain projects. It will be (roughly) 50$ per tax account.
4.4 Draft by-law amending the one imposing a special tax on vacant lots. It will concern those having 10 000 m2. Smaller lots will now be exempted from this tax. (The original wording of this item and the mayor's comments about a tax decrease on these lots, to compensate for the significant increase in property values, were contradicted by the interventions of Mr. Johnston and Mr. Gosselin, pointing out an error in the document. It should read: The tax will be maintained, except for small lots.
4.6 End of probation of the Director General and Clerk-Treasurer. Mr. Ron Kelly becomes permanent.
4.7 Installation of new network equipment. Given the upcoming end of life of the server, the acquisition of new network equipment becomes necessary. Quote of $57,500 accepted. To be amortized over 5 years.

5. Public Security
5.1 Report from the Chair of the Public Security Committee, the Mayor. With the Fire Safety Service, we want to improve the services to the most vulnerable people during critical events. (See 2. b.)
5.2 Tabling of activity reports from firefighters and first responders. 23 calls for the fire department in Dec. 2022, compared to 11 in Dec. 2021. The snowstorm explains the increase. There were 259 calls for the entire year of 2022. Proportionally, Wentworth-Nord had more calls than St. Sauveur in December.

6. Public works and management of municipal assets
6.1 Councillor Gosselin's report: The storm kept the team busy in December.
6.2 Road permit and maintenance agreement. Renewal of the annual agreement with the Ministry des Transports et de la Mobilité durable (of Transportation and Sustainable Mobility).
6.3 Amendment to By-law 2022-606 decreeing the terms and conditions for the assumption of responsibility for the partial maintenance of a portion of Chemin-de-Fer Street (from the gate to #1042) by the municipality for the winter period 2022-2023. It is simply to add the name of a person forgotten during the previous adoption of the by-law.
7. Environment
7.1 Report from the President of the Environment Committee, Councillor Colleen Horan: Ms. Horan reminds everyone that the consultation of the Lake Associations will be held in Saint-Michel this Saturday, January 21, at 1:00 p.m. (1:30 p.m.?), under the chairmanship of Mr. Benjamin Plourde, Environment Coordinator of the municipality. Any citizen who has an interest in participating is invited, if registered.

8. Urbanism and economic development
8.1 Report from the President of the Planning Committee: We continue the work, explains Councillor Johnston.
8.2 Tabling of the list of permits from December 1st to 31, 2022: 7 general permits last December versus 9 in Dec. 2021. 736 for the year 2022 vs. 786 in 2021. For $21M in 2022 vs. $25M in 2021. 45 subdivision permits in 2022 vs. 30 in 2021.
8.3 Hiring of an inspector in urban planning and environment, Mr. Eric Duhaime; and we are looking for another one...
8.4 Granting of a mandate to Hélène Doyon, Urbanist-Consultant, for the preparation of urban planning by-laws, within the framework of the current Interim Control. She will ensure the conformity of the bylaw proposals. The mayor indicated that it is hoped to lift this control as soon as possible. The rate is 155$/hour, for a total of 50 hours and 7 750$.
8.5 Granting of a personnel loan mandate to BC2, a consulting firm in urban planning and land use, for professional assistance in urban planning, following a tender. The municipality needs it to support its Urban Planning and Environment Department. These personnel will also be able to see to the application of the regulations (issuance of statements of offence, etc.). They are Mr. Vincent Simard and (or) François XYZ.

9. Recreation, culture and community life
9.1. Report from the President of the Recreation, Culture and Community Life Committee, Line Chapados: The Councillor invites the population to take advantage of the recreation chalet and the skating rink under the courtyard, which are open.

11. Subject of public interest
Lyne Chapados (?) Lunch meeting on Sunday, the 22nd, at the Lost River Restaurant, to discuss restoration (?). Seating to be reserved.

Question period
Mrs. Johanne Demers (in the room): How come there is no more help in Wentworth-Nord for people in difficulty, seniors, during storms or other? The mayor answers by pointing out to Mrs. Demers that she missed the beginning of the meeting where it was discussed. We will work with the Fire Department to set up a matching service between neighbors. We have more and more elderly people. During the big storm in the spring, everyone collaborated; but we could not obtain the list of vulnerable people from the Centre de santé et de services sociaux (CSSS), because it is confidential. We are going to draw one up. Households here should have a three-day supply of food to deal with such situations. Vulnerable people should be in contact with a resource. Councillor Karine Dostie agrees.

Mrs. Marie-Chantal Prévost:
  • Asks for an explanation of the tax on vacant lots (see 4.4).
  • Why is the Aerobic Corridor not cleared of snow in Laurel? Mayor's reply: "The MRC decided to close the Aerobic Corridor for the winter... We pay 7% for all the parks of the MRC... We have a feeling of great inequity.
  • Can we go skiing or snowshoeing at the Base de plein air? Answer: It's private; you must contact the owners.
Myriam Rioux
  • About emergency situations: We open the church in St-Michel in these cases, with food and everything; but we had nobody because the residents were not aware of it. You have to call the church on these occasions. The service should be publicized, through the tax account or whatever. It would be very important to put a generator at the church. It would also be necessary to see to clear the roads by snowstorm... The mayor: all the centers which will be used as refuge will be equipped with generator.
  • On the smearing of houses in Saint-Michel, a complaint was filed with Saint-Sauveur and the municipality. Can't we install a camera at the entrance of the Lac-Farmer Road, to have a proof?
Ms. Diane Turcotte:
Regarding Phase 2 of the Dumont Integrated Project:
  • Is the exchange of lots with the city, allowing the realization of the project, adopted? Ans: No.
  • What will be the process put in place for the adoption of this phase 2, which foresees about 30 housing units, and which was denounced in a petition signed by more than 200 people? Mayor's reply: It will be the usual procedure: Study by the Planning Advisory Committee. The project will have to be presented to a meeting of the municipal council for eventual adoption.
Ms. Brigitte Thomas: Concerning the tax on vacant lots, it is aberrant to see that small lots, as in the case of many that are not exploited, that do not even have an access road, will no longer be taxed, while the tax on the larger lots will increase because of the increase in the evaluation. Many property owners will be in for a nasty surprise when they receive their tax bill. Mayor's reply: The tax on vacant lots will eventually disappear; we must see, with the lifting of this tax on small lots, a beginning of the process.

In closing, Mrs. Desjardins invited everyone not to miss the budget presentation next Thursday, the 26th.
With all due respect, by Carl Chapdelaine

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version) & Linguee

Consultation On The Facade Of Houses

Tenue le 18 janvier 2023, sous la présidence du Directeur de l'urbanisme et de l'environnement, M. Benoît Cadieux. Une douzaine de personnes sur le compteur de Zoom.

Migrants In The MRC Des Pays-D'en-Haut

"Between July 1, 2021 and July 1, 2022, 206,700 Quebecers changed their administrative region of residence, 11% less than in 2020‒2021, a year marked by a considerable increase in migration between regions. Fewer people left Montréal and other large centres over the past year, indicating that the effect of the pandemic on interregional migration may already have faltered."1 Note that we are not dealing with second homes here.
According to the Institut de la statistique du Québec's table of inter-regional migrations, at the MRC level, there were, in the MRC des Pays-d'en-Haut and for the period 2021-22, 4,019 entrants and 3,078 departures, for a population gain of 941 individuals and a net rate of 1.97%, compared to only 1.12% for the entire Laurentian region. For the previous period, the inflows were 5,371, the outflows 3,607, for a gain of almost twice as many individuals (1,763).2

The contrast between the two periods was different for the balance of international (emigrant/immigrant or temporary) and interprovincial migration, which must be added to the interregional migration described above. According to provisional data, adapted from Statistics Canada by the Institut de la statistique du Québec, in the MRC des Pays-d'en-Haut, from July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022, the balance of these international migrations resulted in an increase of 111 individuals. It was 85 for the same period from 2020 to 2021. Interprovincial migration, for its part, saw 142 people enter the MRC, compared to 74 leaving, for a gain of 68 individuals, compared to 86 for the previous period.3

1.  https://statistique.quebec.ca/en/document/interregional-migratory-exchanges-in-quebec
2. In-migrants, out-migrants, net internal migration and corresponding rates, Québec RCMs (grouped by administrative region)
3. International and interprovincial migration, census divisions (sorted by administrative region), Québec, 2001-2022


(Please report any errors or discrepancies in interpretation).


By Carl Chapdelaine

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)