Wentworth-Nord

2nd consultation on zones allotted for integrated projects

2nd consultation on the 1st draft by-law 2017-498-16 (integrated projects)

Mr. Benoît Cadieux, Director of Planning and Environment Services of the municipality, accompanied the members of the council. (No sign of Mr. Eric Johnston, President of the Comité consultatif en urbanisme (CCU).] There were 13 participants on Zoom and we guessed about 20 in the room. The mayor indicates that we will have to stick to the hour and a half scheduled for this consultation.

The consultation, contrary to what was witnessed in the room at the last council meeting, went more smoothly. Mrs. D. Desjardins had warned that the meeting would be terminated if there were any outbursts.

Presentation
The urban planner presented his Power Point projection explaining the draft by-law, while indicating the meaning of the symbols on the attached plans.
This 1st draft by-law 2017-498-16 (1er projet de règlement 2017-498-16) proposes amendments to the Zoning By-law 2017-498. It "aims to significantly reduce the number of zones in which development in the form of an integrated project will be authorized, without hindering the realization of projects that have already received approval or those that are relatively well advanced in their process”. It may be subject to a referendum request.
Among the expectations, it is indicated: "that development in the form of an integrated project seems to be increasingly popular with real estate developers because of the less strict regulatory provisions that it allows".

Question period
Mr. Paul Hamel, present in the room and describing himself as a resident of Wentworth-Nord for 50 years, gives some arguments in defense of integrated projects. He complained that residents coming from the city want to modify a situation that the local people were happy with. He will be applauded and followed by other speakers at his side. Mr. Serge Baron, who claims to be the representative of the group "Développement Durable Wentworth-Nord" will add more. We noted, among their arguments against the proposed amendments, the following:
- Integrated projects are much more beneficial to the municipality than projects without this status.
  1. The establishment of infrastructure (road, etc.) and its maintenance (snow removal, etc.) are at the expense of the developer and the owners.
  2. Space is used with the densification that environmentalists are now focusing on. Narrower streets, less scattering of houses, common services, etc.
  3. In response to the mayor's justification for these changes (below): And, why not integrated senior projects in the future?
- Developers or owners have developed plans and invested in good faith: you come in and change everything without consulting them.
- They bring much needed creativity.
- We need services for people in Wentworth-Nord; this zoning will restrict the development of its economy and those services.
- We want to know where we are going; is everything off limits? You are creating uncertainty that will immobilize developers. What will be the criteria for making certain projects acceptable? We are not against guidelines. (We'll see what municipal officials have to say about this below).
- Developers and owners are the first to seek harmony, respect for the environment, etc., with their projects.
- A resident of Farmer Lake, whose family has lived there for ages, is asking that this area be excluded from these prohibitions. There are not and will not be any such projects on our properties anyway.
- It's not for the municipality to decide for the owners; it's there to manage municipal affairs. You are not going to stop everyone's projects here!

Mr. Cadieux had indicated that they were following the movement started elsewhere in the Laurentians (?) (We could hardly hear his words.) He pointed out that the zoning could be modified to accommodate acceptable integrated projects where they would normally be prohibited.
Councillor Réjean Gosselin, who proposed the draft by-law, recalling that he had been on Council for three decades, indicated that:
- If, at the beginning, projects can start well and meet the objectives, the dispute can arise later between the owners and compromise the situation.
- An integrated project on a lake, already inhabited by residents, can mean major disruptions to their environment, even nuisances (as in the case of short-term rentals that are being addressed by other proposed amendments to the same bylaw).
- Loopholes in the current regulations must be closed. We need to reposition ourselves and make sure we move forward safely; starting with a few areas.
- Integrated projects accepted under the previous council are already raising red flags.
- Council will take all of this into consideration and report back to you in July.
- The citizens of my district have given me the mandate to represent them and their interests on Council.

The mayor, in response to questions and to justify the development of these amendments, will explain that:
- The objectives of the authorization of integrated projects, developed in the premises of the elaboration of the Urban Plan, in 2016, 2017, have been diverted. Among other things, it was intended to allow access to homeownership for less fortunate households, through the pooling of services (and by lowering the requirements that otherwise applied: smaller properties, etc...?). The opposite may be true.
- Each project will be assessed on its own merits. But you are talking to the Planning Department. It is not council members who analyze your projects.
- There will be grids for analysis on a case-by-case basis, as is already done for any project.
- To the resident of Farmer Lake, who does not want to be zoned this way, she will ask what he will do if one of his sons decides to install an integrated project that could spoil the harmony that reigns in his environment.

Mr. Pascal Moreau, a regular attendee of the municipal meetings, will come to support the proposed bylaw amendment:
- Integrated projects end up breaking up or being handed over to the municipality, which then has to provide the services, from its budget, as elsewhere on its territory.
- Current integrated projects do not serve low-income families as they were intended to do.
- Other municipalities have banned them (judging them to be rather harmful or considered a nuisance).
- We have seen problems with such projects listed in previous municipal meetings. People want peace and quiet.

A speaker mentioned a case at Thurson Lake as an example, but we were unable to understand what she said.

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

Meeting Of Council Of Wentworth-Nord, june 15, 2022 (report)

Held at the Laurel Community Centre and by videoconference. In attendance: Councillors Karine Dostie, Karine Brunet, Line Chapados, Colleen Horan and Councillor Réjean Gosselin; Mayor Danielle Desjardins presiding. Councillor Eric Johnston was absent for a third time. There will be three dozen participants on Zoom; for a duration of two hours. Approximately two dozen people were present in the room.

Note: As the minutes cannot be relied upon to be published at this time, and as there will be no broadcast of a recording of the session due to technical problems mentioned, this report is offered with reservations. In addition, the live broadcast started about fifteen minutes late and it was impossible for us, via videoconference, to clearly hear the interventions of certain councillors as well as those of the citizens in the room who spoke during question period.

Administration and correspondence
4.3 Authorization of an expense in favor of Pompes et Plomberie Lachute Inc. for the purchase of culverts.
4.4 Report from Councillor Karine Dostie, President of the Human Resources Committee. The hiring of personnel and the return of personnel associated with summer work was on the agenda.
4.6 The hiring of a bookkeeper, Mrs. Thibodeau-Papineau (?), is justified by the backlog in this area, explained the mayor.
4.7 Mr. Fr. Bertrand, already employed by the municipality, is appointed interim director for the Public Works Department.
4.8 Hiring of Mr. Ron Kelly (?) as Director General and Clerk-Treasurer. The mayor will thank Mr. Jean-François René who had accepted to interrupt his retirement to take the interim. He will also ensure the transfer of files.
4.9 There were many alarms and false alarms following the storm of May 21; but there will be no penalties for the citizens at fault, announced Mrs. Desjardins.
4.10 The 2007 Ford Escape is no longer in use, and it would be too expensive to repair it; it will therefore be sold.
4.14 A mandate will be given to an external firm to audit the 2021 financial statements.
4.15 A proposed agreement was negotiated with the employees. It was hoped that the employees would adopt it the day after this meeting.
4.17 Councillor Line Chapados and Ressources communautaires Sophie have a " maternelle 4 ans " project to submit for government assistance. We understand that part of the municipal library would house the kindergarten.

Public Safety
The mayor, chairperson of the said committee, indicates that there were many more calls this year than during the same period in 2021. (Probably due to the devastating storm on May 21).
5.4 Draft by-law 2016-465-4, concerning fire prevention on the territory of Wentworth-Nord, will allow, among other things, the issuance of tickets for those caught lighting a fire during prohibited periods, etc.
5.6 Hiring of two constables for the 2022 summer period: Mr. Archambault and XYZ.

Public Works and Municipal Asset Management
6.1 In his report, Mr. Réjean Gosselin, President of the Roads Committee, explains that the damage to the road network in Wentworth-Nord, caused by the storm of May 21, imposed a huge effort on Public Works: to reopen streets blocked by falling trees and to push branches on the roadside, etc. He indicates that this has inevitably led to a significant increase in the workload and has necessarily caused a delay in the current schedule of this service.
6.3 Awarding of a contract to Excavation XYZ for resurfacing...

Environment
Councillor Colleen Horan, president of the Environment Committee, speaks, among other things and for the little that we could hear of her remarks, about the problem of bulky items deposited in the wrong places. She also reminded us that unused medication does not go in the bins but to the pharmacy.
She also gave indications on the project of the municipality to organize the arrival of barges on the lakes where residents do not have road access. Would there be a service available from Lac-des-Seize-Îles; but probably too expensive? Or a company near Mont-Tremblant, but whose availability is not for tomorrow? (We didn’t catch much of her presentation, but we will eventually ask her for more details to let you know...)

Urban planning and economic development
In the absence of the president of the committee involved, Mr. Eric Johnston, Mrs. Desjardins presents the situation, the requests for minor exemptions, the PIIA, etc.
8.2 Tabling of the list of permits from May 1 to 31, 2022 indicates that the value, not the number, of the sums involved ($3.5M?) is greater than at this time last year, which indicates, according to the mayor, that the projects are bigger.
She took the opportunity to point out the shortage of inspectors in the municipality and the consequent delay in issuing permits. Ms. Desjardins urged applicants not to harass staff unnecessarily; this could make the situation worse by causing employees to leave.
8.8 to 8.24 In these PIIAs, there will be 6 main building constructions, plus 4 new constructions on Champlain Street (what project?). In 8.24, the applicant was asked to use a dark membrane instead of a white one for his roof, to respect the surrounding style.

Recreation, culture and community life
Councillor Chapados, president of the responsible committee, talks about the action plan; but we were not able to hear her words.
9.1. Adoption of the Family and Seniors Policy of the MRC des Pays-d'en-Haut.

Topics of Public Interest
Ms. Desjardins expressed her sincere thanks to the Public Works Department employees, firefighters, volunteers, and citizens for their tireless efforts during the May 21 storm. She underlines the involvement of Councillor Chapados in the follow-up with elderly or underprivileged people in Laurel during this event. She is pleased with the fact that Town Hall reacted quickly to the disaster and that no one was injured. But she is saddened by the material losses suffered by many citizens.
She promises a post-mortem analysis of the measures taken, with the help of the services of the ministry concerned.
The mayor hopes that the citizens who would have had to cut down trees following this storm have taken pictures of the site. Those who would have taken advantage of the storm to illegally cut down trees, in the riparian zone for example, could be prosecuted if identified.

Green Day: The mayor invites citizens to come and meet with councillors and others who would be present on Saturday morning, if the weather permits. (We tried to reach Town Hall today to find out what would happen in case of bad weather; but without success).
There will be no distribution of shrubs and other items, as in previous years, due to the overload of work at the Urban Planning and Environment Department, which is responsible for this. But the fire truck and the ice cream truck should make the youngest and the oldest happy... Kiosks: Coalition navigation (boats, Eurasian water milfoil, etc.); residual materials (MRC). The new directory for seniors will be available. There will be a food service on site.

St. John's Day Celebration (June 23 at Town Hall). Various activities are planned: bonfire, salute to the flag, etc. 

The Sopair will deal with the trails.

Question period
Note: Questions from the floor were partly inaudible.
- Short term rental. This was mainly an informal group of citizens asking for explanations and expressing their opposition to the proposed by-law that will limit the number of rooms in short-term rentals (to 3?).
Owners and promoters said that they had invested in their properties and that their projects would be reduced and even threatened by this modification to the regulations.
One stakeholder said that this planned rental allowed her to buy her property, but that she now saw its profitability threatened. On the other hand, this activity brought its share of economic profit to the municipality which should see to the development of commercial services for the betterment of its future.
The mayor tried to explain, in the hubbub in the room caused by an overexcited speaker and citizens eager to plead their case, that the project aimed to prevent the regulation from continuing to allow some to offer hotel accommodation, disguised as short-term rentals, with too many rooms. Nuisances for the surrounding citizens and important costs for the municipality result from these excesses, for garbage collection, etc.
She proposed a meeting in which the fears and justifications put forward by the concerned citizens would be received and considered.

- Evaluation by Evimbec. Some citizens, having just received the notice that this firm could enter houses and take pictures to complete the property evaluation ordered by the MRC, were strongly opposed to it. Mrs. Desjardins, pointing out that this was not the responsibility of the municipality, was going to inquire about the matter.
- Trails. Some questions came up on the subject.
- Mr. André Philippe Hébert, from the firm Arrimage, asked if the municipality was finally going to get connected and if, with the $2.5M promised by the government for the rehabilitation of the main roads, it could not undertake, as early as this year, some preliminary work: tree felling, etc., by local contractors
He also asked if the municipality was going to reimburse the salaries owed to his employees for the work done in this file. The mayor answered that this would be done against presentation of the accounts.
Without prejudice, by Carl Chapdelaine

Meeting of Council of Wentworth-Nord, May 18, 2022 (Report)

Held at the Laurel Community Centre and by videoconference. In attendance: Councillors Karine Dostie, Karine Brunet, Line Chapados, Colleen Horan and Councillor Réjean Gosselin; Mayor Danielle Desjardins presiding. Councillor Eric Johnston was absent. Mr. Jean-François René act as Director general. The Zoom counter will show 43 participants at the beginning of the meeting, and we will see it at 50 at the beginning of the question period; it will last … hours.
Sound problems will not allow us to follow the very beginning of the session on Zoom. This will also affect the question period.

Projet d'ordre du jour        Video Version won't be available

Mayor's Statement

...
Administration
4.2 Authorization to sell assets: As the municipal authorities have decided to stop renting equipment at the Montfort Pavilion, they will be sold. Priority will be given to Wentworth-Nord organizations (Kayaks, paddle boards, bicycles and others, to replace the equipment of the Coop des 4 Pôles, had cost the municipality several thousand dollars).
4.4 The cost of the service of the Sûreté du Québec is nearly $ 1 million per year to the municipality, yet it is little present. The new director in Saint-Sauveur, Mr. Boucher, has promised to increase this presence.
4.7 Rent Supplement Program Private Market (SL1): Because of the strong growth of our population, there is a need for a certain number of low-cost housing units.
4.8 Mr. E. Johnston will replace Mrs. K. Brunet on the Sports and Outdoor Committee.

Public Security
5.1 There were 15 calls in April compared to 8 last year. Most of them are false alarms.
5.3 The title of Mrs. Martyne Charette becomes : Director of First Responders and Civil Service.
5.4 We are in the process of better defining the mandates of our constables, including access to bodies of water, parking lots and nuisance in general.

Public Works and Municipal Asset Management
6.1 Mr. R. Gosselin announces the hiring of Mr. Kevin Asselin as Director of Public Works, and Mr. Fr. Bertrand…
A decision will have to be made between the purchase of a new grader or the awarding of contracts for this operation.

Environment

7.1 -The boat wash stations are open. A voluntary contribution will be requested from the users.
     - Buoys will be put in place at Lake St-Francois-Xavier this week or next.
7.2 Draft By-law 2018-526-1 amending By-law 2018-526 concerning the protection of and access to bodies of water (boat washing, stickers, control, etc.). Withdrawn (We want to find another system.)

Urbanism and economic development
(Ms. Desjardins is replacing Mr. Johnston who is still absent today)
8.2 The number of permits has decreased by almost half compared to last year; this probably reflects the slowdown everywhere in real estate. But with those issued before, the construction sector remains very active.
8.3 Mr. Michael Duhaime, who has found a better job with another employer, has agreed to stay one half-day per week in our administration.
8.6 Regarding the draft by-law 2017-497-2, which was the subject of several criticisms at the last council meetings, two articles on trails and links were removed. The draft by-law was poorly presented; however, it is hoped that these removals will be to everyone's satisfaction.
8.7 Notice of Motion and Tabling of First Draft By-law 2017-498-16. Integrated projects allow for more ease ...
8.8 Mrs. Mc Sween having withdrawn from the Planning Advisory Committee (Laurel sector), council has chosen Mr. Cyrille Michaud to replace her.
8.14 PIIA. The project on a summit should not, according to the provisions made by the developer, spoil the visual aspect. The Planning Advisory Committee recommends its adoption. (To be verified)
8.17 PIIA. Construction of a main building in an integrated project, on Pionnier Street. Accepted
8.21 PIIA. Subdivision project on 4th, 5th and 7th streets. This project involves the consolidation of lots and the reconstruction of buildings.
8.22 PIIA. This is a tourist lodging house. The developer has complied with the requirements.
8.23 At Domaine de la Musarde, the municipality will take land in lieu of the 7% required for a subdivision, for parks, playgrounds, or natural spaces, rather than the equivalent amount of approximately $50,000 (White Moose Project). The purpose is to prevent the enclosure of a huge area of public land, to block the passage of trails or other.

Recreation, Culture and Community Life
Report from the Committee Chairperson. Councillor Line Chapados indicates that, following the formation of the committee, we will update the family policy. We want a four-year action plan.
9.1 Request for financial assistance from the Étoile du Nord organization for a community garden.
9.2 Request for financial assistance under the PRIMA program. Mrs. Danielle Thibault, Recreation and Culture, is in charge of presenting several projects; there is at least one imagined for each of the three villages. The program can subsidize them at 100%, for a maximum of $100,000.
9.4 This is the resignation of Mrs. Hélène Chartier, supervisor at Montfort Pavilion.
9.5. Hiring of reception attendants for the boat wash at the Montfort Pavilion for the 2022 summer season: Diane Loranger (?), Patrick Pagé (?) and XYZ.
9.7 and 9.8. Request for participation in the program of support to the municipal real estate heritage - component 1b, for the restoration of buildings. The MRC considered 14 projects and recommended three, including the restoration of the Saint-Michel church.
9.11 Saint-Michel Advisory Committee Meeting. For Councillor Karine Brunet, it is first necessary to establish a health booklet for the building.

Question period

The items on the agenda had been dealt with quickly, but the question period was going to be much more laborious.

- Mr. Djerfi, who had asked several questions at the April meeting, returned to some of them. He had even put together a petition to support one of his requests. But he did not get an answer. The mayor told him to address himself to Mr. Cadieux, (while putting her in copy?).
Concerning the overflow of water of the roadway which affects his property and those of his neighbors, of which he had informed the council and for which the municipality has not yet taken any measure, councillor R. Gosselin, will indicate to him that Mr. Kevin Asselin has just been hired as Director of Public Works. We must first make an overview. Then we will see to the priority files with our resources or with the help of contractors if necessary.

- The question of the passage of trails or that of the reservation of specific lands (7%) by the municipality during private subdivisions, here and there on the territory, or the projects in this sense, added criticisms to those of the previous sessions. One participant spoke of the rumour of a trail project at Lake Wentworth. Why there? He was supported by a second and a third who said that they would have to pay for monitoring, respond to fire alarms, etc.
Despite the withdrawal of two sections of draft bylaw 207-497-2, which were the object of their contestation, the announcement of a meeting/consultation on the whole issue by the mayor, the denial of various rumors of trail openings or other but the indication of the logic of linking existing trails, including that of the Orphans, or of not allowing the enclosure of crown lands (cf. point 8.23), and the reminder of the interest in the preservation and connectivity of the trails in the municipalities of the Pays-d'en-Haut, these stakeholders continue to be concerned about the visitor reception policy that they believe the Council is developing.
According to them, this policy could infringe on their property rights. In addition, they are concerned that the influx of day-trippers, bathers and others will increase the nuisance and infringement of the peaceful haven that they have enjoyed in Wentworth-Nord or that made them choose to settle there. Mr. Pascal Moreau, who was their spokesperson here and to whom Ms. Desjardins, in her argument, pointed out that he is a cottager, emphasized the fact that he pays as much in taxes as a permanent resident.
Mr. Moreau also questioned the proposed changes to the integrated projects. The mayor said that only 6 or 7 zones will now be eligible for such projects, whereas they will be totally prohibited in Morin-Heights.
In the same vein, Mrs. Chantal Laurin, president of the Association du lac Argenté, indicated that visitors pass through private land at this lake to go camping on an island, that the control is insufficient and that the constables should collaborate with the Association; that we should not risk increasing the problem with the arrival of more people and that we don't want fat bikes. Ms. Desjardins reminds us that it is up to the owners to manage access to their property. She indicates that Mr. Ramacieri (Lac St-Victor Estates) could tell them that visitors do not abuse access to the trails.
Ms. Myriam Dujardin pointed out that the same problem exists at Lake St. Francois-Xavier, where visitors leave garbage on her property and put their paddle boards in the water without the required washing. She asserts that the control of this dumping at Montfort beach is insufficient and asks what will change when the mayor announces that the parking lot will be moved further away from this beach?
In a cruder language, a participant asked if "you receive a kick back from the government to encourage the coming of visitors. We want to have peace and no invaders”. The mayor then asked if everyone would be punished for a small portion of the offenders.

- We also noted Mr. Raymond Noël's response to the announcement of the reinstallation of the buoys delimiting a 30-metre strip of shoreline on Lake St. Francois-Xavier, where the speed limit is 30 km/h. The president of the Lake Association protests this measure, which he believes is only required on Lake Saint-François-Xavier. He claims that it is totally discretionary (not imposed by regulation) and that it goes against the majority will of the lake's residents, according to a survey commissioned by the association. (Recall that the Association's executive has been steadfastly opposed to the reinstatement of these buoys since its 2015 changing of the guard.

In fact, here's everything from the Association's published survey results on the issues to be prioritized by the Association and regarding the buoys: "Very few of you (25% or less) thought the following were important: o Issue 5: Buoys: Increase the number of buoys on the lake. Of the 15 buoys owned by the Municipality, the Association currently installs 3 buoys for danger zones and 3 for slow zones – 25%." Survey-Summary-Report (Cf. Lake Association survey, our comments.)

     District 5 Councillor Horan and the Mayor will indicate that the reinstatement of these buoys is a matter of safety, as well as protection of the lake environment. After pointing out that there are buoys on other lakes in the municipality, Ms. Desjardins concluded: "The buoys are here to stay.” The president will take note of her answer. On May 19, the buoys will have been reinstalled at the lake.

- Mrs. Diana Jegou also asked about the problems in Montfort. We don't know where we are going with the Pavilion. The mayor repeated the content of her press release; she recalled that three consultations had been held and that the solutions adopted would, among other things, respond to the majority's desire to see a decrease in traffic. But the resident pointed out that nothing that was said during these consultations is reflected in this agreement; that a reservation method was suggested; that they are disappointed with the MRC; etc.


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

By Carl Chapdelaine

PRIMA: call for projects for seniors


Through the Programme d'infrastructures municipales pour les aînés (PRIMA), the Ministère des Affaires municipales et de l'Habitation and the Secrétariat aux aînés of the Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux "offer financial support to municipalities to carry out projects for seniors". 

"The program ... provides funding to municipalities that have adopted a seniors' policy and a MADA (Municipalité amie des aînés) action plan to carry out infrastructure and development work targeting the needs of seniors."

"Municipalities have until June 15, 2022 to submit their application for financial assistance."

On Monday, May 9, about 20 Montfort/Newaygo residents, invited on the sly, attended a meeting with the mayor, Ms. Danielle Desjardins, at the Montfort pavilion, to imagine projects appropriate for seniors and likely to be subsidized by the program.

The reason for this last minute, informal meeting was to obtain authorization for the project(s) from the Council of Mayors, whose regular meeting was held the next day. The Wentworth-Nord council would also have to ratify the whole thing at its May 18 meeting, probably. Similar steps must have been taken elsewhere in the municipality.

In front of the participants, the mayor, responsible for MADA for the MRC, communicated some brief information on the program and invited them to suggest projects.

We will not attempt to list the ideas submitted here; since we do not have a record of the exchanges, we would be unable to do so. It appeared, however, that most of the ideas were for improvements to the Montfort Pavilion. A regular visitor, recalling that there was no drinking water in this former church, initiated the idea of calling on the program to dig an artesian well. Our questioning of the specific relationship between the digging of a well and the elders did not receive any response, and the project seemed to please the majority.

At the May 10 Mayors’ Council meeting, however, we heard no mention of a project to be submitted for program funding. Perhaps it was just an informal consultation with the mayors on Wentworth-Nord projects; or that only an administrative decision by the MRC is required; or perhaps it was for the next meeting, on the eve of the June 15 deadline.

Without prejudice, by Carl Chapdelaine

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

Households and Dwellings (Wentworth-Nord vs MRC des Pays-d'en-Haut)

According to the 2021 Census of Canada, the population (permanent residents) of Wentworth-Nord was of 1672 inhabitants in May 2021; an increase of 22.9% since 2016, compared to 12.0% for the MRC.1* It essentially occupied 895 private dwellings, of which 885 (98.9%) were detached single-family homes, compared to 69.1% of this type of home in the MRC and 44.6% in the whole Quebec.2  We can see how the omnipresence of the single-family home defines the type of housing in Wentworth-Nord. This characteristic must be important in the  existing or to be introduced programs for access to ownership, rental or other in the municipality.

In 2021, single persons made up 41.9% (40.5% in 20163) of households in these dwellings; for the MRC, it was only 37.7%, and 35.1% for the Quebec. Two-person households made up 43.0% of households in Wentworth-Nord, compared to 42.3% for the MRC and 34.6% for Quebec. The average was 1.9 persons per household in the municipality, compared to 2.0% for the MRC and 2.2% for Quebec. How can we explain such a high proportion of single people in Nord-Wentwortois households?

Let's combine the previous data with that of the number of men compared to women in the population of the municipality. There were 915 men for 755 women in 2021, a surprising imbalance that must have something to do with the previous statistic. And this imbalance has increased since 2016, when women represented 47.3% of the population, compared to only 45.2% in 2021.3 There is nothing like this at the MRC level and in the province as a whole, where the number of women slightly exceeds that of men. The imbalance appears in the 15 to 19 age group in Wentworth-Nord; but peaks with the 65 and over age group: 335 men versus 250 women.

Do men find it easier to find work in the municipality, while women have to move to their place of employment? For the 15 to 29 year-olds, do marriages or studies favour the departure of women to their spouse's place of residence or to their chosen educational institution? But these explanations do not hold for those 65 and older. Would it be easier for a man to live alone in a permanent residence, i.e. a single-family house, in Wentworth-Nord? Are there historical explanations?

In 2021, the average age of the Nord-Wentwortois population was 54.6 (55.0 in 2016) for men and 53.2 (53.4 in 2016) for women; compared to 49.9 and 50.4 in the MRC, or 41.8 and 43.7 in Quebec. The population of Wentworth-Nord is therefore slightly older than that of the Pays-d'en-Haut. But both are clearly older than the population of Quebec as a whole. If the 65 year-olds and more, the retirees, are more numerous in Wentworth-Nord, it is necessarily the opposite for the 0 to 14 year-olds, as well as for the 15 to 64 year-olds. One can imagine that a more developed labour market in the the towns or cities of the MRC favours a larger proportion of active population.

Those 65 and over represented 35.0% of Nord-Wentwortois in 2021 (32.5 in 2016). The 50 to 64 year-olds who follow them, constituted an almost equivalent proportion, with 33.8% (37.2% in 2016); including 135 people between 50 and 54, 200 between 55 and 59 and 230 between 60 and 64. The gradual aging of the population is therefore striking. In the evolution of the age pyramid, which follows the passage of the baby boomers, such a percentage was previously attributed to the 15 to 24 age group.

The increase in the number of retirees will therefore continue in the coming years and represent a serious social and economic issue. The labour shortage will increase and, as Mr. Simon Savard, senior economist at the Institut du Québec, points out, the professional qualifications of young people today push them towards jobs that are mainly found in cities. In this respect alone, this labour shortage is likely to affect Wentworth-Nord the most.

* If true, this percentage is surprising, and even more so for Wentworth Township, with a 28% increase. But, if it was already 12% in the MRC, the different profile of housing in Wentworth-Nord, where more than half of the residents are temporary and therefore not part of the population figure of the municipality, there may be part of the explanation. In times of Covid-19, telecommuting, or retirement housing choices, the (paper) conversion of second homes to primary residences, which increases the population figure where it occurs, could also be a factor.

For tax purposes, for example, this conversion avoids having to declare a taxable capital gain when the property is sold or the owner dies. The determination of one's principal residence is in fact required in tax returns since 2016. It should be noted, however, that the determination of the principal residence, and therefore the exact population figure in a geographic unit in the Census of Canada, is one of the main causes of statistical error in this exercise. The population figure is nevertheless essential to the determination of many administrative decisions.

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

1.  lacsaint-francois-xavier.ca/wentworth-nord
2. Census Profile, 2021 Census of Population
3. Census Profile, 2016 Census

Subject to change and awaiting your analysis and comments...; by Carl Chapdelaine

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

Municipal Council Meeting of April 20, 2022 

Ordre du jour     Video version

(Selective reporting, using notes and the broadcast recording)

Held at the Laurel Community Centre and by videoconference. In attendance: Councillors Karine Dostie, Karine Brunet, Line Chapados, Colleen Horan and Councillor Réjean Gosselin; Mayor Danielle Desjardins presiding. Councillor Eric Johnston was absent. Ms. Véronique Cronier, Assistant Clerk-Treasurer, assisted the council. The Zoom meter will show 46 participants at the beginning of the meeting and will go up to 56 at mid-session; it will last three hours.

Mayor's Statement

Ms. Desjardins immediately focused on roads. Due to the frequent freezing and thawing in the spring, the situation can be catastrophic. Municipal services are forced to make emergency repairs to the pavement with cold asphalt.

She reminds us that the $11 million restoration of Route Principale, Millette Road and Jackson Road has to be postponed to 2023, due to the delay in receiving plans and specifications. It is better to go out to bid and get the work done in the best possible condition than to rush the work until late in the fall of 2022.

She pointed out that many positions are to be filled in the administration and that an incentive of $1,000 is offered to any resident who will allow the hiring of a qualified person.

Finally, the mayor indicated that the MRC des Pays-d'en-Haut has obtained $900M from the Restauration de biens patrimoniaux program and that the Saint-Michel Church restoration and reallocation project is in second place among the MRC's priority projects in this regard.

Administration

4.6 Ms. Desjardins advised that Mr. Sylvain Michaudville, Director General and Clerk-Treasurer, had resigned effective April 20.

(4.9) Mr. Jean-François René, who retired as Director General of the municipality of Sainte-Anne-des-Lacs and who was previously Director General in Wentworth-Nord, has accepted to take over the interim position for a period of approximately three months. The mayor is pleased with this appointment.

Public Security

5.5 Appointment of Mr. Jean-Luc Groulx as commander of the public security constable service.

5.7 Purchase of a Ford FPIU Explorer Interceptor vehicle for this same constable service.

Public Works and Municipal Asset Management

6.1 Councillor Réjean Gosselin gives his report:
- Meeting with the employees.
- Budget reduced by $400,000 to respect the available share in the global budget of the municipality.
- Paving was supposed to be done on the Saint-Michel side last fall, but the quotes were not yet available to commit to it at that time. It is hoped that it will be done in July of this year.
- Dust abatement on same streets as last year.
- Recall of seasonal workers and hiring of personnel which should be completed in May.
- Awarding of contracts. Repairs, etc., not included on the programming list, will be done at the time of the execution of the work in the targeted sectors.

6.5 Authorization to call for tenders for the mowing of municipal road shoulders.

Environment

7.1. Councillor Horan (inaudible) would indicate that the Wentworth-Nord scale plan is still being developed.

7.2 Resignation of the Environmental Inspector, Mr. Michael Duhaime, who has found a position elsewhere with better conditions.

Urban Planning and Economic Development

8.2 The number of permits issued in March 2022 was 30 for a value of $1.7M compared to 36 for $3.8M in March 2021. It appears that the construction boom has subsided. From January 1 to March 31, 2022, there were 55 permits issued for $2.5M, compared to 70 permits for $6.6M during the same period in 2021.

8.6 to 8.26 21 These projects will be evaluated and accepted under the Plan d’implantation et d’intégration architecturale (PIIA). Of these, we note 8.11: PIIA 2022-0061 - Integrated housing project on lots 5 938 100 and 5 938 104, route Principale. This is the l’Orignal blanc, project, around Lake de la Musarde, east of Brewer Lake, between Laurel and Saint-Michel. It includes 30 single-family residences. According to the developer, "The lake is protected and bordered by wilderness and each cottage has its own private forest. Acceptance of the project is recommended by the CCU and adopted by the council.

8.27 to 8.30 Disposal for parks, playgrounds or natural areas. Mrs. Desjardins reminds that the 7%, here collected in money, must be used by the municipality only for this type of purpose.

8.31 Amendment to the Planning Advisory Committee (CCU) calendar for the year 2022. This change is justified by the overload imposed on the Committee by the excess number of requests; its members must double their meetings while providing the necessary time for Council to study its recommendations.

Recreation, culture and community life

Councillor Line Chapados gave her report. Among other things, there was a first meeting of the Arts and Culture Committee to determine the type and number of activities to be planned.

9.2. Grant request for the 2022 National Holiday (it will be for June 23). Mrs. Danielle Thibault, in charge of Recreation and Culture, will work on it.

9.3 With this item added to the draft agenda, the Mayor announces, within the framework of the negotiations in progress with the MRC, the cancellation of the intermunicipal agreement concerning the management contract of the Montfort Pavilion and the maintenance of a section of the Aerobic Corridor, as well as the Montfortaine by the municipality. The Pavilion and adjoining land belong to the MRC, said the mayor. The MRC will now manage everything and entrust the maintenance to a private firm. This deficit load was too heavy for the municipal budget. The MRC will also take over the management of the adjoining parking lots, with on-site staff and better signage. The municipality will also stop renting equipment, in order to reduce traffic. It will maintain its boat washing service. The diocesan church will have to manage its own activities.

The Montfort Art Gallery, housed in the rood screen, does not meet the safety code. The MRC has offered to provide support and a budget to relocate the gallery to the first floor, where it could have a permanent exhibition and the support of the corresponding MRC services.

The municipality will be able to continue to use the pavilion for the activities of its citizens and the services it could offer them. The hall could be rented to third parties (but, having understood from Mrs. Desjardins' comments that it is the municipality that would collect the income from the rental of a building belonging to the MRC, we are looking for an explanation). The municipality will act as interim manager as of May 1, until the MRC gets things under control.

These changes should alleviate the problems, including allowing citizens to regain the use of the pavilion. Negotiations will continue to address other issues that concern both administrations, the mayor added.

Question Period (report based on notetaking only)

The Mayor read a question on the poor condition of the Route Principale in certain areas. In response, she refers to her explanation at the beginning of the meeting.

Mrs. Chantal Prévost asks if it is necessary to mow the vegetation on the roadside (see item 6.5). Ans: It is to eliminate ragweed; but also a question of safety, because some plants can be up to two meters long, adds Mr. Réjean Gosselin.

Ms. Myriam Rioux asked why the pavement on Louisa Road was not redone as planned. Mr. Gosselin explains that there is no road manager now; that the councillors cannot replace the members of the service to fill the lack of personnel.

The former councillor also wanted to know when the next meeting of the Saint-Michel Advisory Committee would be held. The answer refers to the current reconstitution of the said committee.

Mr. Djerfi asked if the Roads Department will take care of the catastrophic situation on 12th Street. During floods, as at present, the water damages the properties along the street. It is the owners who must do the work expected of the road department. Mr. Gosselin answers that the case will be submitted to the Roads Committee in May. Mrs. Desjardins invites Mr. Djerfi to contact the service. The resident replied that he never gets an answer.

Note: There are inaudible questions coming from the room.

A question about the arrival of the fiber optic. The mayor, in her answer, indicated that one should not believe that this quality of wire, which should go around the road network, will necessarily end up at your door. She indicates that there seems to be a delay on the Cogeco schedule; also, that there is another company, on the Argenteuil side, which is coming into play, and that it is good for the competition.

Mr. Pascal Moreau continued his criticism, at the March 16 meeting, of the clauses of Projet de règlement 207-497-2 which concern, among other things, a possible easement to be imposed by the municipality on the occasion of a subdivision, on the trails that could be found there.

(In its preliminary wording, we find that the municipality could, on this occasion, "require the maintenance or development of pedestrian trails or recreational links, but also easements and rights of way wherever it deems necessary or for public utility purposes...". It is known that the municipality takes 7% of the property in land or money during subdivisions).

Mr. Moreau, suggesting the withdrawal of this draft by-law and supported by a few other speakers, was very virulent, despite the explanations and denials provided by the mayor. The latter will invite him, a few times, to ask his question, while assuring him that the right of property, which he says is threatened, remains sacred. She will specify that the sustainability of the trails is a concern at the MRC level.

Note: With the intervention that followed, the session was the most heated and perhaps the longest (3 hours) since the beginning of the mandate of this council.

Then, it was Mr. Yves Léveillé, representative of culture and arts in the Montfort sector, who said he was scandalized by the proposal concerning the moving of the Montfort Art gallery, mentioned at the time of the adoption of the project by the council, at item 9.3, following the part of the negotiations between the municipality and the MRC concerning the management of the Montfort pavilion and the neighbouring trails. We thought we heard him criticize mainly for not having been involved in this proposal. (He had certainly not proposed such an avenue during the consultations.) The mayor will give him some explanations, including that the suggested move of the gallery is not part of the current agreement, and that they will not act without the consent of the gallery.

Mr. Léveillé will be the only one to intervene on this point, which was not included in the draft agenda and which must certainly have raised many questions, even astonishment, among the residents present and having participated in the three consultations conducted by the mayor.

Mr. Léveillé had also, in a first question, asked if the ditches on Principale Road were finally going to be cleaned, where it is to the point that the culverts are clogged and water is overflowing on all sides. The mayor answered that, unfortunately, we do not have the means to do it immediately.

There is a question about the assumption of responsibility for the maintenance of private roads. The mayor's answer specifies that it is necessary that 50% +1 of the residents served make the request. The cost of this maintenance is billed to them with their taxes but is not in itself the object of a municipal tax.

There will be other questions on the trail issue, and on road maintenance. In her answers, Ms. Desjardins will indicate that the job description of the future road director includes experience with rural roads.

Without prejudice, by Carl Chapdelaine


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Wentworth-Nord's population growth from 2016 to 2021


According to the 2016 Census, the (permanent) population of Wentworth-Nord had decreased by 4.1% between 2011 and 2016.1 But according to the 2021 Census, this population would have increased from 1,361 people in 2016 to 1,672 in 2021, an increase of 311 individuals, or 22.9%. During the same period, from 2016 to 2021, the population of the MRC des Pays-d'en-Haut would have increased by only 12%.2 At the same time, the Township of Wentworth showed an increase of 28%, while Lac-des-Seize-Îles saw its population decrease by 8.9%. How can we explain such an increase in Wentworth-Nord? Unless there is a statistical error or an oversight on our part, we must combine the natural growth rate and the migratory rate.

Now, for Wentworth-Nord, the 2016 and 2021 Censuses show the same remarkable increase in private dwellings occupied by usual residents (=permanent = number of households), which rose from 741 to 896. Estimating these residents at 2 per dwelling unit would yield 310 persons, the noted equivalent of the population increase figure.2 & 3 One might think that this increase would therefore be due primarily to the increase in housing; that is, to construction or conversion of status from temporary to permanent residence.

It has been well documented that construction demands have exploded in Wentworth-Nord. We have also seen that, across Quebec, more households have left urban centers for the villages or the countryside, due to the impact of Covid-19 causing an exodus from offices or businesses in favour of telecommuting.

But, if housing was built, then how is it that the total number of private dwellings (for usual residents + for vacationers + vacant dwellings) decreased in Wentworth-Nord (See table) The hypothesis of the conversion of second homes to primary residences thus seems to present an initial explanation of the phenomenon.4 It has been said that retirees are choosing to convert their second homes to primary residences. New telecommuters, in these days of Covid-19, might similarly have defined their second home as their primary residence. But how can we imagine that these conversions could have been so widespread in Wentworth-Nord? Where is the explanation? Where is the error?

It is not possible for us to determine from these statistics alone what variables are involved, or even if there are others. However, the authorities rely on statistics to support and clarify information from the news media or other sources and to enable them to make the necessary planning.

It should also be noted that, even with a lower population increase than in Wentworth-Nord, the density of this population per square metre is increasing much more rapidly in the MRC; this reflects the specific character of our municipality in this respect.

With all due respect and awaiting your analysis and comments...; by Carl Chapdelaine

  1. Census Profile, 2016 Census of Population;   Wentworth-Nord, 2017 - 2020
  2. Census Profile, 2021 Census of Population
  3. Focus on Geography Series, 2021 Census of Population - Wentworth-Nord
  4. This operation increases the number of private dwellings occupied by regular residents, but does not change the total number of private dwellings.
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Wentworth-Nord's Council Meeting of March 16, 2022 (report)

Ordre du jour        Video version

Held by videoconference. Councillors Karine Dostie, Karine Brunet, Line Chapados, Colleen Horan, Réjean Gosselin and Eric Johnston were present. Mr. Sylvain Michaudville, Director General and Clerk-Treasurer, assisted the council. The Zoom counter will show a fabulous 57 participants and the recording will last 1 hour and 22 minutes.

2 Declaration of elected officials: No interventions were noted.

4 Administration (All resolutions will be adopted unanimously.)

4.1 The acceptance of disbursements should not contain the $47,000 requested for the defense of ex-Mayor Ghali, stated Mr. Johnston. This will need to be discussed with the attorneys.

4.3 Adoption of By-Law 2022-580 decreeing the imposition of taxes, etc. Mr. Johnston noted that the balanced budget of $6,414,778 that was just adopted includes a slight increase in the tax rate. On a $300,000 assessment, this represents a tax increase of approximately $50.

4.5 Offer of service of the firm PFD-Avocats for the year 2022. Council accepts the offer of a telephone package of $1,000 for the year.

4.7 Resolution of support for the Ukrainian people. Wentworth-Nord follows the other municipalities of Quebec and the MRC. The mayor invites those who would like to make monetary donations to go through the Red Cross and the organizations involved for other donations. She added that the Municipality participates in the reception of refugees in the Laurentians.

4.8 Adherence to the Municipal Declaration on Housing. It is about providing social housing. Wentworth-Nord will follow the proposal of the Union des municipalités du Québec.

4.10 Boat Cleaning Station Program - Request for a grant for the implementation of a station (the 4th) at Lake Louisa where there is a private boat launch.

4.11 Letter of support to the Coopérative des 4 pôles for a grant application to a government program addressed to devitalized municipalities, and financial contribution of Wentworth-Nord to said coop. It is for a project of catering services addressed to the taxpayers of the Municipality. The latter will go from a grant of $2,000, against accountability as required by the new regulation of Wentworth-Nord for such participations. (Councilwoman Chapados recused herself from the discussion, as she had sold her restaurant to the Coop).

4.12 Appointment of Committee Chairs. It had not yet been officially determined which Councillors would be responsible for these chairs.
- Planning Advisory Committee: Eric Johnston.
- Environment Advisory Committee: Colleen Horan.
- Public Works Advisory Committee: Réjean Gosselin.
- Finance and Budget Advisory Committee: Eric Johnston.
- Public Safety Advisory Committee: Danielle Desjardins.
- Culture and Community Life Advisory Committee: Line Chapados.
- Recreation, Sports, Outdoors and Trails Advisory Committee: Karine Brunet.
- Human Resources Advisory Committee: Karine Dostie.
- Communications Advisory Committee : Danielle Desjardins.
- Economic and Community Development Advisory Committee: Karine Dostie.
- Temporary advisory committees (without remuneration)
o Saint-Michel church advisor: Karine Brunet.
o Adviser small school: Danielle Desjardins.
o Health Coop Advisor: Line Chapados.
o High speed internet advisor: Eric Johnston.

4.13 Dismissal of an employee for unacceptable behaviour in the face of overwhelming evidence.

4.15 Letter of support for the application for funding for the Bien informer les aînés project. The information is in the form of a binder of information to be consulted on available services and a small newsletter distributed in pharmacies; both of which must be updated.

4.16 Terms of Reference - Non-Profit Housing in Wentworth-Nord (Further to the adoption of resolution 4.8.) Mrs. Chapados will represent the Municipality on this NPO.

5 Public Security

5.2 Tabling of the Fire Department and First Responders Activity Report for the month of February 2022.

6 Public works and management of municipal assets

6.1 Councillor Gosselin, President of the Roads Committee, announces that urgent repairs are planned for Route 12 and others this summer. A search is also underway for a service manager.

6.5 Release of the holdback on the invoice of Pavages Multipro Inc. After inspection and the work being completed to the satisfaction of the Municipality, the latter releases the holdback.

7 Environment

7.1 The Chairperson of the Environmental Advisory Committee, Colleen Horan, reports that the Committee has developed its work plan, based, to date, on 6 categories

  1. Stream protection (septic systems, buoys, etc.)
  2. Forest protection. (...)
  3. Wildlife protection. (...)
  4. Protection of the air. (...)
  5. Protection of silence and peace. (...)
  6. Education through awareness. (...)

The plan will be detailed at the next meetings.

7.2 The Municipality will complete the reimbursement of water quality analysis costs ordered by the lake associations, within the framework of the RSVL (Currently reimbursable by the government to a maximum of 75%) Ms. Horan asked if this would include analyses ordered from a private firm, such as H2O and Géostar. The Mayor, noting that the government requires specific standards for its contribution, replied that only analyses generated within the program are eligible.

8 Urban Planning and Economic Development

8.1 The Chairman of the Planning Advisory Committee, Councillor Johnston, indicated that construction continues to rise and that, as a result, so do the delays in processing files. The Branch does not have the capacity to meet the demand.

8.2 and 8.3 The Mayor followed up on what Mr. Johnston had said. She mentioned that the number of permits (9) and their corresponding value, $657,900, as of February 2022, were however down compared to the same date in 2021. The latter year had seen a large increase in purchases of lots to be built on this year. However, the decrease in permits may indicate that the market will soon stabilize. She underlines that the director of the urbanism and environment department, Mr. Benoît Cadieux, is presently on paternity leave (2 weeks), his wife having given birth the day before. Then, the hiring of an assistant, Ms. Lucie Roy, to this department is announced.

8.4 Adoption of By-law 2017-498-12 amending Zoning By-law No. 2017-498 on short-term rental (zone H39, at Lake Laurel). The Mayor recalls the consultations, etc. She then announced the planned opening of a register on the willingness of concerned residents to go to referendum to validate this adoption.

8.7 On the occasion of the adoption of a minor variance here, the mayor recalls that the persons concerned may intervene at the time of the discussion on the adoption of such a variance.

8.12 PIIA 2022-0019. This is a subdivision project accessible from Thurson Lake Road. It would involve the construction of approximately ten residences on the top of a hill, with accessory developments. The CCU considers that, as it stands, it will lead to too much deforestation in such a location; it will contravene the preservation of the landscape and water flow. The CCU unanimously recommends its rejection, in favour of an eventual project that is more limited and that would result in less degradation of the forest cover on the summit. The Mayor explained that the current project does not correspond to the objectives of the Municipality, which is rather to preserve the natural environment of the summits. Councillor Johnston reminds us that we are not against development, while also underlining the value of the summits in the visual environment and, consequently, the importance of properly assessing the impact of construction on them before granting permits. This is already included in the 2017 urban plan of the Municipality.

8.17 à 8,19. Three transfers for parks, playgrounds or natural areas related to subdivision permit applications. Council chooses to take the 7% in cash rather than in land. None of the latter seem to be of interest to the Municipality. But the mayor indicates that we are thinking about the possibility of acquiring land to allow better access to the lakes and rivers for the population.

8.20 Notice of motion and filing of the first draft of bylaw 2017-498-15. This bylaw provides for the establishment of a limit on the number of rooms in rental cottages, explains the mayor.

9 Recreation, culture and community life

9.1 New appointment of members of the Advisory Committee for the Saint-Michel Church renovation project. Following the withdrawal of two successful candidates, former councillor Myriam Rioux regains a position on this committee. Eric Johnston pointed out that this is the most important project of this nature ever considered by the Municipality, and that it will take a significant percentage of its budget. Consequently, the Councillor and the Mayor, while aware that the project has been delayed since 2016 and that it should be accelerated, want to make sure that the right scenario is chosen.

9.4 Voisins solidaires. (Neighbours in solidarity) Ms. Danielle Thibault, Recreation and Culture Officer, was asked to present a project under this program.

Question period

Lys-Anne Gignac: You do not give enough details in the presentation of the minor exemptions to allow us to judge them. The mayor assures that we will look into this and try to give a better presentation; but that the items on the agenda of the urbanism section are already quite long.

Mr. Pascal ...: Does your intention to widen the coverage of trails in Wentworth-Nord and perhaps to intervene in this sense when subdivision projects are accepted, imply expropriations in the neighbouring properties where such trails should pass? We have not had the results of the written (and video conference, according to Eric Johnston) consultations on this subject, and Mr. Cadieux has not answered this question for me. Mr. Johnston and Mr. Michaudville assured that there is no question of expropriation of private land, other than for subdivision projects, in this second draft of the by-law (which will be submitted for consultation). The Councillor added that Mr. Cadieux had corrected the imprecision that the 2nd draft by-law may have contained on this subject. But, to answer a sub-question of Mr. Pascal, if you divide your land, it is a subdivision that falls under this draft by-law.

Ms. Linda Proulx:

  1. In reference to the rejection of the subdivision application (see 8.2), it is important to protect the tops.
  2. You refer to another bill of $40,000 in legal fees for the defense of the ex-mayor. The mayor assures us that we will challenge the merits of this bill and that we will ask for a reimbursement for the previous fees deemed unreasonable. " We will come back with a resolution at the next Council meeting on this issue," said Desjardins and Johnston.

Councillor Johnston reminded everyone that Council will continue to broadcast these sessions by video conference the day after the return to face-to-face meetings.

Done with the aid of notes and the recording, but without prejudice; by Carl Chapdelaine

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W-N's 2022 budget presentation

Budget tables

Held on March 16, 2022 by videoconference. All members of Council were present, with Mayor Danielle Desjardins presiding.
Mr. Michaudville, the Director General and Clerk-Treasurer, presented the tables and added several explanations or details.

The Mayor indicated that, despite the urgency, several consultations with the administrative services were held to prepare this budget. She thanked Councillor Eric Johnston for his close involvement in this work.

Mr. Michaudville:
(Please refer to the different tables to follow the following points)
1. The budget is balanced.
2. The assessment of all taxable properties is $583,663,000. The revenue that the Municipality derives from this is therefore $ 00.1 per $ 58,366 of assessment, we understand.
3. Revenues and expenses are therefore balanced. Expenditures are categorized by municipal service. Conditional transfers are mainly grants.
4. The increase in other revenues is due to increases in transfer taxes and rentals, as well as inter-municipal agreements.
5. Conditional transfers were more important in 2021 because they were related to the compensation for the Covid. There was, however, the transfer of 1% of the QST.
6. Regarding administrative expenses, there is a planned increase in administrative meetings to catch up on the backlog.
7. The amount for elections is limited to an annual contribution for the next election.
8. The MRC, noting that the evaluation role of the Municipality is undervalued, asks us to review it thoroughly, hence the increase in expenses foreseen (evaluators, etc.).
9. In the other administrative expenses, it is foreseen that the legal expenses will increase because of the files in progress.
10. In fire protection, the figures in the previous budget did not reflect the actual costs (salaries, etc.), hence the upward adjustment.
11. The reduction in the Roads budget for 2022 reflects the deferral to 2023 of a portions of the major road rehabilitation work for which $11 million in grants have been awarded. This deferral will allow for unhurried bid selection and potential related savings.
12. Maintenance of community centers will increase due to increased costs for heating, etc.
13. The Programme triennal d'immobilisations (PTI) notes that the bulk of the capital costs, related to the main road rehabilitation and the $11 million grant, will occur in 2023.

Question Period
Mrs. Lys-Anne Gignac :
1. The foundation of the Saint-Michel church has never been redone; so where is the $150,000 previously planned for this purpose?
2. What is the amount allocated for the transformation of Saint-Michel Church? It should be done quickly as the building is deteriorating.
The Mayor answered that, given the various scenarios considered, it is not possible to establish the budget that will be allocated this year. The Advisory Committee has been formed and consultations will begin. It will also be necessary to see how the chosen scenario will be financed. Therefore, there will be no major capital expenditures in the short term for this project.

Mr. Vincent Jephi, a property owner on 12th Street, asked, in view of the postponement of the end of the road repairs and the consequent decrease in the budget to be allocated to them in 2022, if this concerns this street. The surface has been blasted and is awaiting paving; is this postponed to 2023?
o The Mayor stated that the major work in question is not on 12th Street, but on Main Road, Millette Road and Jackson Road.
o Councillor Eric Johnston, Chairman of the Roads Committee (?), indicated that the Municipality is currently without a road manager. He stated that, nevertheless, priority will be given to the realization of the work already started.

Mrs. Marie-Chantal Prévost inquired :
- About the progress of the repair of the road near Saint-Michel church, which looks like a minefield.
o The mayor indicates that it was done last summer; but that the work, badly done, must be resumed this year.
- About the renewal of the "tranquility tax".
o Councillor Johnston answered that it will eventually be replaced next year by something more appropriate.
o Councillor Karine Dostie added that there will be a big work of re-evaluation of the taxation next year; (with an attention to the respective capacity to pay of the residents).
Mrs. Denyse Pinsonneault, on this last tax, asked if the owners of Chemin-de-fer street, already penalized by a ban on building on these lots, are exempted from such a tax.
o Mr. Johnston answered that there is already an exemption in the by-law for the residents of this street.

Ms. Linda Proulx :
- When does the assessment roll change? Mr. Johnston indicates that it will be effective in 2023 only.
- Is there any work planned for the Montfort Pavilion?
o Ms. Desjardins answered that it is the responsibility of the MRC and that negotiations are underway on this subject. The Pavilion is not currently designed as a community center, as desired by the population; but, on the other hand, it is considered too imposing for the specific needs of the MRC alone. As the management contract expires on April 30, it is necessary to move forward with these negotiations.

Mrs. Myriam Rioux:
- The Saint-Michel road (Farmer Lake road), is it in the PTI or the Public Works budget? And the holes on the Lake Louisa road?
- There are big holes on the Route Principale in Saint-Michel.
o Mr. Johnston: We are going to see in priority to finish the work started.

With all reservations, with the help of the videoconference recording; by Carl Chapdelaine
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Wentworth-Nord Council meeting of Feb 16, 2022 (report)


Held by videoconference. Councillors Karine Dostie, Karine Brunet, Line Chapados, Colleen Horan and Councillor Réjean Gosselin were present, Mayor Danielle Desjardins presiding. Councillor Eric Johnston was absent. Mr. Sylvain Michaudville, Director General and Clerk-Treasurer, was present. The Zoom meter will show 32 participants at the beginning of the meeting.

Agenda
Item 4.2 was withdrawn.
The following items were added
- 4.12 Contract with the Director General
- 4.13 Quebec Games

Declaration of the elected officials
The mayor announces that the next meeting will be held in person.
She indicates:
- That the situation at the Town Hall is difficult.
- That we will be in a recovery period for a good part of the year.
- That the staff is overloaded; especially since Covid has added its burden.
- That we are recruiting.
- That this is creating a backlog of projects, especially in urban planning, where requests are increasing, and applicants are encouraged to be patient.
- That the budget for 2022 has not yet been tabled (due Jan. 31).
- That the tax bills cannot be issued as a result.
- That there will be a special meeting of council when it is ready.

Mrs. Desjardins thanked those who sent her expressions of sympathy on the occasion of her mother's death on February 10. She reminded everyone that our centenarian, Mrs. Minnie Goldstein-Johnson, will be 101 years old on February 21. She also noted that at the next regular Council meeting, the contribution of citizen volunteers to municipal life would be mentioned.

The mayor reported a disturbing increase in calls to Security in January. There have been arsons in Saint-Michel. A call to the Sûreté du Québec for increased patrols has been made; surveillance cameras will be installed and, as part of Voisins avertis ((Bon voisin, bon œil!?), demonstration sessions on reporting mischief to the SQ will be organized for residents.

Ms. Desjardins finally commented on the remarks made by the former mayor, Mr. F. Ghali, to a journalist from Accès, to whom he would have declared, among other things, that "... The current council is illegitimate, anyway". She added that the election had been recognized by the Director of Elections; that the Council had been elected by right. She explained that the withdrawal of certain charges does not mean that Mr. Ghali is exonerated. The mayor added that the Municipality will try to recover the disproportionate amounts, if any, taken from its coffers for the defense of the former mayor; in addition to the $2,000 fine to be paid to it.

Administration
In 4.2, Council adopts the announced modifications to the code of ethics and professional conduct for elected officials of the municipality.
In 4.3, a notice of motion pleads for a better control on the choice of suppliers when awarding contracts, with accountability.
4.4 builds on 4.3 with a reinforcement of the choice of local contractors or suppliers in the awarding of contracts or purchases.
4.5 proposes to amend the code of ethics and professional conduct for municipal employees. The mayor points out that it would be appropriate for residents to become familiar with this code (which governs their relationship with employees in this regard).
In 4.6, it is an accountability of the municipality to the government, for the grants obtained under the Programme d’aide à la voirie locale (PPA-CE).
In 4.7, the Director, Mr. Michaudville, is added as an authorized representative with clic Sécur (Revenu Québec).
In 4.9, it is the filing of the election expenses reports of the candidates for the elections of November 7, 2021.
4.10 is a request for an extension of the deadline, concerning the big file of the rehabilitation of the Route Principale, Jackson and Millette roads, within the framework of the RIRL 2020-1090, RIRL 2020-1105 and RIRL 2020-1085 programs. The mayor explained that the deadline for completion of this work will have to be extended to 2023, due to the delay in the delivery of specifications, etc. (?) During the question period, the engineer, Mr. André Philippe Hébert, of the firm Arrimage, visibly concerned by this attribution of delay, strongly protests this analysis.
In 4.11, the hiring of Ms. Savoie as administrative assistant for the Public Works, Recreation and Fire Safety departments is announced.
In 4.12, the mayor is designated to establish the hiring contract for the Director General.
In 4.13, financial contribution in the amount of 250$ to the Quebec Games.

Public Safety
The mayor, chair of the said committee, speaks of 17 calls in January, compared to 3 in January 2021. She mentions, among other things, calls from people lost in the forest, which result in a large deployment of resources. Caution should be exercised when venturing into the woods, she insists.
Item 5.3 dealt with the sale of the 2021 Ford F550, which will be auctioned off.
Public Works and Municipal Asset Management: No report.

Environment: no report.
In item 7.2, the mayor indicated that Mr. Duhaime is moving from the Urban Planning Department to the Environment Department (both under the direction of Mr. Cadieux), in the position of Environmental Inspector.

Urbanism and economic development
In 8.2, the tabling of the list of permits issued from January 1 to 31, 2022 shows that the pace of growth remains steady.
8.4 and 8.5 deal with the granting of an accompaniment mandate to Hélène Doyon, Urbanist-Consultant, within the framework of the preparation of urban planning by-laws, and the loan of personnel (Mr. François Bourret, as designated officer for the application of the by-laws) to BC2 Groupe Conseil for professional assistance in urban planning.
8.6 Announcing the opening of the register on bylaw 2017-498-12 amending zoning bylaw 2017-498 "to no longer allow short-term cottage rental as a complementary use to isolated buildings of class 1 (single-family) of the housing group, in the housing zone H-39 (Lac Laurel)
Indicating that the adoption of this by-law corrects an incongruity in the Laurel sector, where this prohibition applied in all the surrounding zones, the mayor adds that this process of opening a register implies a lot of organization and causes significant costs. She invites the residents concerned to be well informed before acting. The situation with the Covid protection measures also implies that requests are made by mail.
8.7 makes concrete the obligation for landlords to keep a more detailed record for short-term rentals.
Note: The following items under Planning and Economic Development deal with minor variances, permitting, etc. Ms. Desjardins will point out the time savings in not citing all whereas that accompany these decisions. In the case of consultation requests, which will have to be done in writing because of Covid, Mr. Michaudville will see to the posting of notices.

Recreation, Culture and Community Life
The members of the Advisory Committee for the Saint-Michel Church renovation project have been appointed. The file is progressing, the mayor will indicate.

No Special Projects or Public Interest.

Question period
1. Mr. Vincent Jephi and Ms. Marie-Élaine Desbiens will ask for clarification on the number of applications required for the opening of the registry, mentioned in item 8.6. A minimum of approximately 70 (to be clarified) residents will be required to sign the register to vote. (To be verified.)
2. Mr. Philippe Marchessault, of des Érables Street (Mount), Lake Saint-François-Xavier, asked if he could or could not put his garbage (or bulky waste?) in the semi-buried bin (?), since the street does not go to his house. Mrs. Desjardins will remind him that the collection services of residual materials are under the responsibility of the MRC and that he must communicate with the latter. (?)
3. Mr. André Philippe Hébert speaks of a dishonest explanation and a tarnished reputation, concerning the delay in the realization of the rehabilitation of the three roads, which would be imputed to him. He states that there were rather delays on the part of the municipality, in the payment of invoices, etc. Ms. Desjardins noted that she did not mention any names in her analysis. (See 4.10)
4. Ms. Myriam Rioux, former councillor of district 1, asked why she was not retained in the composition of the Advisory Committee on the Saint-Michel church, when she was in this file even before the formation of the said committee. Ms. Desjardins replied that she was a member of the committee as a councillor, a position now held by Ms. Karine Dostie. Ms. Dostie told Ms. Rioux that she would work with her to find a fair solution. (?)
Without prejudice, and pending the publication of the draft minutes; by Carl Chapdelaine

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

e

Hearing at the CMQ of the former mayor of W-N, Mr. François Ghali (Report)

(Held at 2:00 p.m. and viewable by video conference for those who were able to successfully click on the link.)

We were told that Mr. Ghali admitted his guilt to four (1, 3, 6 and 7) of the fourteen charges laid against him Accusations.

Me Nadia Lavoie, representing the prosecution, then presented the judge with an agreement reached between the CMQ, the accused and his lawyers. It was a suggestion to stop the proceedings concerning the other charges, which would risk monopolizing the parties and the court in long debates (the Municipality would have to incur expenses of about $100,000 to continue the defense of its ex-mayor in such a case, whereas it has already spent about $150,000).

The judge, assured that the accused was consenting, accepted the suggestion to stop proceedings on the other charges and should write his report accordingly.

This does not mean that the former mayor has been cleared of the charges against him. The authenticity of the episode of the watering of the vegetable garden of the outgoing councillor, Mr. André Cliche, which led him to be cited once again in municipal ethics, to name but one, is well documented.

The judge would have fined Mr. Ghali $500 for each of the four charges.

CMQ, Tribunal

Without prejudice; by Carl Chapdelaine

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

Municipal Council Meeting of January 19, 2022 (report)

Held by videoconference. Councillors Karine Dostie, Karine Brunet, Line Chapados, Colleen Horan and Councillor Eric Johnston were present. Councillor Réjean Gosselin was absent. Ms. Véronique Cronier, Assistant Clerk-Treasurer, was present. The Zoom counter will show 40 participants.

Statement of elected officials

Mrs. Desjardins describes the situation at the Town Hall; she underlines the necessary restructuring and the catching up of files that is required:
• The financial statements for 2020 have not yet been filed.
• The budget for 2022 has not yet been established.
• With the departure of the Director General, Ms. Marie-France Matteau, and the new administration perspective at Town Hall, a restructuring has been initiated:

  1. Transparency
  2. Accountability 

The results of the restructuring and remediation operation will be presented the day after its completion.

Administration

In 4.2, a draft by-law was tabled to decree "the imposition of taxes, compensations and fees for municipal services for the fiscal year 2022". The mayor indicated that the same tax rates will be maintained as in 2021, i.e. $0.4351/$100 of evaluation. However, they are looking at how to charge the expenses for garbage collection more specifically to those who generate it.

4.3, brings the tabling of a draft bylaw concerning the Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct for elected officials of the Municipality. Last November, Quebec decreed changes to the code of ethics to which elected officials must adhere. Wentworth-Nord is taking advantage of this to adjust its own code by introducing, among other things:

  1.  Integrity
  2. Civility
  3. Fairness
  4. Tightening the rules regarding potential conflicts of interest
  5. Prohibition of the use of the Municipality's resources or equipment for personal or third party use
  6. No undue interference in the administration by elected officials
  7. Etc.

In 4.5, the value of properties having greatly increased, it is necessary to give a mandate to Évimbec Ltd, via the MRC, to proceed with the balancing of the triennial assessment roll 2023-2024-2025 of the Municipality. This obliges the latter to call upon an expert firm, at a cost of $246,042.

In 4.6, it is planned to "proceed with the hiring of a temporary employee to provide support to the Accounting Department until May 2022". This is because of the need to be able to catch up on financial and other statements and be able to get them out on time.

In 4.7, following the resignation of Mrs. Marie-France Matteau and whereas, among other things, a selection process was held to fill her position, it was adopted "to extend the hiring of Mr. Sylvain Michaudville (currently Associate Director General) for a probationary period of six months at the rate of 4 days per week. To appoint Mr. Michaudville as Director General and Clerk-Treasurer".

Public Security

5.1 The Mayor, Chairperson of said committee, reminded that the municipal constables were on duty during the holiday season. Parking violators were basically given warnings. We want to get more service from the Sûreté du Québec.

5.3 Following the presentation of the activity reports of the firemen and first responders, the members of the council accept the resignation of Mr. André-Philippe Hébert, as first responder, and thank him for the services rendered in this field.

Roads

6.2 We will proceed to the launching of a call for tenders for the supervision of the works within the framework of the Rehabilitation Programs of the local road network, i.e. for the three big projects: Jackson, Millette and Principale Roads. Here, the Mayor thanks again Mr. A-P Hébert.

In order to ensure transparency in the selection of bids for the above mentioned projects, Council authorizes the General Manager to call for applications in order to form a Selection Committee.

Environment

7.1 No report

Urbanism

8.2 Mrs. Desjardins reports that 2021 was an excellent year in the issuance of building permits; which allowed the Municipality to enrich itself. Since a lot of land has been purchased, one can believe that construction will continue this year. "This is not the time to go into debt," added the mayor.

8.3 The second draft amendment to the zoning bylaw, 2017-498-12, amending bylaw 2017-498, "to no longer allow short-term cottage rental as a complementary use to isolated buildings of class 1 (single-family) of the housing group in housing zone H-39 (Lac Laurel)" was adopted. This adoption follows the consultation of December 17, 2021.

In 8.4, in view of a great need for manpower, the Municipality will proceed "to hire Ms. Nancy St-Denis as an assistant for the Urban Planning and Environment Department. However, it is preferable that Ms. St-Denis remains in the position of assistant to the Public Works, Recreation and Fire and First Responders Departments temporarily due to the lack of administrative support in these departments until this position is filled."

Recreation, culture and community life

9.1 "Whereas Mrs. Diane Perreault has terminated her contract for the housekeeping of the municipal buildings; ... it is proposed ... to grant the contract for the housekeeping of the municipal buildings to Mrs. Danielle Bissonnette for an annual lump sum amount of $17,680.00 taxes included..."

Question period

Mr. Adrian Hausermann first congratulates the Council for, among other things, its commitment to put the Municipality's accounting in order.
He asked if there will be a meeting of the Comité consultatif en environnement (CCE) in January. Ms. Desjardins answered in the alternative; stating that Council wants to give it the mandate to develop an environmental policy for Wentworth-Nord.

Louise St-Pierre et Vincent Jephi:

  1. Questioned Council about the short term rental. It seems that it is about a petition from 26 signatures, presented during the recent consultation on this subject and rejected. Answer:  The Mayor and Councillor E. Johnston will explain that the petition was not valid; that if it was ever a question of a request to go to consultation by referendum, the dictated rules should be followed to the letter. Mr. Jephi will take up the wording of the request.
  2. Noted, with respect to the problems of overloading with the semi-submerged bins, that the situation does not always allow landlords in the short term rentals to adequately dispose of the waste produced by users. Answer: The mayor reminds that the availability of these bins is calculated according to the local population. She indicated that they are poorly used. She added that we will try to accommodate cottagers in the disposal of their waste on weekends. She also advised them to write up their problem and send to Mr. Cadieux. The mayor finally assured that we would work with the owners involved.

Ms. Myriam Poirier returned to this issue of short-term rentals. We did not retain the question; but the mayor assured that we would work with the owners involved.

Conclusion

Ms. Desjardins, noting that more and more citizens are interested in municipal politics, thanked them.

With the help of the draft minutes and without prejudice; by Carl Chapdelaine

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

Consultation On Short Term Rental of jan 19, 2022

Corrections
The Director of Urban Planning and Environment Services, Mr. Benoît Cadieux, once again supported by a Power Point the presentation of draft by-law 2017-496-4, aiming to better control the rental of cottages as a complementary use to isolated buildings of class 1 of the group Dwelling. The meeting was held by videoconference.

(Please refer to the tablets to follow the presentation).

Then, landlords involved in this type of rental questioned certain points or modifications to the regulations.

- Mr. Mathieu Fréchette:
o Does this only concern new applications? Reply from Mr. Cadieux: Yes (to be verified).
o Section 47, on the certificate of authorization; is it also only for new applications? Answer: Yes.
o Will previously submitted applications be accepted as is? Answer: Yes.
o Why do you have to indicate the number of beds; are there any restrictions now? Answer: It is for statistical purposes only.

- Mr. Vincent Jephi (concerning project of by-law 2017-498-12) : ?

- Mr. Fréchette (bis): Will the regulation alter grandfathering? Answer: No; the permit is "a vested right (and) is not attached to an owner, but to a property" and therefore passes to the new owner.

- Mr. Jacques Richer : ?

- Mr. Marian Mihai : In short, what is changing with the regulation? Answer: There is the introduction of the rental register, and the added obligations for a new owner.

A report by the Urbanism Services should soon be available on the Municipality's website.

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

Meeting of W-N’s Council of December 17, 2021 (Report)

Held face-to-face at the Laurel Community Center, and by videoconference. Councillors Karine Dostie, Karine Brunet, Line Chapados, Colleen Horan, Régent Gosselin and Eric Johnston were present. Ms. Véronique Cronier, Assistant Clerk-Treasurer and Mr. Sylvain Michaudville, Associate Director General assisted the council. The Zoom counter showed 37 participants at the beginning, then 46 in the middle of the session, to come back to the starting point at the end of this long session.

Statement of the elected officials
Resignation of the DG: Mrs. Desjardins announced that, after careful consideration, Mrs. Marie-France Matteau, Director General and Secretary-Treasurer, has submitted her resignation.
As for Covid 19, the mayor indicates that Wentworth-Nord is not spared. New instructions are to come. She urges residents to be cautious and advises them to go outside to play rather than to gather. Ms. Chapados, Chair of the Culture and Community Life Committee, announced that the jazz show scheduled for December 18 at Montfort Pavilion has been cancelled. (As of December 20, instructions were not yet in place for visitor access to the Pavilion lobby. Their number was probably limited to two at a time. The Wednesday cafés, which had brought together ten residents on the 15th, were in any case suspended for the holiday season).

Administration
  1. The mayor indicated that the salaries of staff assigned to the municipal elections inflated the amount of this expense.
  2. The Commission municipale du Québec would have reproached, among other things, the non-conformity of adopting the 2021 budget and the 2021-2023 PTI before the adoption of the financial statements; a non-conformity that we understand will be repeated for 2022. It will be recalled that Ms. Desjardins had repeatedly denounced the delays accumulated at this level under the previous administration.
  3. Unveiling of the schedule of regular municipal meetings for 2022. The meetings will now be held on Wednesday evenings; the next one will be held on January 19. Participation by video conference will be maintained, as more and more citizens are using it. To our question, during the dedicated period, on the location of these sessions, Mrs. Desjardins will answer that they will all be held at the Community Center for this year again; the technical adaptations to allow participation by videoconference in Montfort or Saint-Michel are not a priority for 2022. (As you can see, good will and promises can sometimes come up against reality...)
  4. Concerning a formal notice to the Municipality, from the outgoing mayor, Mr. François Ghali, in which he warns the Municipality about the use of concepts that he has applied for the manufacture of posters and others, the Municipality will request a legal opinion.
  5. Council will support the Club l'Étoile du Nord in its request to the Quebec Municipal Commission for recognition as a tax-exempt organization for its building on Millette Road. This would be preferable to the current situation where the Municipality must decide annually to grant such an exemption, we understand.
  6. With respect to the Quebec Gas Tax and Contribution Program for the years 2019 to 2023, the Municipality undertakes to respect the terms and conditions of the guide that apply to it. (This is a series of measures by which it commits its responsibility in the management of this program, the use of the sums received, etc.):
  • Releasing governments from liability for claims, etc.
  • Approve the content and authorize the sending to the Ministry of Affaires municipales et de l’Habitation of the work program and all other required documents.
  • To meet the minimum capital threshold for all five years of the program.
  • To certify by this resolution that the attached Schedule of Works Version nº2 contains true realized costs...)
  7.  Council rescinds its resolution of the previous meeting, in which it sought to have a parking violation on Brewer Lake rescinded by the prosecuting attorney. Council acknowledges that it mistakenly associated this event with the lack of adequate parking at Brewer Lake.
  8.  Council thanks Marie-France Matteau for her valuable years of service to the municipality.
  9,  Council will make a request to the Caisse Desjardins to change the name on the municipal credit card to that of Véronique Cronier, who has been appointed Assistant Clerk-Treasurer.

Public security
Following the recommendation of Mr. Spiro Trent, Coordinator of the Special Constable Service, Council decides to proceed with the hiring of Mrs. Christine Jacquin, Mr. Guillaume Fortin, Mr. François Archambault and Mr. Jérémy Leduc as special constables for the period of December 24, 2021 to January 2, 2022.

Roads
Relocation of mailboxes
- Whereas, in winter, the location of the ten mailboxes located at the junction of des Montfortains road and Principale road forces residents to park their cars on the road when they go to get their mail.
- Whereas the properties located at 303, 305 and 308, chemin des Montfortains, need parking spaces and the municipality has rented spaces adjacent to the mailboxes for parking purposes to the residents of these two houses.
It was moved by Councillor Colleen Horan and resolved to allow these mailboxes to be moved to the existing lawn in order to allow cars to park off the road in winter. The contract (lease) for the rental will be renewed every three years.

Semi-submerged bins: Given the need to proceed with the installation of semi-submerged bins on Thurson Lake Road, Council will proceed with the purchase of a private lot for an amount of $2,000 in order to proceed with the installation of such bins. The Mayor reminded everyone of the instructions concerning the use and protection of the bags in these bins and pointed out that many users do not respect these instructions. Large objects must be deposited at the recycling center at City Hall. Did Councillor Gosselin (?), as previously reported by the undersigned, allude to the lack of signage regarding the precautions to be taken or the misuse of these bins?

Local Purchasing Policy: In order to avoid long distance transportation whenever possible, as an environmental protection measure, and to allow the annual budget to be spent locally, Council wishes to establish a policy of purchasing services and materials from local contractors.

Environment
Lake St. Francois-Xavier Nature Reserve (from the draft minutes)
- Whereas the Orphans' Trail is an important recreational area for the community of Wentworth-Nord;
- Whereas Lake St. Francois-Xavier has already been the subject of significant residential development;
- Whereas any municipal land at any time could be sold to developers;
- Whereas the Municipality is in the process of completing a land exchange with the Lac St-Victor Estates and will have significant land located between the Sentier des Orphelins and Lake St. François-Xavier;
- Whereas Council wishes to protect in perpetuity the existing green spaces adjacent to Lake St. Francois-Xavier;
- Whereas any municipal land transferred in natural reserve is protected in perpetuity;
It is proposed by Mr. Eric Johnston and resolved ... that a mandate be given to the General Management to start negotiations with groups that could manage the creation of a Nature Reserve using the municipal territory contiguous to the Orphan trail. A proposal for the creation of a nature reserve should be presented to Council by May 31, 2022.
Sampling on the Rivière du Nord (from the draft minutes)
Whereas, since 2011, the Municipality has been participating in the "Rivière du Nord Watershed Water Sampling Program"; ... it is moved ... and resolved ... to renew the agreement with ABRINORD, the watershed agency of the Rivière du Nord, in order to proceed with the sampling of the water of " station OUE30 " which is located near the Domaine des Deux-Mouches road and of the additional " station OUE33 " which will be located on the Lanthier road for an amount of $2400.00 taxes included.
Monitoring of the water quality of the Rouge River (from the draft minutes)
- Whereas the Organisme de bassins versants des rivières Rouge, Petite Nation et Saumon (OBV RPNS) is working hard to implement a River Water Quality Monitoring Program to further the objective of the Plan directeur de l’eau (PDE)... ;
- Whereas it will be possible for the municipality to obtain the results of the sampling carried out on the territory as they are analyzed; it is proposed ... and resolved ... to accept the participation of a financial partnership with the OVB RPNS for an amount of $ 2,700 plus taxes.

Urbanism
Tennis court (from the draft minutes)
A minor variance for the construction of a tennis court and a shed on a vacant lot on chemin des Berges-de-l'Est is denied, as:
- The by-law stipulates that there must be a main building or a main use on the lot in order to build an accessory construction.
- The planned exterior lighting could cause light pollution.
- The Board of Directors of the Association des propriétaires des domaines du Lac St-Victor has concerns about the consequences of granting such a minor variance in this sector.
Encroachment into the side setback (from the draft minutes)
- An application for a minor variance to allow the construction of a residence, on the Lake Wentworth side, to be located at a distance less than the minimum 4.50 metre side setback is denied. The applicant will plead his case at length. But it will be pointed out to him that he ordered (?) his construction before having obtained the required permit, and that he can always see to reduce the size of his house to find the space necessary for its implantation, accompanied by the conforming septic installation.
- A similar request on Rozon Road, in the same zone, was accepted. "The applicant has modified his construction plan in order to favour a narrower house model adapted to the complexity of the insertion environment. ... The applicant has demonstrated the feasibility of siting a well and a conforming sanitary facility; etc." Rejection in one case and acceptance in this one will elicit a response from Councilman Gosselin who will vote against the latter. (To be verified) The applicant will thank Council, and the CCU for their work.
New construction and additions : Three new constructions and additions to existing homes will be accepted; plus a few other miscellaneous projects.
7% tax deduction : A cadastral operation for the creation of two lots will result in a 7% contribution for parks, playgrounds or natural spaces, which will be translated into money for an amount of $1,254.54. However, it will be necessary to "authorize the Director of the Planning and Environment Department to negotiate an agreement with the owners for the maintenance of the Vélo Halte on this property by means of a real and perpetual servitude in favour of the Municipality."

Recreation, Culture and Community Life
Family Policy The Municipality will provide all the documents related to its project to develop a family policy submitted under the Programme de soutien aux politiques familiales municipales 2021-2022. Ms. Line Chapados will be the elected official responsible for family matters.
Celebration of marriages or civil unions In response to such requests, the Mayor is designated as competent to celebrate marriages or civil unions on the Municipality's territory.

Question period
We will retain those of Mr. Fernand Janson:
1. Is there a French version for the Zoom application? According to Mrs. Desjardins, English is automatically proposed, but there is a way to choose French.
2. Have you considered my suggestion to change the name of Wentworth-Nord (probably to a French sounding name...)? The mayor will answer that there are other priorities for the present.
3. Why so many minor variances? There have never been so many.
With all reservations; by Carl Chapdelaine
Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version) & Linguee

Consultation on Short Term Rental


The meeting was held at the Laurel Community Center and, in addition to a few citizens present, about fifteen, at first, participated by videoconference. Mr. Benoit Cadieux gives the presentation based on a Power Point.

An email communiqué states: "At a meeting held on November 19, 2021, the City Council adopted the first draft of bylaw number 2017-498-12, amending the zoning bylaw number 2017-498, to no longer allow cottage rentals as a complementary use to a residential use in the residential zone H-39 (Lac Laurel)."

In the grid of permitted uses, we found the bed and breakfast and the rental of cottage; by the regulation, this rental is therefore prohibited.

Questions from citizens
A citizen, obviously an owner using this type of rental in the zone, denounces the draft by-law. He states that Wentworth-Nord has already lost some economic benefits by limiting similar businesses. He himself has used local labour for his rentals, cleaning, etc. These tenants benefit the public market, the Co-op, etc. He suggests that short-term rentals should be controlled rather than prohibited.

Two citizens were in favour of adopting the by-law. For one, visitors put boats in the water without any control. (But as far as introducing Eurasian water milfoil is concerned, it is already too late...) They also fish for trout that the residents release into the lake at their expense. The other added that visitors are not respecting the code of conduct applicable to the lake.

A Council member (?) pointed out that the waterfront properties are narrow, that there is no buffer zone between the residents and the rented houses to buffer the resulting nuisance.

(Sorry; that’s all...)
With all due respect; by Carl Chapdelaine

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

Council - employee meeting

Friday morning (November 26, 2021) the mayor and several of her councillors met with approximately 35 employees of the Municipality to meet and introduce themselves. Each employee stood up, gave their name and gave a brief description of the work they did for the Municipality. It was an informal gathering with a great atmosphere of comradery lasting 35 minutes.

It feels like a good beginning and the council looks forward to working together.

Colleen Horan. Councillor District 5, Wentworth-Nord

Municipal Meeting of November 19, 2021 (Report)

Ordre du jour    Video version        Project of minutes

Held at the Laurel Community Centre in person and by videoconference. All members of the municipal council were present, as well as the Director General and Secretary-Treasurer, Mrs. Marie-France Matteau. Mayor Danielle Desjardins presided over the meeting. 13 citizens were in the room; the Zoom counter indicated 44 participants and the recording lasted 2 h 19 m.
Mrs. Desjardins thanks the outgoing councillors; with a special attention to Mr. Yvon Paradis who was at the council table for many years. She then introduced the current members, welcoming the return of Mr. Réjean Gosselin.
Administration and correspondence
- Council meetings : It was reported that Council would meet alternately in Laurel, Montfort and Saint-Michel.
- Assumption of responsibility for snow removal: A series of by-laws decreeing the terms and conditions for the assumption of responsibility for the partial maintenance of private roads by the municipality of Wentworth-Nord, for the 2021-2022 winter period and through the imposition of a special tax and/or fee for the maintenance of these roads, will be adopted en bloc. However, Mr. Eric Johnston will have once again marked his dissent by voting against the adoption of these by-laws, due to the fact that, he points out, 30% (of owners of such private roads (?) are unjustly left out of obtaining this essential service.
- Requests for financial support: Be it resolved to contribute financially to the annual Operation Red Nose campaign of Sainte-Adèle and Palliacco in the amounts of $250 and $300.
- Cheque Signers and Deputy Mayor: In replacement of the Mayor, the first Deputy Mayor, Mr. Eric Johnston, or the second Deputy Mayor, Mr. Roger Gosselin, will sign the cheques with Mrs. D. Desjardins and Mrs. M.-F. Matteau or Mrs. V. Cronier.
- Advisory committees: Concerning the municipal advisory committees, the mayor indicated that several new ones will be added; "they will be able to improve the functioning of the municipality". She appoints the council representatives to these committees; to which she is also an ex-officio member.
1. Planning Advisory Committee: The Mayor (DD) and Councillors Eric Johnston (EJ) and Régent Gosselin (RG)
2. Environmental Advisory Committee: DD, Colleen Horan (CH)
3. Public Works Committee: DD, Karine Brunet (KB), RG, EJ
4. Finance and Budget Committee: DD, KD, CH, EJ
5. Public Safety Committee: DD, Line Chapados (LC)
6. Culture and Community Life Committee: DD, LC
7. Recreation, Sports, Outdoors and Trails Committee: DD, KB, RG, EJ
8. Human Resources Committee: DD, KD, LC
9. Communications Committee: KD, EJ
10. Economic and Community Development Committee (all council members). Ms. Desjardins is also a member of the MRC Economic Development Committee. The municipal organization "Développement économique Wentworth-Nord" will also have to be reactivated.
11. Saint-Michel Church Advisory Committee: DD, KD, KB
12. Advisory committee Small school: DD, LC
13. COOP Santé Advisory Committee: DD, KD, KB, LC
14. High Speed Internet Committee: DD, EJ
- Tax Clerk: Ms. Chrystel Durivage was temporarily assigned to this position.
- Request for financial support: $2,000 is granted to the Étoile du Nord, for the support offered to elderly and/or vulnerable people. A policy will be developed to evaluate such requests from charitable organizations.
- Cancellation of parking ticket: This is a case at Brewer Lake where there is a lack of parking space. The council will have to make a request for cancellation to the prosecutor of the Sainte-Adèle Court.
- Mayor's remuneration: Ms. Desjardins is giving up her remuneration at the mayor's office ($3,047.76 per month in 2021); as well as, eventually, at the MRC, and wants the money to be paid into a foundation to be created. Here, Ms. Colleen Horan will translate the essence of the mayor's remarks into English.

Public Security
- Report from the committee chair: These reports are not being done at the beginning of the mandate.
A resolution on the constable file was postponed.

Public works
- Authorization of expenses :
o For the purchase of bulk salt from the company Sel Warwick, in the amount of $19,114.59 (taxes included), for the 2021-2022 snow removal of municipal roads in the Laurel sector and for the Road Department. This is 175 metric tons of salt. This seems like a lot to the Mayor, who sees it as an environmental hazard. It will be necessary to ensure that the best practices are used in this regard.
o For the purchase of a trail groomer, at a cost of $7,729.19. Mrs. Desjardins points out that these vehicles do not have a very long life span.
- Semi-submerged bins: An update on the development of a policy regarding the use of semi-submerged bins will be postponed. These drop-off sites for garbage and recycling items have become small dumpsites, the mayor said. Construction materials, such as boards with nails, are thrown into these bins, which are made of bags that they tear open and must be repaired or replaced at great cost. User awareness will be part of the program. Citizens should use the recycling center at City Hall.

Environment :
- Application for financing for a septic system under the Eco Loan Program. The program can help needy homeowners to improve their septic installations. The municipality is there to help you.
- Resources dedicated to the environment: Council wants to re-create a position at City Hall, whose sole focus will be on environmental issues. The person will be involved, among other things, in supporting the lake associations, which protect the environment through the work of volunteers.
- Nature Reserve: Item deferred
- Environmental Policy: The municipality will develop an environmental policy. The Advisory Committee on the Environment, which put forward the idea, will see to its development.
Note: Councillor Réjean Gosselin developed a point here; but it was out of order for us.

Urbanism and economic development :
- Procedure to be simplified: The Mayor asked the Director if there was a way to find a shortcut to the listing of applications, minor variances, PIIAs and other items at each municipal meeting.
- Property Increase: The October permit numbers again show an increase over the previous year. This means that the value of the municipality's property is increasing. She indicates that this also means a higher contribution to the MRC.
- Enforcement: Ms. Desjardins stated that compliance with any regulation will have to be ensured for it to be meaningful. This item was deferred for further development.
- Short term rental: Councillor Johnston gave notice of motion and tabled draft bylaw 2017-498-12 to no longer allow cottage rental as a complementary use to a residential use in the residential zone H-39 (Lac Laurel).

Recreation, Culture and Community Life :
- Base de plein air Bon Départ: The offer of service for day camps at the Base de plein air Bon Départ Winter 2022 Program was accepted.
- Health Coop: Item deferred
- Small school: Item deferred, on the creation of a small school. We are looking for competent citizens to contribute to this project.
- Community organizations: This item, on the development of a partnership policy, was postponed.
- High Speed Internet: The mandate of the High Speed Internet Committee is extended, to accelerate the delivery of this service to residents by Cogeco or any other internet service provider that may operate in the Municipality.
- Negotiations with the MRC (Montfort): We will ask the MRC to resume negotiations concerning the agreement for the management of the Montfort Pavilion and related services. Several problems; ex.: Anarchy at the level of the various users on the lake St-François-Xavier; cohabitation on the Aerobic Corridor (bikes/pedestrians).
- Senior Friendly Municipality (MADA): Councillor L. Chapados will represent the Municipality on the MRC committee. Mrs. Desjardins is already the president.
- Table des Aînés de la MRC des Pays-d'en-Haut: Mrs. Line Chapados will represent the Municipality.
- Table de concertation des Arts et de la Culture: Mrs Chapados will be the municipal representative.
Subject of public interest
- Minutes: Councillor Johnston asks that a draft of the minutes of the municipal meetings be published promptly; because the minutes arrive only after they have been approved, when we already need this information.

Question Period
Road vs. watercourse: A question was received at the Secretariat regarding the reason for the 60 metre distance from a watercourse and the protection of the riparian zone. The Director of Urbanism Services, Mr. B. Cadieux, would have answered that the 60 m standard was applied at the MRC level. (?)

Users on SFX Lake: Mr. André Genest, Prefect of the MRC, believes that the markers should be placed on the lake to ensure that users use the appropriate corridor and guarantee the safety of all. The municipality should see to the purchase of the missing buoys.
The Mayor is concerned that serious accidents could occur on the lake and plans to discuss the issue with the Lake Association. District 5 Councillor, Mrs. Horan, will explain some of the problems encountered with the installation of the buoys.
Mr. Raymond Noël (having resumed his position as President of the ALSFX?) will remind everyone that the responsibility for the installation of the buoys lies with the municipality, and states that the Association does not have the resources to see to their installation.

Advisory Committees : Their reports will be presented at each council meeting, we understand from Ms. D. Desjardins. Councillor Johnston will strongly emphasize the need to inform the citizens on everything that is going on.

Municipal meetings and the opposition: The mayor will indicate that all members of council are independent; that they must decide according to their own ideas. Participation by video-conference will be maintained.

Questions from the floor: These questions are inaudible to us.

Road de-icing : Mr. Johnston will indicate that best practices for environmental protection vs. user safety will be followed in the use of salt and sand.

Mount Street (Trail) Area Access Road: The undersigned forwarded to council a question from Mr. Chris Edgell, whose parents' cottage roof collapsed under the weight of the snow a few years ago. "Will there ever be access by road or vehicle passageway to the southwest end of mount st.? Blocked or cut by the lake from early days. (He believes that a road that existed when these cottages were built could have been submerged when the lake level rose in the past, leading to the current situation.)
The mayor answered that there is no question of a road. The solution is the waterway and we will take a closer look.

Short-term rental: Are there any acquired rights? The mayor reminded us that the nuisance is not part of the acquired rights and that the whole file is under study.

Extension of Hunter Street: Mrs. Claire Valiquette asked if Council would find a solution to the serious problem of pollution of Lake St-François-Xavier generated by the construction of this road. The mayor recalled that she had seen the situation on site; she asked to be able to study the file and assured that the municipality would propose a solution.

The priority of the roads : Mr. Fernand Janson, who congratulates the new council, wants to applaud the different projects and its awareness of the concerns of the citizens, but he wants to insist on the fact that, according to him, the absolute priority with the tax money must be to improve the state of the roads.

The session will end with a volley of congratulations to the members of the council and for the success of this first meeting.

Note: Throughout the meeting, and despite Councillor Johnston's directive not to use the "chat" function, as any intervention from the floor should be introduced during the question period, the chat did not stop. We found it very distracting, and the exchanges were often morally questionable. For example, one participant repeatedly expressed his dislike of the use of English, among other things. It seemed to us that this could even become a form of intimidation for the English-speaking participants, whereas these sessions should allow everyone to express themselves as they can, it seems to us.
Shouldn't it be made clear at the beginning of the session what the instructions are and how to use the Zoom application?

With all due respect, by Carl Chapdelaine

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

The lessons of the vote

Contrary to the Quebec average of 38.7%, the rate of participation in the election for mayor of Wentworth-Nord was 66%. Mrs. Danielle Desjardins became the mayor with 69.5%, against 25.3% for Mr. François Ghali, the incumbent mayor. A total of 2,071 voters were registered and the number of valid votes was 1,342 (25 ballots rejected). Élections Québec

The elections thus generated a great deal of interest in the municipality, and, contrary to what might have been feared, perhaps as much among cottagers as among permanent residents. It should be noted, however, that in Quebec, the rate of participation is inversely proportional to the size of the municipality; it is 45.4% in municipalities with 2,000 to 4,999 inhabitants. Other variables also come into play; it is visibly lower when the mayor is elected by acclamation. Candidatures, résultats et statistiques, MAMH One can believe that, among other motivations in Wentworth-Nord, the contested management during his mandate and the few media stumbles at the end of the campaign of the incumbent mayor led a strong majority of voters to sanction him.

Beyond the actions applauded or criticized, we can assume that the electorate of Wentworth-Nord, as in the whole of Quebec apparently, seemed to perceive and favour, in the team delegated to city hall, the promise of a policy more oriented towards transparency, participation, social justice and environmental protection, among others. The outgoing mayor could thus have appeared closer to the developers, but at the expense of the environment; closer to the higher interests than to those of the citizens; etc. The control he seemed to have over his supporters or subordinates, on the other hand, was no longer in line with new citizen trends.

In Montfort, Mr. Ghali probably alienated some of the residents by defending, in the second part of his mandate, the party of the MRC and the Ministry of Transport in the conflicts over the Aerobic Corridor and others, which opposed the latter to the outgoing councillor, Mr. David Zgodzinski, supported by a majority of his constituents. The councillor, like the one in the neighboring district, had in fact turned against his ally at the mayor's office in the 2017 elections, only to denounce him vigorously.

The program put forward by the Desjardins group, without minimizing the value of its candidates, and even if some have well signified their political independence, was therefore able to seduce the electorate. But the new board's burden seems very heavy. In addition to seeing to the recovery of the management of the municipality, which has suffered from the circumstances of the last mandate and the conflict between the outgoing mayor and his opponents, the new team is committed to achieving a small social revolution.

Thus, the realization of its promise to develop tools for information, consultation and participation could have certain repercussions on municipal management. Indeed, it seems that participatory democracy may impose some constraints on the actions of leaders. The move towards eco-responsible development involves similar difficulties. But isn't this participation, which implies a greater interest on the part of citizens in the administration of their municipality, in itself invaluable? In an article entitled " Les quatre prochaines années ", the November 9, 2021 Accès newspaper reminds us of the duties of the citizen and emphasizes that this responsibility should not end the day after the election of those to whom he has delegated power. "In order for our community to flourish, we must actively contribute."

By Carl Chapdelaine

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

All D. Desjardins'group at city hall

RESULTS 2021
MAYOR
DANIELLE DESJARDINS 932
FRANÇOIS GHALI 339
PIERRE-YVES LALONDE 71

DISTRICT #1
KARINE DOSTIE 130
MIRIAM RIOUX 117

DISTRICT #2
KARINE BRUNET 156
MÉLANIE POUPART 59

DISTRICT #3
LINE CHAPADOS 125
CÉLINE MC SWEEN 70

DISTRICT #4
SUZANNE YOUNG PARADIS 76
RÉGENT GOSSELIN 164

DISTRICT #5
COLLEEN HORAN 161
RAYMOND NOEL 78

DISTRICT #6
ERIC JOHNSTON 198
ANDRÉ PAYETTE 7
NICOLA DOCMANOV 6

Electoral meeting with the Desjardins team

Held at the Montfort Pavilion on October 23, 2021. There were over 70 people at the beginning of the meeting, the maximum allowed in Covid time.

The mayor's office, the program
Presentation by Ms. Danielle Desjardins (Ms. Colleen Horan will summarize in English):
- She has had a career as an organizational psychologist. She has helped organizations in various fields, including municipal, to implement more effective management and to reach their full potential.
- She is involved in the Regroupement des Tables de concertation de la MRC des Pays-d'en-Haut and still very active in the Table des Aînés de la MRC.
- The group's logo, three trees for three intertwined communities; feet firmly on the ground; blue for water, green for the forest, fuchsia for audacity...
Confiance - Trust, for the Municipality towards its employees, towards its residents.

- Assessment of the current administration:

  • Financial statements late; not yet available for 2020. How can we plan for tomorrow's budget?
  • Unnecessary expenses: example of the piano that was only used twice; not to mention the dismissal bonuses. And already $150,000 in legal fees to defend the mayor.

- The environment: A subject that has received little attention, reflecting the lack of interest in it. Case of the intention to reduce the distance between a road and a waterway in integrated projects.
- Toxic climate at City Hall. Multiple employee departures and job cuts, involving loss of expertise.
The Group wants to set things right.

Electoral platform
- Better services to permanent residents and cottagers.
- Environmentally responsible economic development. Developers will come no matter what; however, we need to have a vision for the future of Wentworth-Nord in this regard and work with entrepreneurs.
- Attracting young families (the permanent population is quite old) by offering appropriate services

  • Daycare.
  • Small school (arrangements to be made).
  • Home care for the elderly (health co-op, ambulatory services).

- There are amazing skills in the population of the municipality; we can build on them.
- Give back support and initiative to our arts and culture community.
- Housing development

  • Our lakes and rivers attract people, but our tourism is not profitable.
  • We need to negotiate a new agreement with the MRC on the Montfort Pavilion, which is owned by the MRC but for which we pay 40% of the costs.

- The lake associations must be considered as real partners.

  • It is the work of volunteers and we must support them.
  • There is no longer a dedicated director for the environment; a dedicated person needs to be put back.
  • There are grant programs that are not used.

- Municipal Governance

  • Not much has happened in the last two years.
  • At Council meetings, Councillors will have to explain why they are voting yes or no.
  • It is not the mayor's job to decide or execute.
  • Regain the trust of citizens.
  • Be transparent and rigorous with revenues and expenses.

Self-introduction of the candidates
- District 1: Ms. Karine Dostie

  • Permanent resident for two years; one little boy.
  • MBA in management. She is in charge of an organization.
  • Wants to explain municipal decisions and expenses.

- District 2: Ms. Karine Brunet

  • Has known Laurel since birth and is now a permanent resident.
  • She is in the construction field.
  • Wants to set up small social projects.
  • Wants to get involved in roads.
  • Looking for the middle ground; case of short term rental.

- District 3: Line Chapados

  • Has been involved in many areas.
  • Interested in the school project.
  • Interested in the proximity economy; case of cooperatives.

- District 4: Roger Gosselin

  • Always been in Wentworth-Nord and works there.
  • Already 26 years in politics and wants to come back, thanks to the call from citizens.
  • Running as an independent, with the intention of playing devil's advocate on occasion. But in healthy and respectful debates.

- District 5: Colleen Horan

  • Family has been a vacationer since 1976 and permanent since 2016, out of love for the area.
  • Worked at Air Canada and was a teacher.
  • With the Lake St. Francois-Xavier Association for a long time. In charge of surveys for the RSVL/CRE. Wants to make the results, the situation of the lake, known to all.
  • Finds the behavior of the current mayor horrible.

- District 6: Eric Johnston

  • Speaks up about his difficult experience as a councilor in the current climate,
  • Wants to work cooperatively.
  • Seeks to understand situations.

Intentions of Councillors in Districts 5 and 6 (Montfort area)
- Colleen Horan:

  • Keep Eurasian watermilfoil out of Lake St. Francois-Xavier: monitoring, constables and enforcement.
  • Consider that visitors do not bring economic benefits
  • We pay 40% on everything for the Montfort Pavilion; it's impossible...

- Eric Johnston :

  • Bring the environment, our wealth, back to the forefront. It attracts residents; but we need responsible development.
  • Explosion of boat washes with the influx of visitors.
  • Take steps to improve waste management. There is too much abuse by many users.
  • Need to better manage short-term rentals. Regulations are due for adjustment.
  • Problem with the Aerobic Corridor, where residents are treated as squatters. We need more information from these residents. Disappointed that we are not further along after so many years.
  • The old orphan lands at Lake St. Francois-Xavier could be dedicated as a nature reserve.
  • Private road owners are being ignored by the Municipality (snow removal); they are a third of the taxpayers who are treated as second class citizens. They are entitled to the same services as the others.

Question period
- Mr. Yves Léveillé

  • Seniors contribute to the life of the municipality.
  • Most of them do not know what public services are available. These should be identified.
  • ...
  • Reply from E. Johnston and L. Chapados
  • Need more municipal information. Case of newcomers.

- Ms. Denyse Pinsonneault

  • Elected officials need to answer our questions.
  • ...
  • Is it true that you would not touch your salary as mayor?

Answer from D. Desjardins: I can do without it; it will be for a foundation.
- Ms. Diana Jegou

  • We sent a ton of emails to the MRC about the Montfort Pavilion.

- Mr.: There is a bottleneck on the road at Lac Notre-Dame, for the passage of trucks; what is the solution? Ans: We will approach the truck owners.
- The undersigned on short term rental: Need to know what we are talking about and what the problem is. Ans. from D. Desj. There will be a new law available to municipalities. Currently, once the permit is granted, there is not much that can be done.
- Ms. Helene Chartier: We could make money if we charged at the Pavilion.
- Stakeholder: Contractors are exceeding permits; we're seeing it right now at Lac à la Croix.
D. Desj. rep. : There is a real estate boom; but not enough resources at Planning. E. Johnston: Not many lawsuits; mostly want money from developments.
- Mr. Roger Ponce: St. Mary's Road seems to be the main entrance to the Municipality. Why not direct traffic there?

Without prejudice; by Carl Chapdelaine

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

CMQ vs. Mayor Ghali: Request for stay of proceedings rejected

Source : https://www.cmq.gouv.qc.ca/fr/tribunal-administratif/ethique-et-deontologie-municipales/citations-et-decisions#contentblock0Reminder: "On November 16, 2020, François Ghali was cited in municipal ethics, pursuant to section 22 of the Municipal Ethics and Compliance Act (Loi sur l’éthique et la déontologie en matière municipale : LEDMM) before the jurisdictional division of the Commission municipale (the Tribunal), after having been the subject of an administrative investigation by the Direction du contentieux et des enquêtes (the DCE) of the Commission municipale du Québec."
"On March 31, 2021, the defender (Mr. Ghali's attorney) brought before the Tribunal:

  1. the request for a stay of proceedings and, in the alternative, the exclusion of illegally obtained evidence, https://www.cmq.gouv.qc.ca/contentFiles/files/citations/31572-21%20-%2067448-002%20-%2067525-002.pdf
  2. as well as an application for clarification and disclosure of documents; the latter will be the subject of another decision.» CMQ XXXXX 001 Décision (gouv.qc.ca)

On September 30, 2021, the Tribunal :
- Will, at the request of the DCE, deny a stay of proceedings. Such a stay is granted only in very rare exceptions and for extreme reasons, the preamble to the judgment states.

On October 6, the Court:
- "Grants the elected official's request for clarification in part.
- Orders the DCE to provide the requested clarification to the elected official, namely the false statements (of which he is accused) made on September 29, 2020, with respect to violation 8* of the citation."
*"The lies or untruthful statements during the September 29, 2020 meeting with CDE investigators."

A citation** allows "for an Administrative Law Judge of the Commission to review the record and determine whether such a breach has occurred and, if so, the applicable sanction(s)." The Tribunal's decision in the case of the Mayor of Wentworth-Nord has not yet been issued.
**Ethics proceedings are not the same as criminal law charges..." https://conseildelamagistrature.qc.ca/fr/medias/fichiers/publication/Deonto4_web_fr_28.pdf, p. 120.

Without prejudice; by Carl Chapdelaine

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

Meeting of the Council of W-N, of October 6, 2021 (Report)


Projet d'ordre du jour            Version vidéo

All members of council, as well as Mrs. Véronique Cronier, Acting Assistant Director General and Secretary-Treasurer, were present by videoconference, except for Councillor Eric Johnston who joined by telephone. The mayor presided over the meeting. It lasted more than three hours. The Zoom meter shows about thirty participants.

Adoption of the agenda

Addition of item 4.22: Request for financial assistance from the group La Sagesse.

Councillor André Cliche said he had asked to add an item under Public Security, and concerning the stop of procedures to cancel issued traffic tickets. Mayor's reply: We cannot add this item, because these notices were cancelled in August. Mr. Cliche: So Information item under Public Interest instead.

Councilor David Zgodzinski wants to see an amendment to the added item, 6.13, requesting cost sharing for the Newaygo Bridge deck rehabilitation. Upon the Mayor's explanation of the procedure, the Councilor then asked that an item 6.14 be added, on the same subject.

Statement of the elected officials

Mayor Ghali thanks, on behalf of the citizens of Wentworth-Nord, the members of the Municipal Council for their contribution to the improvement of our living environment. He also thanked, with best wishes, the departing Councillors. He wishes all candidates good luck in the upcoming election. For those who will engage in public life, he reminds the spirit of self-sacrifice that they will have to demonstrate; the work that awaits them. He says he has done his best, with an excellent record of service by the Council. He hopes that the new Council will come back after November 7 better equipped to serve us better. Mr. Ghali will resume his statement in English.

Councillor Cliche, who is not seeking re-election, regrets certain aspects of the council's mandate in which he participated:
- My goals and efforts to participate in the progress of the municipality were largely sidetracked by, among other things, the need to respond to Mayor Ghali's attacks.
- The roads would be in better shape if there had been a preventive approach to their maintenance.
- How many people would have been able to use the trails and come to Laurel if work had continued on the trails behind City Hall and the interconnection with the Orphan trails had been completed?
- Spending on arts and culture was misallocated, such as the purchase of a $10,000 piano for the Monfort Pavilion, which was only used once. Instead, we should have supported the Table de concertation des arts et de la culture de W-N; accelerated the development of the socio-cultural center in Saint-Michel, etc.
- We could have improved local business and entrepreneurship with a development corporation and a boost to the self-employed; set up the Wentworth-Nord revitalization projects.
- Environmental protection rules should have been enforced.
- There is a lack of transparency; there should be more listening and citizen participation.
- Why borrow $1.3M for commercial development without having a clear vision of the situation?
- We need a team of motivated civil servants; without harassment; the latter having contributed to an unacceptable staff turnover.
- Our beautiful municipality has regressed on all fronts.

The Councillor particularly thanks his constituents, the employees of the municipality, the citizens of the three sectors who followed the council meetings despite the tone of the debates, his three male colleagues who supported him. He wishes good luck to the next mayor (a woman), with respect for ethics, concern for integrity, competence, budgetary follow-up and citizen participation! Councillor Cliche on Facebook

Mrs. Suzanne Y. Paradis indicated that she would have liked to have had the same respect as Mr. Cliche when she had exceeded, as he did, the two minutes allotted for statements.

Mr. Yvon Paradis, who is leaving after 40 years, says that it is not because he wants to; but that his last four years have been the hardest of his career. Visibly very moved, he thanked his constituents, staff members, councillors ... The mayor wished him well.

(The session, modelled on the previous ones, but with less virulence, will have a taste of election campaigning; with personal exchanges. For example, Mayor Ghali, when confronted with the fact that Mr. Eric Johnston is not on video conference, insinuates that he is probably in the Alps... The Councillor retorts that this is an insult to him. The Mayor will respond by indicating that Councillors must be present on municipal territory to participate in such meetings. )

Public Works

Mr. Cliche congratulated the candidate who obtained the vacant position of Director of Public Works, Mrs. Manon …?

On the request for cost sharing for the rehabilitation of the Newaygo bridge deck, 50-50%, MRC-W-N, Mr. Zgodzinski recalled that the bridge belongs to the Ministry of Transport (MTQ). He pointed out that, in 2019, the MRC had paid 100% of the repairs; but that requested information on previous split proportions had not been obtained. He therefore disagrees with such a participation of the Municipality.
The mayor informed him that, even if the structure is under the responsibility of the MTQ, the repair of the bridge decks is the responsibility of those who use them, that is to say the citizens and the Municipality, with its trucking, the snow removal, etc. But Mr. Johnston will ask how we can repair something that does not belong to us; he wants confirmation that it is possible.

It is required that the cost sharing with the MRC be established beforehand by the discussions in progress with the MRC. For Councillor Eric Johnston, why go ahead with such a sharing; when the distribution is usually 60-40%, MRC-W-N. But the mayor says that, by decision of all the mayors, all negotiations with the MRC have been postponed until after the November 7 elections.

Mr. Zgodzinski said that this explanation is false with respect to an agreement with Wentworth-Nord; and that the mayor must represent Wentworth-Nord and not Saint-Sauveur or any other municipality.

Mr. Ghali then suggested that the risk of rejecting the resolution, with a bill of $19,245, which is a bargain, is that the Municipality would be caught paying 100% of the costs and that residents would have to go through the lake to get to their homes... "Inflammatory and completely false comment", replied Mr. Zgodzinski; the section of Chemin de fer will be opened temporarily. The request was denied by the four allied councillors.

Councillor Zgodzinski then presented the same resolution, amended with the requested changes. Among other things, it is expected that the Municipality will demand the immediate resumption of cost-sharing negotiations for the MRC structures, which should then also apply to the rehabilitation of the bridge deck. It was adopted. (?)

Concerning a $34,350 paving contract in front of the Étoile du Nord, on Millette Road, a file that is dragging on, according to Mr. Johnston, the mayor does not agree with such an amount; he rather calculates it at $25,000. Mr. André Philippe Hébert will try to answer the clarifications requested by members of the council. The resolution was postponed until after the elections.

Environment

Mr. Zgodzinski had no report to present.

Urbanism

Mr. Johnston thanked his collaborators at the CCU and at the Municipality for their efforts to respond to the request.
In 8.15, the transfer for parks, playgrounds or natural spaces - building permit application 2021-0489, by Lac St-Victor Estates(?) is first postponed for verification. But, during the question period, Mr. Gino Ramachieri will try to explain the proposal. Councillor Johnston will then obtain a re-draft of the resolution, which will then be accepted.

Public Interest

Mr. Cliche will return with his point. He states that to ask, on behalf of an elected official (the mayor), the cancellation of a ticket, it goes against the respect of ethics.
Question period
It will also lend itself to the game of the election campaign; a majority of the belligerents questioning the performance of Mayor Ghali, by asking him questions on various issues, including :
- The publication or use of the municipality's financial statements. We have filed the comparative statements, the mayor replied to Ms. D. Desjardins who asked where the filing of the financial statements for 2020 that he announced is.
- The amount of the legal bill for his defense.
- The lack of decorum at these meetings.
- Why so many resignations?
- The tax increase on vacant lots, as reported in the Access newspaper.
- The true total amount of borrowing by the Municipality.
- The number of new businesses attracted to Wentworth North; i.e. none.
- The flip-flop of his position regarding the reduction of the distance between a road and a waterway in integrated projects and his absence and of his allied councillors from the consultations.
- The surplus he declared for fiscal year 2020, which Mr. Johnston will accuse him of lying about.
- The plan to direct overflow visitors to Montfort to other lakes. That will be known soon, the mayor will say.
Note: We were probably unable to record some of the mayor's responses to these questions; the reader should refer to the recording of the meeting.
Without prejudice; by Carl Chapdelaine,
Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)

Ethics and municipal elections

Faced with the breaches of the code of ethics for which several mayors and other members of municipal councils are currently cited before an administrative judge of the Commission municipale du Québec (CMQ), citizens may wonder about the honesty or the ability to discern between right and wrong of some of their elected officials. The profession of integrity, the denial of the alleged offenses, their minimization or their camouflage by the persons concerned on the one hand; the evaluation of the degree of seriousness of these offenses, or even the importance that the citizen may attach to them on the other hand, may lead the latter to refuse to renew his confidence in the said elected official or, on the contrary, to close his eyes, when it is not to allow himself to be deceived.

At the end of 2018, at the same time as the Act respecting ethics and professional conduct in municipal matters forced the adherence of municipal council members to the prescribed values, the powers of the CMQ in monitoring compliance with these same rules were increased. The lack of hindsight from these changes may explain why the behaviour of some elected officials today still seems to follow a pattern inherited from the past.

However, it seems essential that all those who are engaged in or considering a public career be subject to these rules. Aren’t the responsibilities that the government is transferring more and more to municipalities leading mayors and councillors to make more and more decisions that can affect the development of the municipality, its environment, its financial implications, including the redistribution of resources on its territory, not to mention the traditional control of its administration, its internal management, etc.?

Without a strict respect of the rules of ethics that municipal elected officials must now learn, nothing assures the citizen that all these decisions will be made objectively and without any form of favoritism. The probity in this field of the candidate to an election seems to us to be a primordial quality and one that the electorate must ensure. So, if we had to choose between probity, competence, experience, prestige, interpersonal skills, etc., of the candidates for a municipal election, how the citizen could do so, you might say.

During an election campaign, the morals and conscience of candidates, who are not very reserved in this regard, tend to become even more accommodating... Only the rules to be followed in matters of financing and political contributions seem to be publicized. And they apply only to municipalities with a population of 5,000 or more. Financement et dépenses électorales

We know that certain fraudulent electoral manoeuvres at the municipal level are punishable by fines and can lead to the disqualification of a candidate, or even of an elected official. Thus, a person who is running for election may not take advantage of services, information or equipment of the municipality to which he or she has access and which must be used exclusively by the municipality. For example, he could not use the list of citizens' addresses available to the municipality to send them election advertising; this would give him a privileged access to the electorate that a competing candidate would not have.

It is important to note that voting by mail or online is increasingly used, particularly by summer vacationers, and reaching them at their permanent home becomes a valuable campaign tool. On the other hand, if you have any problems with this type of voting, don't hesitate to call on your candidate or other resource. But don't let others vote for you!

Another example in recent news, the former mayor of St. Jerome, "Mr. Stéphane Maher, was convicted on two counts of obtaining or attempting to obtain that a person refrain from running for a council position ... by promising him an office, a job or a benefit." A former chief of staff to the mayor of Terrebonne, Mr. Alain De Choinière, was convicted on the same charge. Other elected officials, well known and in office, have only avoided opprobrium because they have not yet been denounced to the competent authorities or are still awaiting trial. The day the axe falls, their political career will be over and their supporters will take the fall.

But there are probably an infinite number of tricks that make it possible to circumvent the applicable rules of ethics. For example, in higher level elections, it has been found that two candidates have the same name, allowing a third party to divert the vote from their opponent. Similarly, the addition of a third candidate in a two-candidate race could sometimes serve the same purpose.

On a completely different level, and regardless of the outcome of the election, it is to be hoped that the fate of the municipality is not sealed for four years or forever by this "representative" democracy approach. For the more active participation of citizens in municipal life seems to have entered our customs. Do more information, consultation, and even participation via referendums or other means, not offer good indications to the municipal council on the decisions and directions to be taken? Don't they promise a more "participative" democracy?

By Carl Chapdelaine

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

Meeting Of The Council Of W-N, Of September 17, 2021 (Report)


All members of council were present by video conference as well as Ms. Véronique Cronier, Acting Assistant Director General and Secretary-Treasurer. The Mayor presides over the meeting. It will last two hours. The Zoom counter shows about 50 participants.

Following technical problems with the mayor's microphone, Ms. Cronier invited him to come to her office. 

Mr. Ghali will start the agenda, while Councillor Eric Johnston will say that he has a little problem with the recording. The mayor rebuked him for cutting him off: "It's not important that the meeting be recorded..." Mr. Johnston: "It is to me. Mayor: "That's no reason to cut me off in the middle of it, when I'm just starting the meeting."

Statement from Council Members
- The Mayor
o He congratulates the constables and praises the establishment of this service.
o He announces the coming of the vaccibus to St. Michael's Church on Thursday, September 23, and invites those who had not yet done so to get their Covid vaccine.

- Mr. David Zgodzinski
o He thanked Mr. Vendette for initiating the constable program and their training. The public has welcomed their presence, but there have been some problems, including already paying $450,000/year for the SQ. It is difficult to get the SQ here to enforce our regulations. There have also been some problems with issuing tickets for illegal parking or enforcing the rules. This is not abnormal; but needs some adjustments.
o The next council should vote for an adequate budget in this area. We need, among other things, a constable seven days a week at the Montfort beach.

Administration

The filing of the comparative statements will bring a dispute to the table. The mayor sees a surplus of $297,063 at Dec. 31, 2019; $73,660 at Dec. 31, 2020; and $155,932 projected for Dec. 31, 2021. Long-term debt was $3.99M (i.e. $4M) for 2019, plus "umbrella" loans of $1.2M, of which only a portion was used, and two other loans.

Councillor Cliche asked if a work session could be held before the end of this mandate to see if there was a need to reallocate some budgets. The Mayor will answer yes, if it is possible.

Mr. Johnston said he was a little confused by the Mayor's reading of the financial statements, as he instead had before him on page 8 the figure of $366,278 in deficit for 2019. The Mayor says he disagrees with his reading and sees his number very clearly in the same report. Mr. Johnston said he was not looking for a debate on the issue at this time.

(At the question period, Mrs. Danielle Desjardins will raise this point again. The Mayor will then recall the explanations that the accountant had given at length. In fact, the mayor referred to the words of the external auditor, Mr. Michel St-Arnaud, on May 21, 2021, to the effect that the presence here of unallocated surplus largely compensated for this deficit. He warned, however, that we should not continue in this vein. Mr. Ghali, if we understand correctly, concluded that there was no deficit but even a surplus...)

Mrs. Véronique Cronier, already acting secretary-treasurer, is appointed assistant secretary in the absence of Mrs. Matteau as secretary-treasurer.

There is a request to support the breast cancer campaign and the pink ribbon, as well as a project to install pink illuminations. On suggestion of Mrs. Paradis to make a donation, it is added $200 for the Canadian Breast Cancer Society for this purpose.

It was also adopted a salary scale for the electoral staff.

Whereas council received a letter from an employee regarding harassment, etc., it was moved by councillor Zgodzinski, seconded by councillor Cliche, and carried to request the services of a consulting firm to investigate the problem.

Concerning the policy on harassment in the workplace and given that certain persons, including elected officials, have preponderant power, it is added to this policy that if the general manager or the mayor are implicated as a party or witness, it is the council that will take the file in hand. Moved by Mr. Zgodzinski, seconded by Mr. Cliche, it was adopted (without discussion).

Public Security

Mr. Trent(?) is hired as coordinator for the constabulary, replacing Mr. Vendette.

Public Works

Regarding the contract for snow removal on municipal roads, Councillor Zgodzinski will withdraw from the vote after having declared his interest (parcel of land) for Hunter Street. Mr. Paradis will vote against the adoption of the contract which includes the snow removal of part of the street on this parcel. (To be verified.)

Environment

The Comité consultatif sur l’environnement (CCE)’ Chair, M. Zgodzinski noted that there were two main items discussed:
1. The Committee supports the need to have a constable at Montfort Beach seven days a week in the summer due to the danger, recognized by the residents of Wentworth-Nord, of introducing Eurasian water milfoil in the lakes.
2. In 2020, the Municipality had budgeted $20,000 for environmental protection; the final cost was $46,000. The latter figure is a small amount in the overall budget. In 2021, $44,000 has been budgeted; but the CCE believes that more will be needed in the next budget.

Urban planning and economic development

CCU President Johnston thanked everyone who participated in the consultation on the proposed amendments to the 2017-498 zoning by-law. Mr. Cliche will add his voice to that of Mr. Johnston.

The Mayor announced that permits for the month of August totaled approximately 5 times more than at this time last year. The increase in building permits since the beginning of the year, the Mayor added, means even less taxes for taxpayers.

By-law 2017-498-10, applicable to integrated projects and which was the subject of the consultation, is adopted; but without Article 5, denounced by the majority and which reduced the minimum distance required between a road and a watercourse.

In relation to the previous by-law, the mayor also announced that Council intends to adopt a PPCMOI by-law (Projet particulier de construction, de modification ou d'occupation d'un immeuble), which, in a case-by-case analysis and with several conditions, allows certain exemptions. The adoption of such a by-law will be subject to the referendum procedure.

Mr. Johnston commented on the adoption of By-law 2017-498-10, stating that he finds it sad that such an important by-law is presented in a way that is inextricable to the public; with unseen implications. He hopes that in the future, there will be more transparency in the presentation of by-laws containing important changes; especially in environmental matters. The mayor said he did not know what the councillor was implying, but he pointed out that he had never asked to reduce the distance between a road and a waterway.

Two PIIAs for new construction, on Jackson Road and North Summit Road, will be adopted.

Recreation, culture and community life

A $30,000 grant through the MRC will be used to build a lookout at Cap Rocheux, Lake Laurel.

Special Projects

Given the current overflow of the 6 semiunderground bins on the shores of Lake Notre-Dame and an increase in the amount of material to be disposed of there, due, among other things, to short-term rentals in the Thurson and Wheeler Lake sector, it is proposed, in 10.1, to install the six bins available to the Municipality in the Thurson Lake sector.

Mr. Johnston would like to add an amendment indicating that the necessary funds would be taken from the working capital. He also added comments to the effect that some residents use these bins rather than keeping the waste on their property. He also questioned how the additional costs for the collection of bulky items and garbage, as well as the clean-up around the bins, could be paid for by those who generate them. Mr. Paradis replied that he had been asking this question for four years, without ever having received an answer. He will be the only one to vote against this installation. Mr. Cliche spoke of perhaps taxing more (involved) businesses.

Whereas, among other things, the property tax on vacant land was imposed to combat land speculation; but that it is unfair to the many residents who have owned land all their lives. Whereas, it was also intended to be used to balance the budget without otherwise increasing the tax rate. Whereas the Mayor has announced that there is a budget surplus!!! Mr. Johnston proposes, in 10.2, to abolish it and to use the general property tax for any possible shortfall.

Mr. Cliche agrees with most of the arguments put forward by his colleague. However, he argues that many residents, like himself and especially those who can afford it, keep land around their property, which can therefore not be built on. In this case, this "tranquility tax" seems justified and he votes against its abolition. The mayor called many of these whereas unpleasant and hoped that the new council would not consider this resolution if it were to be adopted. He added that it has a role on the redistribution of wealth and that it serves indeed to allow not increasing the tax rate.

Mr. Johnston took issue with the fact that this tax in disguise is said to be to combat land speculation. There are 1929 cases of these taxes on vacant lots in Wentworth-Nord; but he does not believe that the majority of these are speculators. If we abolish this bylaw now, the future council will be able to decide more quickly what to do with this file in the preparation of the next budget. Mr. Paradis, who says that other municipalities have abolished it, votes for the proposal. Mrs. Paradis and Rioux, as well as Mr. Cliche and Zgodzinski voted against the abolition of this by-law. The resolution was defeated.

Question period

In a written submission, Mr. Réjean Sergerie (?) said he was against the draft by-law 2017-498-10. The mayor reminded him that the denounced clause, on the modification of the distance between the road and the waterway, was withdrawn from the adopted draft by-law.
Mr. Philippe Marchessault, referring to the semi-submerged bins mentioned for Lake Notre-Dame, said that the Newaygo recycling bin is also overflowing; that perhaps one should be added or that cottagers should be asked to bring these materials back to town, as he does himself. In response, the mayor suggested that an awareness campaign be undertaken.

Mrs. Danielle Desjardins asked:
1. If, in the adopted By-law 2017-498-10, the terms and conditions for the construction of the driveway are also removed from it. At the invitation of the Mayor, Mr. Johnston replied that he did not really know. Ms. Desjardins stated that this part should also be excluded from the bylaw.
2. To Mr. Ghali: Have the Financial Statements for 2020 been tabled at City Council? Not yet," said the mayor. "Then how can you say that we have a surplus of $73,400?" Mayor: They were tabled tonight; but not audited. Mrs. Desjardins: you said "not tabled" so it is confidential; they are not public. The Mayor: "We are not going to be stubborn about this! ... They will be in the minutes tonight".
3. You talk about a surplus for 2019; while the auditor indicates a deficit...

Mr. Pascal Moreau questions:
1. On the distances that were mentioned in the draft by-law 2017-498-10. Reply from Mr. Johnston: The 60 m comes from the subdivision by-law. The 10 m was proposed in section 5 of the zoning bylaw; but, as it has been withdrawn, it is the subdivision bylaw that will determine the regulations applicable in integrated projects. Road construction specifications are probably also under the subdivision; but this is to be verified.
2. On the subject of vacant lots, he finds that there is an incongruity in this by-law, which deals with an issue that is more complex than it appears. The mayor answered that, despite the rejection of Mr. Johnston's resolution, the by-law will be studied more carefully and fairly by the next council, of which he thinks he will be a member. He said he (now) agrees with some of the points raised by the Councillor.

Adrian Hausermann:
Regarding Bylaw 2017-498-10, Mr. Mayor, do you read the minutes of the advisory committees that issued opinions on the issue of distance between road and watercourse? Mr. Ghali: I don't have to answer that kind of question; do you have another one? Mr. Hausermann commented instead that he hoped the future mayor would be more open. "It's a shame!"

Without prejudice, by Carl Chapdelaine

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

Meeting with Vision Wentworth-Nord

Not knowing if we were going to a happy hour with the mayor or with candidate François Ghali, on this September 10th, we could not expect all the candidates of the Vision group to be present at the entrance of the Montfort Pavilion. Mr. Raymond Noël, aspiring Councillor for District 5, would be seated at the podium next to Mr. Ghali. About 60 people would eventually fill the room.

To comply with the Covid 19 prevention measures, forty bags containing a light snack had been prepared by the Filles de la Sagesse. By keeping a distance of one meter between each bubble, we could, on the other hand, show our real faces...

Mr. Ghali distributed a small electoral leaflet on Raymond Noël and himself, summarizing their achievements and their priorities. Then each candidate for a council position for the Vision group introduced himself, giving some details about his person, his relevant experience and why he is involved. There were: Ms. Rioux, Ms. Marie-Lisa Laflamme, Ms. Paradis, Ms. McSween and Mr. Noël. No candidate had yet been nominated for district 6.

The candidate for mayor for a second term spoke at length about his experience, his long involvement and his achievements, formerly in his own company in signage and communication, as well as in the provincial and municipal environment. For the latter, he was the councillor of Ville Saint-Laurent who had imagined and created the famous Technoparc.

Saying he was still the same man at his age, he reiterated the points of his 2017 program and highlighted his many accomplishments during the mandate he completed in Wentworth-Nord. He focused on the breakthrough that was about to take place in the rehabilitation of the municipality's main road network thanks to the $11.9 million grant that his administration had obtained from the government. Other major advances were also on the horizon, including the coverage of the territory by high-speed Internet in less than two years.

The municipality's finances were excellent, contrary to the claims of its opponents. Collective property wealth had grown because of the attraction of new owners and the interest of developers in integrated real estate projects. (See François Ghali as Mayor of Wentworth-Nord, on Facebook Cf. François Ghali à la mairie de Wentworth-Nord, sur Facebook)

Under a new mandate, with his team at the helm, the future looked bright for the citizens of Wentworth-Nord.
His presentation and avenues of solution for the problems experienced in Montfort, including the use and occupancy rights on the shared lane of the Aerobic Corridor, the control of the influx of visitors, the use and ownership of the Pavilion, etc., and on which he had based the main object of this meeting, were not going to go down like butter in the pan.

Mr. Ghali had indicated that the government wanted to allow everyone to benefit from the P'tit train du Nord trail as well as the Aerobic Corridor trail. Many people straddled the right of way. Originally, they had to access their property by boat. To ensure that various accessory constructions of these owners were covered by their insurance on an annual basis, to compensate the government in case of a problem, the government could only grant them an annual right of occupancy. A lawyer was consulted.

But a resident of that Chemin-de-fer street, who was about to leave Montfort after spending part of her life there, called the position that the mayoral candidate bravely claimed was imposed by the government "insane". Another speaker spoke of a vested interest. Another, who has no buildings on public property, asked how these insurance requirements could affect her. Unfortunately, we did not hear Mr. Ghali's short reply to the latter. He pointed out, with a confidential document in hand, that an agreement with the MRC and the government was on the table; but that outgoing councilor David Zgodzinski and councilor André Cliche, two members of council with whom he had a lot of problems, had refused to sign.

Regarding the problem of the influx of visitors, which Montfort was not the only one to have experienced in the Laurentians, he had a solution to propose. It was, we understood, to move a Municipal Hall building to the side of Laurel-station, where the Aerobic Corridor crosses the Route Principale, on land owned by the Municipality. Would it become the new reception center for the Corridor, in place of the Montfort Pavilion? The latter, left in the hands of the Municipality, would be used for socio-cultural activities. This would solve a good part of the problem.

Furthermore, by widening the shared lane of the Aerobic Corridor, we could separate the users and allow for safer use.
To reduce the pressure on Lake St. Francois-Xavier, and as he had already proposed, some of the boats rented at the Pavilion would be sent to other lakes in Wentworth-Nord.

(Hoping to complete our understanding of these solutions, we also expect more details to be provided on the feasibility and implications in terms of financial burdens, responsibilities, environmental protection, need for reception and surveillance personnel, etc., imposed on the Municipality by these proposals; as well as the expected impact on the influx of visitors to Montfort or on the sharing of the Corridor between residents and other users).

To a question about the reduction of the minimum distance between a road and a watercourse, in the draft by-law submitted for consultation on September 7, Mr. Ghali, anticipating the Council's decision, answered that this project was, of course, abandoned; that we take the citizens' wishes to heart and that we never go against their wishes.

He concluded the exchanges by saying that, in a small municipality like ours, we can talk directly to each other. It was necessary to vote, whatever one's choice.

With all due respect, by Carl Chapdelaine

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

Municipal and Electoral Assemblies

In a chain of emails, and in response to a request from residents of Chemin-de-fer Street to the Mayor, Councillor and Prefecture, to take action to address the threat to safety by some cyclists on this shared roadway, Mayor Ghali, had extended a personal invitation to these residents (but not all) to come and meet with him to discuss the issues raised in the request or other matters concerning the Montfort area.

The meeting will be held at the Montfort Pavilion on Friday, September 10, at 5:00 p.m. (or 4:00 p.m.?), and may, in fact, be open to all. A light meal will be served to the guests.

It should be noted that the candidate for mayor, Mrs. Danielle Desjardins, held an election meeting on August 28 on the property of Mr. Dean Barrière. Mr. Barrière had submitted his candidacy for the position of Councillor for District 5. However, he had to withdraw it due to new professional commitments. Mrs. Desjardins questioned Mayor Ghali's administration, presented her proposals to address the concerns of Montfort residents and answered questions from the 40 or so guests in attendance.

We were told that Mr. Ghali and Noël, his candidate in the district, as well as Mrs. Desjardins, accompanied by Mrs. Colleen Horan, her new candidate in replacement of Mr. Barrière, were seen visiting Montfort residents to, no doubt, share their program and answer their questions.

Without prejudice, by Carl Chapdelaine

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

Thank you and regrets from Councillor David Zgodzinski

Among other things:
- He would like to thank all the residents of Montfort: "I've had the honor of being your representative on City Council for the past four years."
- He reminds us that "there are important issues here that are still waiting to be resolved," and he is disappointed that he has not been successful in this task.
- He vigorously attacks the past mandate of Mayor Ghali, regretting having been his ally in the last election campaign.
- He returns against "the dangerous practices of the tourist activity of the MRC in Montfort" and the bad contract for the maintenance of its facilities signed by the Municipality.
- The effort of the administration to put more documentation in English, promised by the mayor to English speakers, was reluctant and minimal.
- He noted the absence of constables at the beach, although the council had unanimously adopted a resolution to have them on duty.

* After the last election, Maire Ghali had a “team” of four councillors who supported him. After seeing Mr. Ghali's inept, autocratic management, and his arrogant and aggressive behavior, Eric Johnston and myself moved to the opposite side of the table. Jean-Luc Groulx, another member of his team quit the council altogether. He is a firefighter and in his resignation letter he declared that he would rather run into a burning building than attend the council meetings because of the toxic atmosphere. Of the four councillors who initially supported Mr. Ghali, only one remains.

By Carl Chapdelaine

Consultation on Proposed Amendments to Zoning By-law 2017-498

Sept. 7, 2021 

(Report)


Mr. Cadieux will present the draft by-laws 2017-498 (-10 and -11), by which the Municipality wishes to amend the by-law, with a power point. (See the tables in the Power Point for more details on the projects; as well as our articles for a retrospective on the subject: Public consultation: minimum distance between a road to be built and a water body: Consultation publique: distance minimale entre une route à construire et un plan d'eau.) 

He will apologize for the fact that this consultation session, with over 100 participants at the beginning, was not recorded.

Note: A seemingly innocuous, but in fact critical, element of these amendments may be the naming of a private on-ramp within the perimeter of an integrated project, or a road connecting various buildings within the project, as a "vehicular lane". Thus, vehicular lane rather than road or street; with the difference in the standards assigned to one rather than the other.
Two of the objectives of the proposed amendments are:
1. To reduce the construction standards for these vehicular lanes.
2. To reduce the minimum distances normally required between these vehicular lanes and a watercourse, i.e. from 60 m to 10 m (or 15 m for slopes).

Councillor David Zgodzinski: Why 60 m to 10/15 m? Who asked for this?
Reply from Mr. Cadieux (in our words)
1. Since Bill 67, which came into force on March 25, no longer allows for derogation in the face of a particular problem for a residential project, such as being too close to a road to a waterway due to topography or connecting to an existing street, the amendments to Bylaw 2017-498 will alleviate this problem. Etc.
2. We followed the example of other municipalities.
A lot of integrated projects are running into the requirements of the current regulations.

Ms. Laurence Lebeux:
1. There are projects that change the topography of the site and influence the hydrography.
2. If anything, there is a need for more restrictive regulations; independent advice; etc.
Answer 1. Proponents give us more information than we have... (?)
2. I will look into it.

M. ? (spouse of Ms. Jayne Pollock) :
1. Because it's private, there will be no municipal control; right?
2. No limit to the length of the lane allowed either?
Answer: Yes, that’s it.

Mr. Sylvain Lebrun: ...
Answer:
1. We try to work with the promoters to allow them to carry out their project (in the respect of the regulations).
2. There are several projects under study.

Mr. Landry: We are reducing the distance for large projects; shouldn't it logically be increased?

Councillor Eric Johnston:
- (At last June's council meeting, Councillor, along with his colleague Zgodzinski, had asked for the rejection of a section of the draft bylaw-2017-497-1, already introducing this reduction to 10 or 15 m from a watercourse; he wanted more analysis of its impact. But the other members had still passed the bylaw as is. At the August 20 Council meeting, he again asked that rules regarding the consequent increased danger of runoff that could affect a watercourse be introduced in this draft by-law).
- Bill 67 has changed this; no longer is a minor variance granted for the minimum 60m distance between a road and a watercourse. But, with draft by-law 2017-498-10, it is no longer called a road in the case of an integrated housing project; it becomes a vehicular lane. So it is no longer subject to regulation; it just has to respect the zoning of the site.
- Benoit Cadieux: That's it!

Mr. J-P Durand (Lake Wentworth): This by-law is nonsense. When we go, even if only to clear snow from this road, it will affect the watercourse located as close as possible. It is against the spirit of the policy of the Ministry of the Environment.

Ms. Brigitte Thomas: Do we have to destroy our environment to allow development? We need independent analyses on the projects.

Mrs. Danielle Desjardins intervenes for:
1. Asking why, contrary to the four other members of the council, the mayor and the two councillors do not participate in the meeting.
2. Inviting them to take a step back.
3. Suggesting that participants put their comments in writing by September 16; the only way to ensure that they are retained.
4. Asking if the bill will be subject to referendum approval.
Response from Mr. Cadieux on the last point (see Power Point): We are at the consultation stage. The project can still be modified by the council before going to the second presentation. It will then be published and submitted to the request for a referendum to the owners whose properties are included in the project and those whose properties are adjacent to it. This may not be until a new council is formed. (?)
5. The referendum request should not be limited to these areas. The entire municipality will eventually be subject to this new regulation, not just integrated projects in designated residential areas. All residents are affected.
Answer: The procedure for holding such a referendum would have to be changed. It is up to council to decide. (?)
6. We don't want "vehicular lanes" to be built so close to waterways.

Ms. Katherine Lund (Lake St. X):
a. In the case of a project on Thurson Lake, a tributary of Lake St. Francois-Xavier, the residents of the latter lake cannot request a referendum because, for the most part, they are not neighbors of the properties included in the project.
b. Why such a proposed by-law? She is opposed to it.
Answer: There is always the possibility for council to intervene through the Règlement sur les plans d’implantation et d’intégration architecturale (PIIA) (Site Planning and Architectural Integration Program by-law).

Mr. Dwight Brown, Morin-Heights, asked if it is not useless to present a draft by-law based on legislation that dates back to 2017, when the government has announced Bill 132, in 2018, which will force the updating of such a draft by-law.
Answer: Mr. Cadieux admits that this will have an impact on the regulations.

Mr. Pascal Moreau would like to have an idea of the projects on the table.
Answer: Two of the projects under consideration have been presented publicly:
a. The project at La Musarde Lake.
b. The project at Lac à la Croix.

Mr. Martin Tessier presented himself as one of the promoters. His project, on the side of Saint-Michel, runs up against certain provisions of the current regulations. He gives an example of a case where one would have the choice between reducing the distance between a road and a watercourse, or blasting a rock face located less than 60 m from the shore. (This must often be the case with the topography of the Laurentians).

Ms. Danielle Desjardins enters the debate and, saying that she had discussed her project with Mr. Tessier, asks him if her proposal for a solution via the PPCMOI (Projet particulier de construction, de modification ou d'occupation d'un immeuble) regulation had been presented and why it was not retained.Mr. Cadieux interrupts her, fearing that his intervention will become political.

Councillor Johnston will say that the PPCMOI is indeed an alternative to this change in regulations, and that could accommodate everyone.

Ms. Marta Karwin-Szymznowski, Lake St. Victor, will give her opinion that:
a. The change in the minimum distance is too great.
b. The draft by-law does not have enough teeth.
c. The current regulations are already not met.
d. The whole population should be able to participate in the request for a referendum on its adoption.

Councillor André Cliche, who says he is impressed by the participation in this consultation, indicates:
a. That we probably need to adapt the regulations to our topography.
b. That it needs to be given teeth.
Mr. Adrian Hausermann, member of the Comité consultatif en environnement (CCE), Montfort section, recalls that the discussion on the possibility of reducing from 75 m to 60 m, which the CCE opposed, had only just been completed when the intention was to reduce to 10/15 m. He called for foresight.

Ms. L. Lebeux will have the opportunity later to ask if the members of the advisory committees have any specific expertise. Mr. Cadieux will inform her that they are chosen as representatives of their district, and do not necessarily have any particular expertise. (A position was open in her area, and she expressed interest).

Ms. Desjardins, seeking to get the Director to rule on a dispute between her and the Mayor on this matter, asked him if a candidate in the municipal election could run for such a position. Councillor Cliche will answer yes.

Ms. Karine Dostie (District 1) will indicate:
a. That she is for development; but not at the expense of the environment.
b. That it is difficult for the citizen, in general, to have all the necessary information to pronounce on the projects of by-laws which, however, concern them.

Mr. Roger Ponce, from Montfort, will emphasize the anti-democratic aspect and the absurdity of not allowing citizens to ask for a referendum, even when they are concerned by the impact, for example, of projects on the lakes where they live; because their property is not contiguous to the ones where the projects take place.

Councillor Johnston will indicate that there is indeed this possibility to intervene here on the approval of a project through the PIIA, but that it is per project; whereas a by-law is valid for all projects.

Ms. L. Lebeux will let us see that the provincial laws tend to increase the environmental protection measures for waterways, whereas such draft regulations tend to restrict them. This is not desirable in the Laurentians.
Reply from Mr. Cadieux: The government is issuing a policy here rather than a law.

Other stakeholders will have asked questions or given their opinion on the proposed regulatory amendment. Most of them echoed one or another aspect of the discussions we reported. All of them, except for the proponents of projects directly affected by this amendment, seemed not to be in favour of reducing, at least as drastically, the minimum distance required between a road, even a "vehicular lane", and a watercourse.

Ms. D. Desjardins asked the Director if the statement of his recommendations would be available to the citizens.
Mr. Johnston's answer: It is the policy of the Municipality to make the results of the consultations available; however, it is not an obligation for the council. He added that, nevertheless, the citizens' opinions given in writing are recorded according to the policy governing public consultations.

With the attendance having increased to 49 people, Mr. Cadieux presented the second draft by-law registered for this consultation.

At the close of the session, with only 12 participants remaining, Ms. Desjardins, thanking the Director, as several others in the audience had done, stated that people, as on this occasion, should participate in municipal life.

With all due respec, tby Carl Chapdelaine

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


Meeting Of The Council Of W-N, Of August 20, 2021 (report)

Ordre du jour    Video version      Journal Accès

All members of council are in videoconference, as well as Mrs. Véronique Cronier, assistant director general and acting secretary-treasurer. The Mayor presides over the meeting. It will last three and a half hours. Approximately thirty participants were present at the Zoom counter.
Adoption of the agenda

Councillor Eric Johnston asked to add three "public interest" items to the agenda:
1. the employee complaint;
2. PTI (Three Year Capital Plan 2021) funding;
3. the constable.

Mr. Ghali immediately criticizes the councilor for always submitting resolutions at short notice; that it is not allowed by law (by the internal procedure code in fact); that there must be a minimum of 72 hours before the meeting... Mr. Johnston replies that the law cannot prevent a councilor from submitting resolutions when it is of public interest. Ok! Agreed the mayor.

Councillor André Cliche said he also had an item to add, and that was about:
4. Council's expectations.

(On Mr. Johnston's first point, let us clarify that, according to rumours that seem to be true, the Municipality has received a complaint of psychological harassment against Ms. Matteau, from Mr. Robinette, president of the union, on her behalf and on behalf of other employees. A grievance has also been filed). Mr. Ghali asked if this was the complaint of an employee or employees. Councillor's reply: Employees. Councilor Suzanne Y. Paradis interjects here to ask if this is really the employees' complaint. Mr. Johnston says he is referring to the letter from the union representative.

(It is clear that this is a hot button issue from the beginning, that of harassment complaints against employees, and that it is between members of Council, with each party accusing the other of being the source. Here, we understand that the Mayor and the respondent, the DG, have asked the same lawyer who is negotiating the renewal of the contract with the union to investigate the President of the union in relation to the complaint he has filed; to investigate the complainant rather than the complaint itself.)

As the mayor was about to reconvene the meeting, Mr. Johnston stated that the agenda should be amended by adding these items. The mayor rebuked him by asking ironically if he wanted to chair the meeting. To which the Councillor replied, "If you'll allow me; yes!" The agenda was therefore adopted as amended.

Statement by elected officials

No statement from the Mayor.
Councillor Suzanne Y. Paradis, for her part, invoked information on the labour shortage in Quebec to explain the departure of certain employees. (While some councillors suspect a tense work climate at Maison du citoyen).

Administration

In 4.2, all public notices can be posted on the website and on the Voilà platform.
In 4.3, the last regular council meeting was moved up to October 6, to be held at least 30 days before the municipal election, as required by law.
In 4.4 and 4.5, Council's desire to see the installation of electric charging stations in Laurel, Saint-Michel and Montfort led it to commission a study, at a cost of $9,600, from Bornes Québec on the capacity of the network to support this load. A request will also be sent to Hydro-Quebec to qualify for a grant under its program to deploy 4,500 standard charging stations, with the help of municipalities, by 2028. An electric charging station can cost $24,000, Ghali reportedly said. "The financial assistance offered by Hydro-Quebec can reach up to $12,000 per standard terminal," the organization's website states).

In 4.6, it is finally the adoption of by-law 2021-588 decreeing expenditures for road rehabilitation and a loan of $13,961,685, repayable over a period not exceeding 20 years, for rehabilitation work ... on Jackson Road, Principale Road and Millette Road...". Mr. Johnston asked if the item on the agenda concerning the reimbursement period had been changed from 25 to 20 years and Mr. Ghali and Ms. Cronier confirmed that it was.
The mayor congratulated the members of council for this historic moment and this great victory for the citizens of Wentworth-Nord, since important improvements to this road network will be carried out and subsidized at 90% by the governments. In 4.7, follows the authorization to go to tender for the finalization of the plans and specifications and the supervision of the work sites.

Public security

In 5.3, the hiring of a constable, Mr. David Hénault (?), to replace, at least partially, those "who have gone to the wind", said the mayor; he welcomed him on board.
In 5.4, the departure of the coordinator of the constable's team (Mr. Vendette), leads Mr. Cliche to express his regrets regarding the loss of a valuable employee. He wants to know the reasons for his departure. The mayor said he had no answer, except that the suspension of a constable did not seem unrelated to all these departures, as well as the family or other reasons given by the resignants. Mr. Cliche then asked that the Human Resources Committee organize an exit interview with the resigning employee to see if the administration should not question itself on the work environment it offers.

Stung, the mayor replied that there would be fewer problems if Council's interference with the administration stopped... He accused the councillor of wanting an investigation. Mr. Cliche interrupted him, raising his voice, to refute this judgment, saying that it would be an exit interview, which is a common practice. The mayor says Mr. Vendette insisted, as a reason, on "political interference." "I don't think so," the councilman replied. The mayor accuses Mr. Cliche and Mr. Zgodzinski "of insisting that constables issue violation notices in a coercive manner." The two councillors cried foul; Mr. Zgodzinski even snapped out of it at the mayor's "joke" and asked him to cite a single example.

Ms. Rioux and Mr. Johnston intervened, stating that Mr. Vendette's main reason was his mother's illness and family reasons, while Mr. Johnston heard him mention "that he found his job difficult with the municipality". He supported Mr. Cliche's request for an appointment with the principal. Here Mr. Zgodzinski recalled that he wanted the mayor to give him an example of what he had said; that he had made a very serious accusation against councilors. Mr. Ghali replied that it would not take long. He will do so in a later item on illegal parking tickets. (We could not really grasp the explanation), which the Councillor asked to clarify. The Mayor will have to grant Mr. Vendette's request to meet with the Human Resources Committee.

Public works

Mr. Cliche presented his report of the Roads Committee. He explains that the new director of the service hired would not have succeeded in her integration, and that the recruitment for this position was relaunched.
He also discusses, among other things, the problems of the grader that needs to be replaced. He spoke about the necessary follow-ups of the road budget and the need for adequate programming.
He deplores the fact that Quebec does not grant funds for the repair of the Lanthier bridge; but he adds that it is necessary to go ahead with this project immediately. He regrets that a policy for gravel selection could not be agreed upon.
As for the flooding of the church basement, he reported that the MTQ had installed undersized conduits to control the overflow of the Rivière de l’Ouest.
The mayor will comment that he could not list all the things the councillor said that were false in his report... Mr. Cliche will ironically reply to the mayor that he will have been faithful to his unspeakable behaviour until the end (of his mandate).

In 6.2, on the deterioration of the Newaygo bridge, the mayor reports that the MRC is proposing a 50/50 sharing of the $41,000 cost of repair with the municipality. However, Councillor Zgodzinski reminded everyone that this bridge belongs to the MTQ. He wanted to know if, under Mr. Genest's administration as mayor, the Municipality had shared the bills with these administrations, which have much more financial means than it does. Reluctantly, the mayor will eventually propose to withdraw this item until the audit requested by the councillor is done.

At item 6.7, the mayor will reopen the controversy on the use or purchase of gravel for Notre-Dame-Sud Street. A new spat ensued and Mr. Johnston accused the Mayor of giving false information.

Urban planning and economic development

The Mayor is pleased to see that the list of permits indicates that $15M in work has been undertaken since the beginning of the year, compared to $5M in 2020 for the same period. This can only have a good impact on the tax bill.

In 8.13, the request for written consultation on the project to amend zoning bylaw #2017-498 (integrated project), to accommodate developers, leads Councillor Johnston to submit that the details of the consultation notice here must be very well described, since it is a matter of allowing the construction of a road within 10 or 15 m of a watercourse. The by-law, not giving rules concerning the consequent increased danger of runoff that could affect a watercourse, must be amended to introduce such rules. The mayor criticized the councillor for saying that the by-law was to accommodate "a" developer. Mr. Johnston denies this.

In 8.17, it is about Mr. Glen Johnston's offer to purchase a small strip of land in front of his property, at Lake St-François-Xavier, and which would belong to the Municipality. The mayor explained that this is to normalize a strange situation (in fact, it may be a situation that arose after the cadastral reform and that teaches someone who thought he was the owner of a piece of land all along that he is no longer the owner... This is the case for many owners around this lake. If it is the riparian strip, he has therefore paid taxes for a property bordering the lake, and he must now buy this municipal lot without being reimbursed for the excess taxes paid since he became an owner. In these cases, it seems to us that there is a statute of limitations and that the Municipality cannot claim to be the owner of this land today. The undersigned has submitted his own case to the Radio-Canada program La Facture and hopes to hear about it).

Recreation, culture and community life

In 9.2, it is about applying for a grant from the Programme d'aide financière pour les bâtiments municipaux (PRABAM), and, in 9.3, about the creation of an advisory committee for the renovation project of the Saint-Michel church. The formation of this committee triggered a debate in Council, with Councillor A. Cliche asked that Mrs. Karine Brunet be part of this committee. Mr. Ghali took exception to this, noting that she is a candidate for the position of district councillor. (What if she were not elected to that position? Or if a councillor, currently on another committee, was defeated on the next ballot? Doesn't a candidate for such a position have the right to be on an advisory committee?) Council will vote to give Brunet a seat on the committee.

9.5 sparked further debate as Councillors, including Mr. Cliche, objected to the "extension for the FRR community garden project". They objected, not because of any opposition to this type of project, but because, they claimed, of the lack of documentation to support the request.

In 9.7. Mr. Cliche would like to see a more beautiful reception area for the trails behind City Hall. On this occasion, the mayor will tell him that he is disorganized (in his presentations or otherwise?)

Special Projects

These are the agenda items added at the beginning.
E. Johnston:
1. The employee complaint. He asked that an independent audit of this complaint be commissioned from the law firm of Bélanger-Sauvé, (rather than left to Me Giroux, the lawyer in charge of negotiations with the union, whose president, along with other employees, brought this harassment complaint against the DG, Ms. Matteau). (See also our description at the Administration).
Mr. Ghali and Ms. Paradis objected to this request. The mayor implored councillors Yvon Paradis, Johnston, Zgodzinski and Cliche not to fall into the trap of the union, with this letter which contains serious allegations. However, the latter see Me Giroux as both judge and party, and have this request adopted. The mayor says that this will destabilize the administration of the municipality. He will also ask each of the four councillors if they did not participate in the letter of complaint. This insinuation will lead to strong protests from the latter, who, of course, deny any involvement in the drafting of the complaint.

2. ITP funding. This resolution concerns the allocation of certain funds. But the recitals and lengthy details provided by Mr. Johnston are difficult to follow. This will lead the mayor to say that, not having the text of this last minute resolution in front of him and not having understood half of the reading of it by the councilor in his "broken French", he was not able to discuss it. Mr. Johnston then invited Ms. Cronier to read the resolution. The Mayor intervened to ask the Councillor why he did not wait until the next meeting to present it. The Councillor says that it is to allow immediately going ahead with programmed road works.
Here, Mrs. Suzanne Paradis denounces the way of proceeding of Mr. Cliche, of the road committee, and of Mr. Johnston. Then the mayor intervenes by denouncing the harassment that the councillors would have exerted towards the constables. (We are not dealing with this point, but the mayor is in an election campaign...) Mrs. Paradis and Rioux vote against the adoption of this resolution, which is nevertheless adopted by the majority. The mayor considers it illegal because the text was not available in time.

3. The constable. (This resolution will lead to as many arguments as the first two) Mr. Johnston will ask Mrs. Cronier to read it, since his French, in spite of his efforts, is incomprehensible for the mayor...
In view of the absence of a constable on duty during the necessary periods, it is requested to put back on active duty the constable who was assigned to administrative tasks. Ms. Paradis and Ms. Rioux, as well as the Mayor, voted against the resolution, which was adopted by the majority. Mr. Ghali tells Mr. Johnston that what he is doing is unacceptable...; but he is interrupted here by a question from Ms. Paradis and he will not complete his statement.

André Cliche:
4. The expectations of the council. Mr. Cliche presents his resolution. It is, in a way, to remind the general management that it must follow and respond to the decisions taken by the council in the various sectors that concern the administration. The mayor summarized by saying that it is a matter of respecting the expectations of the council, that no one is against virtue and that he obviously agrees, provided that one is not required to do the impossible. Carried unanimously.

Question period

Mr. David Clark to the Mayor: What is the status of the Hunter Street Extension? There is no news on this road which seriously compromises the environment of Lake St. Francois-Xavier and on which you had announced your personal involvement. The mayor invited Mr. Zgodzinski to answer Mr. Clark, since he is the one "who is preventing him from moving forward on this file"; who is preventing him from talking to the citizens; who is blocking any solution put on the table and who is not doing anything about it. The Councillor said that it is difficult to answer after this completely false introduction. The problem is that a case is now in the hands of the lawyers; that there is a formal notice by Mr. Clark's neighbors. All because the mayor, who thinks he's a genius, made bad decisions without the necessary expertise. Mr. Ghali then offered to meet with the citizens of Hunter Street, if they wished, to present them with solutions; but without the dictatorial presence of Mr. Zgodzinski, who prevents him from speaking.

Mr. Clark then asked the mayor if he found it acceptable that after two years, his administration had not found a solution to the problem. The mayor admits that it is unacceptable; but it is the fault of the councilor who took charge; he who made Montfort a hell... Mr. Zgodzinski then bursts out laughing.

Then Mr. Dean Barrière asked if there was no plan B to compensate for the lack of constabulary supervision in Montfort. Mr. Ghali recalls the hiring of a new constable and stresses, once again, that no one is required to do the impossible. He added that the constable program "was rotten by two councillors, Mr. Zgodzinski and Cliche, and that we are paying the consequences. Mr. Cliche, once again stung to the core, said that he no longer had any tolerance for the falsehoods or electoral and defamatory comments of the mayor. He then referred to the attacks of some citizens against constables, seeming to blame the mayor or his administration for not seeing better to the protection of its employees.
Mr. Barrière wanted to ask another question, but the mayor refused him, saying that he did not raise his hand.

Mr. Richard Landry asked why tickets for illegal parking (near Réjean Street West), given by the constables he had called, were cancelled by the administration? The Mayor answered that many tickets were issued, but deemed inappropriate by the administration or affected by vagueness in the regulations. Mr. Johnston asked Ms. Cronier to find out if there is a ban on parking on someone else's private road in Wentworth-Nord.

Ms. Karine Dostie, candidate with Ms. Desjardins for the position of councillor in district 1 and who would have seen her candidacy refused on the advisory committee for the repair of the Saint-Michel church, as for Ms. Karine Brunet, candidate in district 2, asks the mayor for explanations concerning his position, which disappoints her, on the right of a candidate in municipal elections to sit or not. Mr. Ghali replied that he was opposed, in theory, on ethical grounds; that such a committee should not be an electoral forum.

Ms. Nadine Dufour, noting that some visitors go to Lake St. Francois-Xavier without washing their paddleboards, or use the reserved beach, wants to know if a way will be found to address this problem. The mayor reminds that visitors from the Montreal area, faced with the confinement conditions, invade all the municipalities of the Laurentians; that the constable program was set up to try to see to the protection of the people and the lakes.

Mr. Raymond Noël, candidate as councillor for District 5 with Mr. Ghali, made an intervention that we could not understand.

Mrs. Colleen Horan, recalling that we were supposed to have a constable assigned to the Montfort beach, wants to know why it is not the case, we understand. She also asked why they don't charge for parking and washing the boats. Because people would prefer to break the regulations on this washing, answers D. Zgodzinski; we must first make sure that the constabulary control works. As for paid parking, the MRC authorities would have to be convinced.

Mr. Yves Léveillé, scandalized by one of the mayor's interventions, had the last word, reproaching Mr. Ghali for having made fun of the "broken" French of Councillor Johnston in the wording of a resolution.

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


The constable saga

On Friday, August 13, Councillor David Zgodzinski informed Montfort residents that the establishment of the constabulary voted by Council was already experiencing serious setbacks. Mr. Max Vendette, the head of the constable program, had resigned.

"(In addition,) a constable he hired resigned shortly after he started working for another job. Another constable was involved in an incident on our lake (St. François-Xavier) that resulted in disciplinary action because of the way he handled a stressful situation. He is telecommuting from home. His future will be discussed." Yet another remains in Ottawa, and can only be on duty on weekends

Denouncing the mayor's indifference to this surveillance, as well as the prefect's indifference to the employment of patrol staff (on the regional park, in Montfort), contrary to the perception of almost everyone in the village, the councillor says he reminded the mayor of the following resolution passed last spring: "It was moved by Mr. David Zgodzinski, seconded by Mr. Eric Johnston and unanimously resolved by the members of the City Council to proceed with the hiring of full-time constables to patrol the beach in Montfort, eight hours a day, seven days a week for 20 weeks of the summer season. These officers will have the ability to issue citations to anyone who puts an unwashed boat in the water or trespasses on the beach." (Procès-verbal de la séance du 19 mars 2021)

Mr. Zgodzinski added to his email that the constables have already issued two tickets this season to visitors who refused to comply with the boat washing regulations after having being told to do so. Despite the planned hiring of a new constable, there is currently no constable on duty throughout the municipality, as confirmed by a press release dated August 20, from Mrs. Véronique Cronier, who announced that the service should be restored next week.

It also seems clear to the councillor that one of the tasks of the constable is to ensure that only residents are allowed to use the beach in Montfort. (But Brock Wadey notes that the "For Residents Only" sign is gone...) It must be understood, however, that this does not prevent the new constabulary from responding to any requests that may come from elsewhere in the municipality. Councillor Suzanne Y. Paradis denounced the desire to monopolize the constable service for Montfort, and pointed out that there are equally serious situations at Lac Argenté.

It can be argued, however, that the main purpose of boat washing regulations at present is to prevent the introduction of Eurasian watermilfoil into waterways where it is not present. Unfortunately, this is no longer the case for Lac des Seize-Îles or its effluents, such as Lac Argenté. The headwater lakes, such as Lake St. François-Xavier, as well as the Simon River into which it discharges, deserve special attention.

Mr. Zgodzinski went on to say that the lake is an exception and needs to be protected, and that the 2,000th boat wash was done at the Montfort Pavilion this year, "essentially tourist boats that were launched on Lake St. François-Xavier".

The councilor ended his email with an invitation to the citizens of Montfort, "If you are interested in this issue, I suggest you tell all the candidates running this fall what you think."

Our Mothers courage, Ms. Diana Zakaib-Jégou, Ms. Colleen Horan, and Ms. Denyse Pinsonneault, vigorously supported by Mr. David Clark who blames the current administration in the municipality as well as in the MRC, responded to Mr. Zgodzinski's call, to whom they give their full support. One emphasized the promotion of tourism in Montfort, encouraged by the municipality and the MRC, in spite of the lack of capacity. Another stressed that safety and security at Lake St. François-Xavier are a top priority for residents.

The last one demands an answer from the authorities and wants to know the real intentions of the Council and the MRC regarding these problems we are experiencing in Montfort; she demands convincing results on this subject. "We often have the impression that once the vote is over, certain regulations are not really taken seriously ... and that the vote has simply served to silence those who asked for it.

Mayor Ghali chose to respond to Mr. Clark, indicating that the municipality was very aware of the threat posed by Eurasian water milfoil. That, guided by the District Councillor, they had worked successfully, with the Lake Association, on the required prevention. He recognized the problems faced in the constabulary issue. He left it up to Mr. Clark to decide on the competence of the candidates in this matter at the next election...

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

By Carl Chapdelaine

Wentworth-Nord’s Penetration Routes

The almost daily saturation of the Laurentian Autoroute, combined with the inability of towns such as St. Sauveur to keep up with the accompanying explosion in traffic, has led local and regional authorities to seek solutions and assistance from senior governments. Montfort is under the same pressure with its low visitor capacity.

It is certainly the construction of the current access roads north of Montreal, on the route of the old railroads, which played on the location of the villages in the Laurentians. The local attractions of lakes and skiable hillsides, formerly used for forestry, must have added their criteria to this choice. Without this element, it would have been more likely that the Wentworth-Nord area, currently served by Jackson Road and closer to the metropolitan area, would have developed before Montfort.

However, the Laurentian Autoroute is the access road, not only for the villages of the Pays-d'en-Haut, but also for those of the Upper Laurentians, even those of Abitibi and the rest of the country. This is not the case for an axis that has taken shape over the last few years and that leads, for us, to Jackson Road. Highway 13, Highway 50, followed by Routes 148, 158 and 329, have allowed vacationers, especially English-speaking ones, from the West Island of Montreal, as well as a proportion of the residents of the eastern part of our municipality, to opt for an access route other than Highway 15, followed by 364, and passing through Saint-Sauveur and Morin-Heights. Isn't the access to Notre-Dame and Saint-Victor lakes more direct by this route? And Wentworth-Nord seems to be the ultimate access, the dead end, of this axis.

Our map of construction projects shows us that the eastern part of the municipality is favoured here; that the small lakes accessed by Jackson Road, such as Lake Noiret, not to mention the aborted project at Lake Pelletier, are seeing such projects. However, the strongest movement is concentrated in the large lakes: Notre-Dame, Saint-Victor and Saint-François-Xavier.

Can we not foresee tomorrow, with the possible extension of Highway 13 to Highway 50, as well as the paving of the Wentworth-Nord section of Jackson Road, that this axis will become the privileged penetration and development route for our municipality? However, in the short term, we can only consider the arrival of vacationers and new residents, as the commercial structure is still too embryonic to ensure a tourist or business development.

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

By Carl Chapdelaine

Two solitudes in Wentworth-Nord?

If there is one issue that should not be talked about or even acknowledged, it is the sometimes thorny coexistence of two linguistic communities in Wentworth-Nord. And yet, problems are not solved by trying to ignore them.

We asked a Wentworth francophone about the challenges of coexistence during a presentation on aquatic invasive species on the Lake Louisa side. Everything seemed to be going so well at that session; and practically in both languages. Both municipal and CRE representatives seemed very open to answering questions in English. The documentation, however, had to be in French. "No problem!" was the response.
And for Morin-Heights Mayor Tim Watchorn, "There has always been a great chemistry between English and French speakers" in his municipality. "... families of either language have always belonged to the same community. We all knew each other, we all hung out together. ...you go from one language to the other in the same conversation..." https://www.journalacces.ca/on-vit-dans-les-deux-langues-a-morin-heights/ While we felt there was a problem in Wentworth-Nord, there was not one in the neighbouring municipalities?

In Montfort, the location of our little research, elders told us that the problem had always existed. There, the two communities are geographically identifiable. The "Village" is mostly French-speaking, while Newaygo is still an English-speaking bastion. And do the communities mix? Don't the general assemblies of the Lake Association, the Montfort Regatta, and the potlucks bring together Anglophones and Francophones in a jumble? Ah, but what language is used in the exchanges, in the conversations?

We have heard reports from both sides of frustration with the overall situation. Francophones, historically relegated to second place in business and many other areas of the country, complain that whenever a unilingual Anglophone participates in a meeting or other group session, everyone has to speak in English. In more intimate exchanges between Anglophones and Francophones, the latter generally give in to the use of English; it is not always clear why. As a result, the Anglophone probably has little chance to practice his or her French, if he or she has learned it, if he or she wishes to do so, and if he or she dares to venture into it.

How do you determine the use of the language between neighbors when, as a Francophone, you have landed in a small Anglophone community, in a Francophone province where French is the only official language? Well, the rules are clearer in the public sphere; and Wentworth-Nord, unlike Morin-Heights, does not have bilingual status. This is probably the first source of frustration for Anglophones this time. In this francophone administrative system, well-integrated Anglophones speak French, as do those who sit on the municipal council. The municipal authorities will be more or less generous to the minority by granting them a bilingual gazette or, on the contrary, by taking exception to it.

Imbued with the official language status granted to French, a part of the francophone community, depending also on its political allegiance, sees no solution to the language problem other than the rigorous application of the prescribed rules. "In Quebec, we speak French!" Isn't the latter under threat? What do Anglophones have to fear, since they live in a world that reflects their image all over the planet? But on closer inspection, the situation is not so rosy for English-speaking Laurentians. Where are their schools and other institutions; their regional media; etc.? What chance do they have of working in their language? Is assimilation their only path today?

The demands of a group that is in the minority often align with language. This is clearly seen in the defence of French in Quebec. It would therefore be wrong to neglect this aspect in the search for greater harmony between several communities. Moreover, in order to preserve a language, it is preferable, if not essential, that those who speak it be grouped together in a geographical community. The opposite tends to lead to assimilation into the dominant language group. Does this mean that, in order to protect the English-speaking minority, we should encourage the predominance of English in certain Montreal boroughs or in a community like Newaygo?https://www.axl.cefan.ulaval.ca/Langues/3cohabitation_sources_conflits.htm

But why tackle a national problem at the level of a small municipality? Yet if a parallel with environmental protection seems acceptable to you, then it is also at the local level that it should be tackled.

While our presentation may be flawed by a number of omissions or misperceptions, should municipal authorities not be promoting initiatives to bring our two communities together? Shouldn't the day come, in Wentworth-Nord, when we can share with each other without language being an object of division?

There are Francophones who are Anglophiles and the reciprocal exists. There are Anglophones who have left Quebec, and those who do not want to follow them. Can't our two cultures only enrich each other? We must encourage exchanges. We imagine that if Anglophones who want to communicate better in French were given opportunities to do so freely, they would jump at the chance. For example, the boards of directors of English-speaking lake associations could make it a practice for each director to express himself in his own language. The Lake Saint-François-Xavier Association had tried this under the previous administration. Although cumbersome, it was promising; a bilingual member could serve as interpreter if necessary.

The establishment of weekly meetings or other activities could be encouraged by the municipality, specifically to allow English speakers to practice their French in conversation with each other and with French speakers. And of course, in our opinion, in order to provide a better opportunity for the English-speaking people of Montfort to learn about, and even become involved in, municipal affairs, the rotation of council meetings between the three villages should be put back on the agenda.

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

By Carl Chapdelaine

Special council meeting of July 23, 2021

Report

The meeting was again on the tabling of draft by-law number 2021-588 to decree a loan, repayable over a period not exceeding 25 years, to finance the rehabilitation of sections of Jackson Road, Principale Road and Millette Road.

All members of council are in videoconference. Ms. Véronique Cronier, Acting Assistant Director General and Secretary-Treasurer, Mr. Sylvain Michaudville, Associate Director General, as well as Mr. André Philippe Hébert, Acting Director of Roads and Recreation, were also present. Mayor F. Ghali presided over the meeting. The meeting is scheduled to start at 9:00 a.m. and will last 52 minutes. The Zoom meter will show 18 participants.

The deposit is proposed by Mrs. Paradis, seconded by Mr. Paradis. The mayor read it out in full. "... Whereas (the cost will be) $11,441,425 for the Main Road; etc." And, according to Mr. Hébert's latest calculations, there will be $1,892,000 in contingencies to add (to the main work). Mr. Cliche disagrees with this figure; it would be $2,043,000. Since the difference is not huge and since there is no obligation to reach this amount, Mr. Hébert suggests taking the figure of the Councillor. The mayor rereads the article authorizing road infrastructure expenditures of $13,963,684, including the $2 million for contingencies instead. All Councillors agreed.

Article 5, which deals with the possible use of this budget for other purposes, seems to contradict another article, according to the mayor. He asked Mr. Michaudville about its meaning. Mr. Cliche and Mr. Johnston also intervened, but there was no agreement on the meaning of the article. The mayor then simply asked the councillors if there was agreement that the money borrowed would not be used for any other purpose than the repairs announced in this by-law. All agreed.

However, Mr. Cliche does not agree with the tabling of the draft by-law as is. He explains that the current tables were presented at the last minute. He wants to have his questions answered first:

  1. Shouldn't the agreement with Lac-des-Seize-Îles already be in the present by-law? The mayor answered that for its deposit, the signature of such an agreement is not necessary.
  2. Shouldn't the citizen be informed beforehand that the participation of the municipality is not 10%, but 23% when contingencies are included? Response from the Mayor: In the contingencies, we add a belt of slip roads. Also, if we put a bike path along the Route Principale, we have to count $1M. Without that, we are well within the 10%. Later, Mr. Johnston will affirm that it will be mathematically more. He will also specify that the additions to the original project will be at the municipality's expense. (Unless a saving on the announced repairs can leave some of the budget available for them).
  3. What is the impact on taxes? Here, the mayor begins his answers. Mr. Cliche interrupted him saying that he was not able to complete his point 3. The citizen must be informed, whereas there is no projection scenario, no financial analysis. He would have a problem accepting the final project before such a step is taken. Mr. Johnston will later agree with this last request of Mr. Cliche. He foresees a municipal expense of $275,000/year in connection with this project. Financial scenarios must be established accordingly.
  4. We had agreed to add a whereas on the shoulder, to ensure the safety of users. Response: This was forgotten in the project description and will be corrected.
  5. How can it be explained that last February, the Plan triennal d’immobilisation (PTI) foresaw $7.9M for all of this work, and that we are now at $13.9M. Mr. Hébert explains, if we understood correctly, that the $16M planned over 2 years had simply been divided in two. With the impressive amount of grant money announced, more of the money was going to be spent this year. But Johnston was not satisfied with that explanation. The grant amount is a maximum and will only be awarded upon presentation of eligible invoices. It is hoped that the work will be done at a lower cost than the total announced.

Mr. Paradis would like the tables to show the impact of the loan for this project for 5 years, 10 years, etc. Mr. Michaudville explained that the government will present us with tables that will allow us to establish our own. He advised the councillors that they would get the charts that they require.

In response to a request for a recap from Ms. Paradis, Mr. Ghali gave the details of the costs for the three roads, but Mr. Johnston said that his figures do not balance with those just given. The mayor retorted that we don't have all the details, that they are estimates; and that we have to go ahead with them.

Mr. Ghali asked if the tabling of the project was unanimously adopted. Mr. Cliche nodded, while others did not; meaning they were not opposed. The Mayor declared the project carried.

With prejudice, by Carl Chapdelaine, July 29, 2021


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

Candidate For The Election?

For the November 7th election, candidates for a position on the Wentworth-Nord municipal council or the MRC des Pays-d'en-Haut (prefect, mayor or councillor), with authority over District 5 or 6, may present themselves on the Lake St. Francois-Xavier’s website, with their photo and an outline of their program.

Please keep it to a maximum of six paragraphs, like this one above, or the equivalent.

Note: We will take the liberty of choosing the format; ensuring that our standards are met; or cancelling the entire operation if necessary.

Cf. Presentation of the candidates at the 2017 elections

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Meeting of the council of W-N, of july 16, 2021

Agenda     Video version

(Report)

All members of council are in videoconference, as well as Mrs. Véronique Cronier, assistant director general and acting secretary-treasurer. The mayor presides over the meeting. It will last two hours. 24 participants at the Zoom counter.

Ms. Véronique Cronier suggests to the council to withdraw item 4.4, the tabling of the report of the firm Larouche on the organizational analysis of the Municipality of Wentworth-Nord; this because it is a preliminary report. Mr. Johnston and Mr. Cliche will vote against this withdrawal, having understood from Mr. Larouche's words that it was indeed a final report, after a first tabling in 2019. Their two colleagues from the opposition will support it and the item will be maintained, despite the opposition of Ms. Paradis and Ms. Rioux. (Here, the mayor will have interrupted Mr. Cliche, citing a procedural flaw).

With item 4.12, it was mainly discussed, during the session, the tabling of the draft by-law number 2021-588 decreeing a loan of $13,395,482, repayable over a period not exceeding 25 years, for road repairs on Principale, Jackson and Millette roads. Asking for more details, the four opponents of the mayor were obliged to reject this deposit.

During the exchanges on this item 4.12, Mr. Cliche, following the indication of certain errors, of the omission of one of the last whereas and considering the too short time that the councillors had to examine it, asked Mrs. Cronier if she really had the opportunity to verify everything. Ms. Cronier admitted that she had not, but the Mayor explained that this was a process of refinement (of its statement), etc. He will however assure that Mr. Hébert (Arrimage firm) will be solicited again to validate his figures. However, given the urgency of the situation, he said he was comfortable adopting the by-law as is in order to proceed with the call for tenders.

As Mrs. Cronier will have reminded, the agreement with Lac-des-Seize-Îles on Millette Road will also have to be ratified by both councils.

After Mr. Cliche, Mr. Johnston and Mr. Paradis, Mr. Zgodzinski will intervene by mentioning two points. The first one expresses his incomprehension that the mayor had cut off Mrs. Cronier in his answer to the councillors who asked him for clarifications. His second point was that the difference in the total amount found in the morning was still half a million! He concluded that it was better to take the time to make sure that no mistakes were made.

Faced with the rejection of the deposit of this bylaw, the mayor ironically "thanked" his four opponents. Mr. Cliche will return the favor by thanking for the pressure on the administration and the production of errors to the tune of half a million dollars...

Councillor Johnston will come back at the end of the meeting with a new resolution asking for a delay in the adoption of the same by-law.
This will provoke strong reactions and mockery from the mayor. In the masterly tone he uses on these occasions, which appears to the undersigned to be an abuse of power as well as an attempt at intimidation, the latter even takes the liberty of calling to order the councillors who are protesting against these insults. Everyone around the table must be given the right to speak by the mayor, he proclaimed again; asking if that was clear. Mr. Johnston then states that he has the right to reply. Later, Mr. Cliche would still tell the mayor that he was not content (as is his role) to control the debate; quite the contrary.

We return to the resolution. Mr. Paradis asked if there was a deadline indicated in this last resolution. The mayor, who does not seem to understand the meaning of the question, takes the opportunity to blame at length his four opponents who did not adopt the by-law presented in 4.12.

Mr. Cliche, who had earlier agreed to schedule a new special meeting, then proposed to add July 30 as the deadline for resubmitting the resolution. However, Ms. Rioux and Mr. Paradis succeeded in having this deadline moved to July 23. This seems to have been adopted.


Minor derogations (DM) and authorizations under the Plan d’implantation et d’intégration architecturale (PIIA), always fueled, among other things, by new constructions, continue to overload the urban planning services and the CCU.

No question from the floor.

With all due respect, by Carl Chapdelaine


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Same scenario after November 7th election?

What if the current situation on Wentworth-Nord Council is repeated after the November 7 election? Will we have to relive the confrontations that are taking place today and the resulting disruption in the administration of the municipality's affairs?

If Mayor Ghali were to be re-elected with a majority of his supporters on Council, he would no doubt resume the course he took the day after his first election. No amount of opposition would sway him. He would be at liberty to accompany his plans with consultations, the results of which he could positively report; or to describe his progress in the Gazette of Wentworth-Nord. To some, this is a good thing. He would also be able to present a nice picture of the budget figures that should be allocated to each project.

If Danielle Desjardins were elected mayor, or any of Ghali's opponents, with a majority of councillors from her group, a new approach could guide the operation of the municipality. Would the promise of greater citizen participation in municipal affairs be matched by a greater openness to opposition?

If, as now, a majority of councillors were opposed to a François Ghali back at Town hall, they would have to quickly put in place the rules, within their reach, that would allow them to run the administration. The mayor would again use his veto power to delay or prevent their directives from being carried out. Surely, we would still have to go through the agony of the present situation.
What about mediation? We had thought that an appeal had been made to the regional branch of the Ministère des Affaires municipales et de l’Habitation (MAMH). But their intervention was limited to reminding the elected officials of their responsibilities; it does not seem to be true mediation. We have not seen the outcome in Wentworth-Nord.

If this fails, the Commission municipale du Québec (CMQ) may, at the request of the municipal council, offer assistance: "The Commission intervenes in the context of a conflict that is detrimental to the proper functioning of the municipality. Once the resolution is adopted by the municipal council, a member of the Commission is designated. The mandate of the member accompanying the municipality is to recommend to the Municipal Council or officials actions that are aimed at resolving the impasse and improving the functioning of the municipality."

At the August 21, 2020 council meeting, Mayor Ghali did ask for such mediation; he had nothing to lose, since his opponents had control of the council. Again, the goodwill of its members remains a prerequisite for the success of the operation. It was under such a pretext that Councillor Zgodzinski and his colleagues opposed it.

And the trusteeship? This is the ultimate result of government intervention in the event of a malfunction in the operation of the municipality. It seems that the government and the parties involved are reluctant to resort to it, which makes it a rarity.

Should the voters, before November 7, lead the parties to promise to engage in some kind of mediation process, should the situation return to square one the day after the election?

Doesn't democracy also have its flaws?

By Carl Chapdelaine

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

Special Meeting of Wentworth-Nord Council of July 9, 2021

Agenda         Video version

(Report)

All the members of the council are in videoconference. Ms. Véronique Cronier, Acting Assistant Director General and Secretary-Treasurer, Mr. Sylvain Michaudville, recruited in the spring as Associate Director General, as well as Mr. André Philippe Hébert, Acting Director of the Roads and Recreation Department, were also present. The Mayor presided over the meeting scheduled to begin at 9:00 a.m. It will last only about 12 minutes. There were 14 participants at the Zoom meeting.
Agenda
1. Notice of motion, borrowing by-law to finance road repairs on sections of Jackson road, Principale road and Millette road;
2. Tabling of the borrowing by-law to finance road repairs on sections of Jackson road, Principale road and Millette road;
Only the notice of motion for the borrowing by-law, item 1, was adopted. On request of Eric Johnston, item 2, the tabling of the draft by-law, was withdrawn. We wanted more time to look at it; it will be presented at the next meeting.

For the mayor and the councillors: We want to go quickly with this road file, to avoid the rush of the summer works, (and there could be another special meeting before next Friday).

The mayor reminds us that the municipality has been awarded a grant of $11.6 million for the rehabilitation of these three roads.

Mr. Yvon Paradis: Is the participation of Lac-des-Seize-Îles specified? In response, Mr. André Philippe Hébert explained the notings involved. He spoke with the Acting Director General and Secretary-Treasurer of Lac-des-Seize-Îles, a certain Sophie Bélanger, about the sharing of costs for the roads that straddle the two municipalities (Lac-Millette Road). A meeting is scheduled for Monday, July 12, to allow, among other things, the development of the formal agreement.

No questions

Without prejudice; by Carl Chapdelaine

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The Reign Of Secrecy

Doesn't it frustrate you to know what's going on around you only through a chance meeting with someone in the know; an email exchange from a friend? A statement from a councilor or an association director will tell you how little you know about what's going on over your head. You devour the regional newspaper in search of news; but no mention of current events in our remote little municipality.

Those who have the information deserve it; but why this tendency to keep it to themselves; to use it as a privilege, and sometimes as a weapon?

Finally, municipal election time! You will receive information; or perhaps misinformation... You, who are not very accessible, will see your future Councillor know how to find you! He or she will tell you the agenda you never thought possible; everything that will happen in your district or in Wentworth-Nord, once his or her group takes office and without a tax increase, will be announced. And you'll finally be in the know.

But, the day after the election, won't the news be blacked out? Won't your elected officials, convinced that they have received a clear endorsement of their program and given a blank cheque, want to govern again in their own way, with an administration still subject to confidentiality? Will you still have to painstakingly follow the council meetings to learn, through the time now devoted to insults, that project 2021_345-67 has been adopted; without really being told what it is about? But isn't there a question period open to the citizen? Not a single question at the June meeting; and yet... What happened to the septic system takeover policy or so many other issues?

What, despite the floods and the pandemic, wasn't there the successful crusade against the Ministry of Transportation for the Route Principale and the grants? In fact, there was the real bloodletting at the highest level of the administration and the total confusion at the wheelhouse; with predictable and disastrous consequences. Mayor and opponents are at least in agreement on one point: things are not going well at Town Hall! And all energies are now directed towards the electoral campaign; with the fear that the citizen will find himself, the day after November 7, back at square one and for another four years.

Negotiations, on your behalf, on this or that major issue? Good for you! But here again, the process is strictly confidential. Your spokesperson will no longer have the opportunity to tell you about the progress or, on the contrary, the concessions made. You will know even less than before. And if a ministry is involved; a study is commissioned? Then don't expect to know the details or even the results tomorrow. And the higher authorities don't care about your complaints; they don't have to answer to you. Your association's board of directors or an ad hoc group wants your opinion, your support? To do what with it? Shh!!! They will choose the options and decide for you...

The municipality has renewed the mandate of the advisory committees which must allow residents of the various districts to express themselves on the decisions to be made and on their local impact. But are they representative? The current administration has removed the people who sat on the committees under the previous regime and appointed new members. They too are bound to confidentiality, so aren't they there just for show; their opinions may be totally ignored by their fellow citizens and the municipal authorities? Participatory democracy in Wentworth-Nord? We are still very far from it. But isn't that the choice for efficiency? If so, something has gone wrong.

Faced with this administration or otherwise, Wentworth-Nord would certainly need an independent means of information; ideally a website animated by volunteers and representative of the community. Not only would it allow the citizen to see a little more clearly before seeking to get involved in the life of his community, but it would bring a little more cohesion, a feeling of belonging to this municipality of three remote villages. For the resident of Montfort, what could be going on over there, in Saint-Michel; or even in Laurel? And, are we experiencing the same problems around all the lakes and on all the roads in the municipality?

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By Carl Chapdelaine

Danielle Desjardins Candidate For Mayor

Hello everyone,

As you know, our municipality is close to my heart and that is why, in 2020. I joined the Wentworth-Nord Citizen Group. I saw many questionable things happening in our municipality and I felt I should be informed.

I now see that we must go beyond providing information and that it has become urgent to further get involved in the very heart of the governing of our municipality. We must stop the squandering of public funds resulting from poor management choices. Competence and ethics must again take their place in Wentworth-Nord city hall. The city council has become a theater where insult and intimidation are a constant threat to those who defend democracy rather than being subservient. This affects us all in one way or another. Not to mention the almost zero results of this administration (think roads) after a four year term. This administration leaves us with many problems that itself created (financial, human resources, management etc...).

I love this municipality overflowing in abundance and potential. Our municipality is rich in many talents and experiences of its residents and cottagers. Everyone must be allowed to express them. We are also rich in our community organizations. We must promote their development for all and not just for those who are close to the power in place. Our municipality is also rich in its lakes and forests. The quality of our beautiful environment is our common good and legacy. We must make the most of this wealth all the while protecting it.

My role as coordinator and my involvement in the community has allowed me to analyse, understand the situation and recognize the ins and outs. I have the deep conviction that I can change things to improve the functioning of the municipality and I will do so with immense pride, hard work and unwavering commitment.

You will no doubt have understood by now that I will be a candidate for mayor in the November 7, 2021 elections. This was by no means my intention at the start of my involvement in the Citizen Group, but the realisation of the urgency of the change that I am describing to you has brought me to this decision. Of course I expect the current mayor to denigrate me, seek to intimidate me, spread falsehoods about me and attribute menacing or secret intentions on my behalf. This is his usual way of dealing with those who irritate him, we know that. I will not dwell on his diversionary manoeuvers, preferring to devote my time to achieving my goal: that of proposing constructive solutions that allow us to constantly improve your quality of life.

I will need all of you to take on this challenge. Together, we will go further. You can now contact me at my personal email address desjardinscc@gmail.com rather than that of the Citizen Group.

That being said, the Citizen Group must continue its mission, which is to monitor the governing of our municipality and management of the current and future municipal councils. The position of coordinator is therefore open and it is a call to all. Who among you will answer the call?

Cordially.

Danielle Desjardins, coordonnatrice

Wentworth-Nord Council Meeting Of June 18, 2021; Report

Agenda     Video version

All members of council were present and the Mayor, Mr. François Ghali, presided over the meeting. The Assistant Director General and Acting Secretary-Treasurer, Ms. Véronique Cronier, assisted the council. At approximately 8:30 p.m., the counter on the Zoom application will show 31 participants.

Councillor Eric Johnston asked citizens not to use the chat function of the Zoom application, which may have disrupted recent council meetings.

At the request of Mr. Johnston and submitted to a vote due to the opposition of Mrs. Suzanne Y. Paradis, item 8.8 and item 8.39 which had been added to the agenda, all amending Zoning By-law 2017-498 (integrated projects), were withdrawn. The councillor invoked the fact that relevant documents had not been available until the last minute, that there was a discrepancy in the information and that he wanted to take a closer look. He asked that they be deferred to the next meeting.

Item 4.10, concerning an authorization of expenditure for an invoice from Arrimage.com, had also been withdrawn from the agenda.

Statement of elected officials

Mayor Ghali said he wanted to take a minute (it will be much more for those nice announcements during his election campaign) to, first, congratulate the work of Ms. Marie-France Matteau, the Director General on sick leave, Mr. Jason Neil, and Mr. André Philippe Hébert, for obtaining important grants for the repair of three major roads in Wentworth-Nord. Mrs. Matteau had prepared the grant applications. The mayor added that he had taken the necessary steps to obtain them.

Part of these grants will go to the Route Principale, "the jugular artery of our road system"; another will accelerate the rehabilitation of Jackson Road; and the last one, of $928,000, will take care of Millette Road, which will allow in this last case, "I hope, to revitalize an area that was very neglected by the former administration". This rehabilitation will now protect Lake Argenté from the release of phosphorus-laden sediment that creates blue-green algae.

"The efforts of my administration" contributed to obtaining these grants. In addition to the Millette Road grant, MP Agnès Grondin also announced a $9.7 million grant for the rehabilitation of the Route Principale. Another grant of $1.9 million will be used to repair Jackson Road. The grants are being provided under the Local Roads Assistance Program.

Andrée Laforest, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, announced a $107,046 grant for repairs to municipal buildings, including city hall. "We doubted this morning that this grant would ever come through. The skeptics will be confounded," concluded the mayor.
Mrs. Paradis: "And for the Montfortains and Rivière-perdue roads? Mayor's reply: "No, we have not applied for the grants... (inaudible)".

Councillor David Zgodzinski: "Does that mean that the application for the Montfortains road has not been submitted this year and that we have to wait until next year? "Here you go," the mayor replies in a terse tone. Ms. Paradis will ask if it could be done this year. In the same tone, the mayor replied that yes. He will give as a reason for this postponement that the plans and specifications are not done. Mr. Paradis wants to know when he was aware of this situation. Mr. Ghali: "Since this afternoon". The mayor then insists on returning to the agenda.
Councillor Johnston is pleased with this good news and also congratulates the administration for its excellent work.

Administration

Under item 4.4, Mr. Johnston wants to add an amendment to the draft resolution proposing the payment of the invoice of $32,750.82, from BCF lawyers, for the defense of the Mayor. He asks that these fees be paid for a maximum amount corresponding to what will be considered reasonable; the balance being the responsibility of the citizen (F. Ghali). Mrs. Paradis will ask if such a condition is allowed by law. The Mayor answers that it is not; but that this is what Mr. Johnston is asking. The Councillor will have the support of Messrs. Paradis, Cliche and Zgodzinski. The resolution will be accepted by the majority, with the amendment.

On item 4.5, where councillors Johnston and Cliche reproach the mayor for not having negotiated the agreement with Mr. André Philippe Hébert as planned, Mr. Ghali will answer to Mr. Cliche that, if the costs of the road service exceed the forecasts, it must be attributed to the president of his committee, i.e. Mr. Cliche... The councillor will have reproached the mayor, again, for telling falsehoods.

During the presentation of item 4.8, which will allow all residents (including cottagers) aged 70 and over to vote by mail, Mr. Cliche asked if there would be a reminder to cottagers of the fall vote. Ms. Cronier indicated that this is planned.

Public security

Mr. Yvon Paradis, the Committee Chairman, gave the results of the survey on the holding of fireworks and similar activities. A resolution taking into account this result will be presented to the council, we understand.

The municipality is granted a subsidy of 12 000$ which will be put on the purchase of a generator intended for the fire station of Montfort.
In 5.4, Councillor Suzanne Y. Paradis asked why it was necessary to create a special committee, chaired by Mr. Yvon Paradis and composed of several administrators, all paid, to follow up on the file of the expansion of the Saint-Michel fire station, when there is already a Public Security Committee chaired by the Councillor. It was then agreed that council members would not accept any emolument for their participation in this special committee. It was adopted. Mr. Paradis asked if the $100,000 grant obtained for Saint-Michel would go to this expansion. The mayor said he was of the opinion that it should rather go to the repair of the church building, through the Foundation created for this purpose; but that there will certainly be a debate at the council on its allocation.

In 5.6, $3,000 is budgeted for the purchase of equipment for the constables.

In 5.7, the choice of ex-councillor Jean-Luc Groulx, who is fully qualified for the position of firefighter and first responder for the St-Michel fire station, is approved. Mr. Vincent Chartier had also been chosen for a similar position in item 5.5.

In 5.9, hiring of Mrs. Maude Lavigne, Mr. François Archambault, Mr. XYZ and Mr. Guillaume Fortin as constables, for the issuance of tickets, etc. Mr. Cliche gave some details on the fields of activity covered by this police control for the three villages, including parking surveillance. This was another opportunity for the mayor to congratulate former Councillor Groulx for having initiated the creation of a constabulary force. (But the question of the possibility, for example, for these constables to issue tickets for parking without a sticker on MRC land in Montfort or on Route Principale has still not been raised. Will the constables have to limit themselves to mere words of exhortation? We will not have the presence of mind to ask the members of council, in question period, about the extent of their responsibilities in this regard).

Public Works

Hiring of three seasonal labourers for the Roads Department to respond to the critical shortage of personnel in this department.

Environment

Committee Chairman Zgodzinski reported to the committee on the following discussions:
1. On the draft by-law reducing the distance between a road to be built and a watercourse. Its recommendation, unanimously, would be not to reduce this distance from 75 to 60 m.
2. On the septic system inspection program. We want to do more this year and we want to ensure a better follow-up of the notices sent to the concerned citizens. But the method to do this is not yet decided.

Urban Planning

Committee Chair Johnston noted that the Planning Department is still overworked and understaffed. This, because of the always sustained demand for new constructions, extensions, improvements, etc. He congratulates Mr. Benoit Cadieux, who has to add various files to his daily task. (Recall that Mr. E. Farmer, urban planner of the municipality in 2018, had also been added the direction of the Environmental Services, already imposing, when the merger of the two directions decreed by the mayor).

The Councillor will also highlight the extraordinary efforts of the members of the Advisory Committee on Urbanism (CCU), a good team of volunteers who review PIIAs and applications for minor exemptions.

He again asked applicants to excuse any delays in the processing of their applications.

In 8.2, Mayor Ghali will welcome the increase in permit applications over the past three years. The value of induced work would be $12.5M from January to May 2021, compared to $3M for the same period in 2020. The more the property value increases, or the more the municipality grows, and thus the tax sources, the less pressure there is on the citizen to increase their taxes.

Item 8.5 presents the draft bylaw reducing the minimum distance between a road to be built and a waterway from 75 to 60 m Règlement-2017-497-1. Councillor Myriam Rioux moved the adoption of the bylaw; she was seconded by Mrs. Suzanne Y. Paradis. Mr. Zgodzinski, against this reduction and in the wake of the objections expressed during the consultation that ended the day before, asked for a vote. For his part, Mr. Johnston insists, at the very least, to withdraw paragraph 3 of section 2 of the draft by-law, as well as the part of the 1st whereas which presented this relaxation, as recommended by the director, Mr. Cadieux. It was the permission to build a road at a minimum distance of 15 meters from a watercourse, under certain conditions. There were still too many unknowns about the consequences of such a decision, said Mr. Johnston. With only the support of Councillor Johnston, who was also against this reduction and the adoption of the by-law, Mr. Zgodzinski saw the amended project adopted, and thus the reduction from 75 to 60 m accepted.

In 8.36, it was adopted to submit to the Toponymical Commission the name of Des Érables street for the portion of the current Mount street served by the Lac-Thurson road; this in order to avoid the deliverymen and others to confuse it with the other sections of the Mount street.

Recreation, Culture and Community Life

Mr. Zgodzinski moved to hire two on-call greeters for the Montfort Pavilion. Motion carried.

It was adopted to request the services of Samuel Matthieu for the development and the upgrading of the old church of Saint-Michel.

Special Projects

Mr. Zgodzinski proposed a resolution requesting an amendment to the agreement with the MRC regarding the municipality's participation in the management of the Montfort Pavilion, related activities, etc. In the introduction and in the whereas, he points out the significant cost of hiring staff and constables to control access to the beach, entirely at the expense of Wentworth-Nord for the latter; the 60/40% shared costs for the maintenance of the Pavilion and the trails, snow removal, garbage collection, etc., all because of the MRC's promotion of its "tourist activities". He indicated that the expected participation of the MRC was $32,400, but that the municipality's expenses in this area in 2020 exceeded the amount it received by $62,800. He reminds us of the danger of the influx of tourists for the health of the residents, in overcapacity at the beach in these times of epidemic, and for the Lake, because of the launching of uncleaned boats (potential invasive plants). In conclusion, the resolution asks that the MRC shares equally, at 60/40%, the municipality's deficit for this management and the costs that it is currently required to absorb alone, we understand.

Mrs. Suzanne Y. Paradis, explaining that she has not been able to see the details of the resolution, asks if it can be postponed for one month. Mr. Zgodzinski answered that he had sent this resolution a week ago; that its presentation is well understood. Mrs. Paradis then asked the mayor if the municipality was not currently in negotiations with the MRC on this issue, among others. Mr. Ghali explained that it was, but that the MRC and its municipalities had decided to postpone any negotiations on such mandates until after the November 7 elections, because, among other things, these would have an impact on similar agreements that it has with these other municipalities.

The mayor also explained that no one could assure him of the accuracy of the $60,000 additional loss presented by Mr. Zgodzinski.

Finally, he recalled that, if the municipality wanted to manage the Pavilion and the related activities, even with a probable deficit, it was to ensure the control of this management for the benefit of its citizens. The mayors and Mr. Genest agreed to hand over this management to us, and then that of the parking lots; this ensures us a better control of the traffic. Also, even though it costs us an arm and an eye, the hiring of constables will ensure greater peace of mind for our residents on various levels. Of course, there is always room for improvement.

Mr. Zgodzinski will defend his presentation of the numbers; he states that the poorest municipality in the MRC does not have to pay for the actions of the MRC; that we do not want to lose $60,000 per year, in addition to the hiring of constables; that the majority of residents agree with him. He underlines that, meanwhile, the visitors do not have to pay anything. He asked for a vote.

Ms. Paradis asked what would happen to the municipality's current control over these operations if the management contract in question were handed over to the MRC. Mr. Zgodzinski replied that the resolution does not deal with a revocation of the contract; that is not what is intended.

The Mayor returned with the previous arguments, reopening the discussion. He spoke, in passing, of the unfortunate rejection (by Council) of a project to repair the Chemin-de-fer. He said that the use of the Aerobic Corridor is in line with a government recreation and tourism policy, not an MRC policy. He believes that it is a bit ridiculous to beg the MRC or MAMH for money for reasons that do not justify it. "The reason I didn't put this resolution on the floor (i.e. on the agenda)" is that there are many items that need to be looked at more thoroughly. It would be better to give my successor, so much the better if it is me, verified numbers that allow him to sign an agreement with the MRC.

Mr. Zgodzinski asked again for a vote; while Mr. Johnston said that the $62,800 was calculated with Ms. Matteau's and Mr. Neil's figures. These are the figures provided by the administration that you congratulated earlier.

Mr. Cliche, before voting for the acceptance of the resolution, will make known his disappointment at the refusal of the MRC to negotiate, whereas, in good faith, the council had renewed the management agreement with the promise of such a negotiation. This required the presentation of the current resolution. Only Ms. Rioux will vote against it, so it will be adopted.

Questions from the councillors

Mr. Paradis, who says he represents the neglected sector (for roads), hopes that the announced start of work on 2nd Street will not be delayed. The mayor told him that it is the road committee that decides. The Councillor also asked if the conditions for obtaining the grants announced for the roads corresponded to what the municipality had planned. The mayor replied that he had not yet received the details of the conditions for the allocation of these grants.

For the road committee, Mr. Cliche will give details on the schedule for the road repairs planned in the Plan triennal d’immobilisation (PTI): Chisholm, Du Domaine, Notre-Dame and Farmer as a priority; then the six other roads planned for this year including 2nd Street, Route Principale, Jackson and Millette Roads; all conditional to the availability of the necessary sums in view of the updated costs and the confirmation of the grant awards. He hopes that the Rivière-perdue and the Montfortaine will not be forgotten, for which he believed, as did Councillor Zgodzinski, that the applications submitted a long time ago had been followed through. As for the promise, made by the mayor, concerning the Lantier bridge, Mr. Cliche said he did not know the reason for the current blockage.

Ms. Rioux advised that work on the Louisa Bridge is scheduled to begin on July 3, while Mr. Johnston was told that the work on Notre-Dame-Sud, which is part of the PTI, will soon be completed.

Question Period

No question.

By Carl Chapdelaine

Public consultation: minimum distance between a road to be built and a water body

Mr. Benoit Cadieux, Director of Planning and Environment for Wentworth-Nord, chaired the meeting. There were only about 8 participants, probably due to the internet outage reported by Bell in the area. Councillors A. Cliche and E. Johnston were present, but we haven’t seen Mr. D. Zgodzinski, Chair of the Environmental Advisory Committee, who had addressed the subject at the May 21st Council meeting.

Using the documents already published and projected before the participants (see Public consultation), Mr. Cadieux presented the draft by-law 2017-497-1 which was the subject of this consultation. He then opened the question period.

Ms. Danielle Desjardins asked the Director if he should not take into account the impossibility for potential participants to join this videoconference, due to the breakdown at Bell. Mr. Cadieux replied that the alternative was the written consultation, which will last until the 17th. (It seems obvious to us that the director is not sitting in the citizen's chair. Doesn't the latter rely on the exchange of information and concerns that the videoconference allows to develop his own perception and share it in turn?)

Ms. Desjardins also asked who had proposed this amendment reducing the minimum distance for the construction of a road near a watercourse. The Director indicated that the request came from promoters.

Mrs. Linda Proulx and Mr. André Naud opposed the modifications and questioned the appropriateness of reducing this distance; a measure that constituted a threat to the environment of the waterways. Who and according to what criteria would the administration or council decide on the distances and other provisions required by an applicant. Wouldn't the onus be on the proponent to justify a request that was somehow outside the norms and to demonstrate that no alternative was possible? They reiterated the importance of safeguarding the health of our many lakes, as they are the main asset of our municipality and are fragile environments. They mentioned that the other municipalities of the Argenteuil MRC have kept the distance at 75m, and that Wentworth-Nord is more similar to these municipalities.

Some call the proposed amendment to the original by-law a disaster; a step backwards for environmental protection. They are especially concerned that reducing the minimum distance between a road to be built and a watercourse will become a new standard for developers. Developers would no longer have to justify their intention to limit themselves to a distance of 60 m from the shore in order to obtain the necessary permit. For its part, Council appears divided on the issue.

Ms. Desjardins and Ms. Proulx spoke a few times, as well as Ms. Colleen Horan and Councillor Cliche, who referred to some of the special circumstances in which the regulation applies, but we did not hear all of their arguments.

The undersigned asked if this by-law would be the place to regulate the construction of a road on a hillside bordering a watercourse, citing the extension of Hunter Street as an example. Mr. Cadieux seemed to understand that it was the location of the street itself, which was a very long time ago and met the requirements of the time. He added that there were other regulations governing the construction of a road in such conditions.

Councillor Johnston made his comments. He shared the questions presented by the participants. He assumed that the developers were deliberately trying to get rid of as many restrictions as possible that might affect their projects. It was up to the authorities to curb their ardour in the face of threats to the environment or otherwise, caused by their projects. He regretted that he had not had the opportunity to assess at greater length the pros and cons of the proposed changes to the current regulations and their longer-term impact. He was therefore uncomfortable giving his support at this time.

The undersigned commented that, in view of the unanimous position of the other municipalities of the MRC in favour of a 60-metre distance, maintaining it at 75 m for Wentworth-Nord, when no derogation is now possible, could be a straitjacket for the administration and council of the Municipality to decide on the acceptance of a project. In fact, we believe that the minor variance process is essential and we are concerned that its removal, in this case, could be a double-edged sword.

Ms. Linda Proulx asked Mr. Cadieux if she could ask a question on an item from the previous public consultation, the one on the zoning change at Lac à la Croix. When he agreed, she asked where the expected analysis of the possible impact of the project on the environment was. The Director informed her that he had not yet received the conclusions of the analyses, perhaps still in progress on the subject.

Would we have access to these analysis reports? Answer: These documents were for the administration; but one would expect to see them in the future.

It seems that the wood cutting work on the road leading to the integrated housing project should begin as early as next Monday. She asked the Director if this was the case. Mr. Cadieux, surprised, told her that he would find out.

Without prejudice; by Carl Chapdelaine

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

The Lakes, November 7?

At the current Wentworth-Nord Council meetings, members are busy. They have to attack, even denigrate their opponents, or respond to the attacks of these same colleagues; for some, they even have to advance their electoral campaign; then, if time permits, they have to deal with the files to be managed, all the while mixing in the above-mentioned considerations... Question period can only encourage the citizens to follow the same vein.

Curiously, in a municipality whose main component and asset remains its lakes, an asset that justifies the presence of more than half of its residents, these lakes do not seem to us to be currently the object of particular attention. Of course, mandated by the higher authorities, the administration sees to the application of the regulations that govern the disposal of wastewater; sees to the monitoring of the criteria for the development of the habitat that borders the watercourses; manages other specific implications of urbanism; etc.

Is not the environmentally conscious Councillor of our district leading the crusade to protect access to our beach, or even access to the lake itself by the hordes of paddle boarding tourists, or to prohibit any right of way for the dreaded Eurasian water milfoil? In this, it responds primarily to the legitimate concerns of residents and members of the lake association. However, it is not the invasion of the beach or the proliferation of windsurfers and kayakers that constitute the greatest threat to the lake. No, for us, the threat comes mainly from the main users or actors of the lake, that is to say we, the residents.

Putting management, i.e. the protection of the lakes, at the forefront, while the municipalities of the MRC located in the axes of development of the region must rather focus on the accelerated urbanization that threatens them, or on other problems of large center, does not seem to us to be self-evident to the Council. However, it does not require a significant portion of the municipal budget; the latter having to be mainly allocated to roads. The equivalent of the lawyer's fees, currently incurred for any purpose other than administration, would be more than enough...

As has often been pointed out, the quiet, unchanging surface of the lakes cannot reveal the laborious processes of degradation imposed upon them by the presence and even the development of our habitat. Doesn't the acceptance of the zoning amendment around Lac à la Croix, at the head of Lake St. Francois-Xavier, with little apparent consideration for the outcry it caused among the residents of the latter, indicate that the expansion of this habitat and the necessary socio-economic development it implies are better governed than the protection of these precious lakes?

Perhaps it is believed that the situation is under control; that environmental regulations, lake associations and the good conscience of both residents and developers are protecting Wentworth Nord's waterways and ensuring an enviable situation for future generations. It is believed that through the work of the MRC, the tiny Conseil régional de l’environnement des Laurentides and the Rivière du Nord watershed agency, Abrinord, among others, and despite the vastness of the territory and the number of watercourses under their jurisdiction, protection efforts are sufficient.

And then, isn't the combined Urban Planning and Environment Department, with the help of the Environment Committee of the municipality and the council, doing its job? One will recall the scope of the work imposed on the former Environment Branch of the municipality, before the axe fell on its head. Didn't the statutory meetings that it used to offer to the lake associations highlight the problems perceived by those who were trying to look after the quality of their precious lake asset?

These meetings have recently resumed, we were assured by the committee's chair, Councillor David Zgodzinski. Have you ever heard anything concrete about them? If you belong to one of these associations, maybe. But some of them are only for their members; they don't feel any obligation to inform all lake residents, let alone involve them in their process. In a municipality such as ours, they are the ones that the municipal environment committee, the Council and other bodies rely on to represent the entire population on many issues. With greater citizen participation in a future administration, Wentworth-Nord will be able to rely more on their involvement in the consultation and management of many issues.
Greater attention to the lakes by our municipal council would perhaps mean that a specific committee would analyze the probable impacts of current decisions made in the various municipal departments on the lakes. Consider, for example, the zoning changes allowing lakefront development, such as the one mentioned above, even though the Director assured us that they were conditional on the evaluation of their compliance with mandatory environmental measures as of this season. We can think of the construction of roads, such as Thurson Lake Road and Mount Street, the extension of Hunter Street on the hillside, just to name a few, on Lake Saint-François-Xavier.

Proactive actions would also be on the agenda of this council. We still do not know enough about the state of our lakes; others are doing much more and better than we are. However, with the help of our lake associations, provided they are first dedicated to the protection of the lakes, considerable work has been done in the past and can pave the way for what should be continued today.

For example, the impact of sedimentation in our lakes, accelerated by our sometimes inappropriate practices, could be easily evaluated by placing sediment sensors at strategic locations, in tributaries, at the bottom of the lake, etc. The evolution of the temperature of its water, or other variable, work that some, like Mr. David Clark, have individually decided to tackle, or the collection of water quality samples, would all be very relevant data. It would at least give us a better idea of their health until we can be reintroduced into the good graces of the RSVL.
Local or individual initiatives are certainly commendable; but those who look closely know that they are usually best supported by administrative assistance. There is an army of volunteers ready for action, but no general... Faced with the desolate state of our planet, don't we too often have the reflex to put the burden on forces beyond our reach? But isn't it up to the citizens of Wentworth-Nord to do something? The lakes are waiting for it!

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

By Carl Chapdelaine

Public Consultation in Wentworth-Nord

At the May 21st Council meeting, the Chair of the Environmental Advisory Committee, Councillor David Zgodzinski, reported on the discussion of the project to reduce the minimum distance between a road to be built and a water body Consultation, distance route/lac. His colleagues, the members of the committee and the Planning and Environment Department, under the direction of Mr. Benoit Cadieux, had probably made a first round of the issue. This distance is currently 75 m in Wentworth-Nord; however, in order to follow the other municipalities of the MRC, it might be appropriate to reduce it to 60 m Document explicatif. Minor variances were available to meet this distance, but a government legislative change that came into effect on March 25 of this year makes such variances unavailable, so this is a good discussion.

Mr. Zgodzinski will indicate that the distance is finally maintained at 75 m pending the results of a public consultation open to all. (One can only dream that, as new municipal elections approach, such participatory democracy initiatives will be part of the election promises).

Such a subject will probably be of interest to all those who are particularly concerned about the protection of waterways and lakes from the impact of roads and access roads on their environment; the participation in the videoconference (Zoom) on June 15 will attest to this. But how can someone who has no particular knowledge of the subject, or who has not experienced the problems caused by the presence of such roads, offer an informed opinion?

It seems to us that such consultations should ideally take place in two stages. Isn't information on which to base our perception of a problem, of a situation, in this case of a regulation, a prerequisite that must justify a first step? This information must probably present the theory and the generally accepted rules; all of this must be confronted with the experiences reported in the field. It is then that the citizen, behind the opinion of the specialists, can give his own.

We remember the brilliant presentation that Mayor François Ghali made, at the beginning of his mandate, of his plan to restructure the road network in Wentworth-Nord. However, he could have been criticized for having a vision that could exceed the resources required to carry it out; for having overestimated the assistance expected from the governments; as well as for having attributed to himself a perhaps exaggerated appreciation of the support for his plan.

Without having all the knowledge necessary for the evaluation of the present subject, it brings us back to existing situations around Lake Saint-François-Xavier. We had tried to imagine a way to really isolate the Chemin de fer road from the greenway which completes its double vocation; and thus to solve a thorny problem of cohabitation. But the evolution of the norms governing the construction of roads, particularly near a watercourse, prevent any project in this sense. The consolidation of the properties concerned was also an insurmountable challenge.

But how could the extension of Hunter Street be justified, on a hillside and without a rigorous assessment of the implications of such construction? Or the creation of an almost freeway around Thurston Lake, which, despite the respect of the standards in force, seems to us to constitute an environmental threat for Lake Saint-François-Xavier, among others?

We would have liked the Council elected in 2017 to set up weekly presentations, or as the case may be, on the files that occupy the administration; the publication of the Gazette of Wentworth-Nord is inadequate in this regard. City of Esterel's, Mayor Dydsak's cafés, and other initiatives, seemed promising. Here again, let's hope that the next Municipal Council will meet our expectations.

By Carl Chapdelaine

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

Wentworth-Nord Council Meeting Of May 21, 2021 (Report)

Ordre du jour   Version vidéo   États financiers

The videoconference was chaired by Mayor Ghali. The entire Council was present, as well as Ms. Véronique Cronier, Assistant Director General and Acting Secretary-Treasurer, and the external auditor, Mr. Michel Saint-Arnaud, of the firm Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton in Saint-Jérôme. More than fifty people attended the meeting.

Mayor's statement

Mr. Ghali said he was informed by Councillor David Zgodzinski on January 31 that the Commission municipale du Québec had been contacted by one of his colleagues to investigate a dozen disclosures concerning him. Consequently, as specified by law, the municipality is obliged to defend a mayor who is attacked in this way. The costs now exceed $100,000 and are expected to increase.

The purpose of these disclosures would have been, among other things, to incite him to resign, which many supporters would have prevented him from doing. He recalls that he has always acted with honesty and uprightness and that he is convinced that, in time, the truth will come out.

"Since these disclosures, the municipality has been on fire." "Four councillors are interfering on a daily basis." "They have put undue pressure on staff, some of whom have fallen ill, some of whom have quit; some of whom are afraid for their jobs." "The four counselors are also under investigation by the CNESST for psychological harassment..."

The situation thus created is not without serious consequences for the management and finances of the municipality, he added. But he will not let amateurs destroy a community to satisfy their thirst for power...

Statements by Councillors

Councillor André Cliche, in response to the mayor, said that he did not want to start a debate, and that justice should be allowed to take its course. However, he stated that no names were mentioned in the letter received by the mayor announcing the CNESST investigation and that Mr. Ghali was therefore communicating falsehoods.

Councillor Zgodzinski brought attention to another subject, that of the resolution on the agenda for the renewal of the contract with the MRC on the management of the Montfort Pavilion, etc. He mentions the call for mediation by the MAMH; the excellent work of the employees of the community; but also the disproportionate financial burden on the municipality, for lack of a fair contribution from the MRC.

He recalls the consequences of the influx of visitors the previous summer, with the danger of spreading Covid-19, or even introducing invasive plants in the lake. Moreover, the necessary hiring of constables will be a big expense for Wentworth-Nord. He denounced the lack of measures to encourage cyclists to be careful on the shared lane of the Aerobic Corridor. The MRC has remained deaf to residents' fears of visitors spreading the pandemic.

To a question from Councillor Suzanne Y. Paradis on the news about high-speed internet, the mayor said that it was the announcement by Cogeco of its project to wire the entire territory of the municipality with fiber optics by September 2022. He took the opportunity to point out that such a project has already been concluded with Bell to, among other things, serve City Hall. A sub-question from the councillor allowed him to add that this will be free of charge for the citizens; whereas Mr. Johnston was going to make us spend $30,000 unnecessarily, he underlined...

Councillor Eric Johnston answers the mayor on this last statement; explaining that we have to go back two years, while the negligence of the latter had delayed a project in this sense. He accuses Mr. Ghali of always presenting events to promote himself at the expense of others and spreading bad information. He adds that he will return to the issue with a prepared text as the mayor does himself.

While the Mayor seeks to continue the debate with Mr. Johnston, Councillor Cliche asks to return to the agenda. Ms. Paradis then assists Mr. Ghali to remind the councilor that it is the mayor who presides over the meeting...

The mayor asks if the minutes of the last special meeting, «which was not so special», are adopted.

(The mayor still does not seem to have the reserve in taking advantage of his platform to denigrate the actions of the four councillors, or to claim to be wise. As a side effect, however, we have to say that these meetings over which he presides can now compete with the soap operas that monopolize couples in front of their small screens in Wentworth-Nord homes. They seem poised to become the town's number one attraction. The question now is whether these sword-and-cape scenes, in which the secondary actors, the councillors, have a better grasp of their respective roles and lines, will be revived in the next fall program).

Administration

Then comes the reading of the resolution of item 4.2, granting the payment of a new lawyer invoice (BCF) of $33,000 for the defense of the mayor. Mrs. Suzanne Y. Paradis proposed it; it was seconded by Mrs. Myriam Rioux. Mr. David Zgodzinski asked for a vote, reminding that the total has already exceeded $100,000. He would like the resolution to be postponed (i.e. withdrawn) until we have more details on the content of these expenses.

The Mayor asked to vote on the withdrawal of the resolution requested by Mr. Zgodzinski, seconded by Mr. Johnston. Mr. Cliche voted for the withdrawal, for the same reasons as Mr. Zgodzinski. Mr. Paradis speaks in his turn; but the Mayor does not hear him well and points out that he is not often understood...

Mrs. S. Y. Paradis makes some comments denouncing the attitude of these councillors. Mr. Y. Paradis addresses his colleague to tell her that "enough with the comments"; and he votes in turn for the withdrawal of the resolution. Mrs. Paradis and Rioux will vote against. The withdrawal of the resolution will be adopted.

The external auditor, Mr. Michel Saint-Arnaud, now presents the summary financial statements for 2019. He gave the figures and accompanying explanations, without comment. (See link above).

The mayor then invites the participants to ask questions to the auditor.

Mr. Johnston suggests to Mr. St-Arnaud to explain what reserves are. Answer: They are funds that council has reserved, within the available funds, for future projects. Then the councilor is surprised by the delay in the monthly bank reconciliations, when we are only in May 2020. He asked if it was not of paramount importance, as the auditor had pointed out in his audit, to see to these reconciliations to ensure that the budget was respected. Answer "Yes". But that doesn't preclude tracking expenses, as the councilman seemed to fear, he added. (Ms. Cronier, will later announce that bank reconciliations are now complete for the year 2020). Mr. Johnston will complain about the delay in the release of these financial statements, which had been announced in a publication in the Gazette of Wentworth-Nord. He will say that we were dreaming in colors...

Mrs. Danielle Desjardins explores some figures, reminding that municipalities do not have the right to be in deficit. Mr. St-Arnaud agrees; but he explains that the presence here of unrestricted surpluses largely compensates for this deficit. He warned against continuing in this vein. Ms. Desjardins returned to the subject by indicating that at the beginning of 2019, an amount of expenses is expected that will be greatly exceeded at the end of the year. A mother would not be able to get by in such a situation.

Ms. Paradis will return to the words of Ms. Desjardins, calling on the auditor, to point out that the deficit was not $ 700,000 as she calculated. (In fact, the councilor had not understood that Ms. Desjardins was taking there, rather, the difference between budgeted income and actual income. "We spent ..." Mr. St-Arnaud will, on balance, put the deficit at $162,357. The mayor will instead state that there is a surplus of $202,280. (Ms. Desjardins especially wants to point out that the long-term debt has gone from $2M to $3.9M, while the current administration is benefiting from the surpluses accumulated under the previous administration).

Then, Councillor S. Y. Paradis and the mayor will brag about the fact that the tax rate has not changed in recent years. Mr. Johnston, who does not hesitate anymore to respond to the mayor's assertions, will say that the taxes have indeed, with the property value, increased by 8%. The mayor immediately calls him to order... The financial statements are adopted.

In 4.8, it was proposed and accepted to authorize the payment of invoices in the amount of $38,000, representing Wentworth-Nord's share of the MRC.

In 4.9, on the renewal of the agreement for the maintenance of the Aerobic Corridor Park, the Montfortaine hiking trail and the Montfort Pavilion, it was moved by Mr. Zgodzinski, seconded by Mr. Johnston, to accept the renewal of the current intermunicipal agreement pending the results of the negotiations with the MRC carried under the mediation of the MAMH.

Public Security

Mr. Yvon Paradis, President of the Public Security Committee, invites citizens to give their opinion on the presentation of fireworks, via the application Voilà!

Public works

While thanking Mr. André Philippe Hébert and all the team, the president of the Road Committee, Mr. André Cliche, presents the following highlights
1. Emphasis on the follow-ups; for example, concerning the numerous calls for tenders. In this last case, if we developed agreements that could be renewed annually, or framework agreements, we would save a lot of time and effort.
2. Timber harvesting.
3. Follow-up on the road system. We are halfway through the year and we cannot know if we have respected (the schedule and the budget).
4. Policy to be developed on the use of gravel; on the adoption of best practices regarding the preventive maintenance of these roads and on the decision making on the need to resurface a gravel road.
5. Assessment of the need for bus shelters for public transportation, however St. Michel is still not served. Mr. Ghali informed the committee of the steps he had taken to have a bus shelter near the church of Saint-Michel. Mr. Cliche immediately criticized him for not having informed the right persons.

Environment

In order to follow the other municipalities of the MRC, Mr. Zgodzinski, the president of the Committee, talks about the discussion on the project to reduce to 60 m the minimum distance between a road to be built and a water body; it is currently 75 m. in Wentworth-Nord. The distance was finally maintained at 75 m.

Planning and Economic Development

Planning Committee Chair Johnston noted the increased workload on the Committee and the Planning Department due to the high demand for new construction, property improvements, etc., as evidenced again by the long list of permit applications, minor derogations and the PIIA (Plans d’implantation et d’intégration architecturale /Site Planning and Architectural Integration Plan) assessments.

Mr. Johnston returns with the need to update the regulations regarding short-term rental of dwellings (i.e. cottages) as an accessory use of the property. This use has become more often than not a disguise for a commercial activity of renting out cottages or even turning the property into an inn. The regulations should reflect this new situation, which responds to current market demand, and prescribe the accessory conditions that it implies: capacity of septic tanks, parking lots, garbage disposal, etc. Planning Services is working on this.
The Mayor presented the list of permits for April 1 to 30, 2021. They involve investments of $3,778,000, compared to $522,000 at the same date in 2020; that is seven times more and an additional tax contribution.

During the reading of the series of points concerning construction and renovations, Johnston and Zgodzinski will return to their doubts about the real vocation of many of these constructions, which is rental. More consideration should be given to the uses of these new properties in the acceptance of permits, Johnston said. For Mr. Paradis, we cannot assume that the owners have bad intentions, but we must ensure that we have better control over subsequent uses. To show their similar apprehension, Councillors Johnston and Zgodzinski will vote against the adoption of the PIIA, at item 8.25, for a new construction of a main building on Maria Street (to be verified). It will still pass.

Public Interest Item

Mrs. Suzanne Y. Paradis used this item to recall that the four councillors who opposed the paving of Du Domaine Street had estimated costs that were much higher than they actually were.

She also attacked, once again, the assertions of the Groupe citoyen Wentworth-Nord and its coordinator, Mrs. Danielle Desjardins.

Question period

There was a question on the short term rental.

Mrs. Colleen Horan asked the council if there are more roads to maintain in Laurel and Saint-Michel than in Montfort; indicating that the situation around the last village is deplorable. How is the work done?

Mayor Ghali answered that he inherited a deplorable situation; that they were trying to catch up. Everything was done in all equity between the sectors of the municipality. Ms. Horan felt, however, that an improvement in efforts was necessary.

Mr. Yvon Paradis took the floor to reproach the mayor for having denigrated the former administration; whereas the latter had gone to get important sums for the repair of the Principale road, among others.

Mrs. Desjardins asked:
- To reply to Councillor Suzanne Y. Paradis, who mentioned her name four times.
- What are the consequences of the departure of all the executives of the administration since the mayor took office?
- If the financial statements should not normally be tabled.
- Why three lawyers to defend the mayor of the poorest municipality in the MRC?

Mrs. Suzanne Y. Paradis interrupted the citizen by shouting, while Mr. Ghali accused her of spreading falsehoods.

The mayor explains that the departed executives were able (or willing) to find more advantageous positions elsewhere; this causes Ms. Desjardins to laugh... Mr. Ghali returns with the argument he had already served to the undersigned for the same question on the consequences for the follow-up of files of the disappearance of all the former executives, explaining (roughly) that he himself was responsible (among others, presumably) for the memory of the situation in the municipality.

For the financial statements, the mayor speaks of excellent results despite the sums that were forced to be invested in the road system. The tax rate has remained the same.

Mrs. Denyse Pinsonneault asked why item 8.42, on minor exemptions concerning lots at the head of Lake St. Francois-Xavier, which was associated with the presence of Lac St-Victor Estates and which had caused a last minute monopolization at the lake, had been removed from the agenda. The Mayor will answer that it was on the recommendation of the urban planner. Councillor D. Zgodzinski will not comment...

With all due respect; by Carl Chapdelaine

May 21, 2021, W-N meeting of the council & 2019 financial statements

Agenda (French)       Join the Zoom meeting

Meeting ID: 883 4210 7609
Secret code: 916912

Municipal meeting of May 21

• The Wentworth-Nord Citizen Group has requested leave to intervene in question period to defend the content of its second publication "Is there a pilot on the plane". This publication was denounced during the last council meeting by Councillor Suzanne Paradis on the pretext that the information contained in the publication was false. We were then denied the right of reply.

• Questions from the public at a town hall meeting.
Any member of the public present at a council session may address a council member or the secretary during the question period at the end of the session. For citizens attending online sessions, they should notify the secretary of their wish to ask a question and wait their turn.
A question asked must relate to a matter of public interest that falls within the remit of Wentworth-Nord or its council.

When the floor is granted, the person must address the president or the member who chairs the meeting by giving his/her name or the name of the organization she/he represents, specify the member of the council to whom the question is addressed and speak in polite terms and do not use offensive and libelous language.

Each speaker has a maximum period of 5 minutes to ask a question and a sub-question. Anyone can ask a new question as well as a new sub-question, when all the people who wish to ask a question have done so, and so on in turn until the end of the question period.

The answer to a question should be limited to the topic it touches, be brief and clear. The other council members can complete the answer given. All elected officials must demonstrate at all times during council meetings the greatest correctness of behavior and an irreproachable and respectful attitude towards other council members and citizens.(Reference: BY-LAW 2020-173 ON THE INTERNAL MANAGEMENT OF SESSIONS OF THE MUNICIPAL COUNCIL OF WENTWORTH-NORD which can be consulted here: Règlement, W-N: 2020-173)


Summary of 2019 financial statements

After two years of delay, the municipality will finally file the 2019 financial statements. The summary can be viewed by clicking on this link: États financiers, W-N, 2019According to the document, and despite significantly increasing revenues, the municipality made a significant deficit in 2019. Remember that municipal deficits are not authorized by law. We also find that long-term debt has more than doubled during this period. As for the financing costs, they increased by 240%.

Note on the Agenda: At the time of sending you this message, the agenda was not yet available (no WEB link) despite the fact that the internal management regulations stipulate that it must be 72 hours before the council meeting.

We look forward to seeing many of you during the session.
--
Danielle Desjardins
Coordonnatrice • 450-226-5643

1re hearing of F. Ghali before the CMQ - Mai 2021

Plusieurs d’entre vous ont cherché sans succès à se connecter via ZOOM à l’audience du maire Ghali devant la commission municipale du Québec (CMQ). L’audience a débuté avec une dizaine de minutes de retard, ce qui en a peut-être découragé quelques-uns. Je vous résume mes notes de l’audience à laquelle j’ai assisté du début à la fin sans prétendre qu’elles sont exactes ou complètes.

Les avocats du maire Ghali – trois avocats pour l’occasion - ont demandé l’arrêt des procédures contre ce dernier. La raison invoquée n’était pas que les manquements reprochés au maire Ghali sont frivoles et / ou sans fondement mais qu’elle était plutôt basée sur le fait que les enquêteurs de la CMQ n’auraient pas procédé dans les règles lors de l’assignation du maire Ghali. Cette façon d’agir des enquêteurs aurait pour conséquence de compromettre l’équité du procès du maire Ghali.

Pour appuyer leur demande, les avocats du maire ont invoqué 3 motifs :
• le maire Ghali aurait éprouvé des sentiments désagréables et se serait senti mis « en détention psychologique » par les enquêteurs pendant son assignation. Il y aurait eu une gradation de pression sur le maire pendant son témoignage qui a duré 2h30;
• les enquêteurs n’auraient pas mentionné au maire Ghali qu’il avait le droit à un avocat et qu’il pouvait garder le silence pendant l’assignation;
• une lettre d’avocate (dont le contenu est nominatif et confidentiel ne peut être encore dévoilé) écrite au nom de la municipalité et adressée au président de la CMQ alléguait que les enquêteurs avaient abusé de leur pouvoir dans la recherche de faits et de preuves et que leur façon de procéder avait semé l’émoi auprès des employés de la municipalité.

Selon les avocats du maire Ghali, l'intégrité du système de justice est ici mise en doute. Dans certains cas, la préservation du système de justice aurait priorité sur l’intérêt de la société quel que soit la gravité des faits reprochés à un accusé. Par conséquent l’arrêt des procédures contre le maire Ghali est justifié et doit s’appliquer.

Le directeur du contentieux et des enquêtes de la CMQ, Me François Girard, a plaidé devant la juge Sandra Bilodeau en réfutant les motifs avancés par les avocats du maire Ghali de façon suivante :
• François Ghali n’a jamais été détenu ou été en état d’arrestation. Il a plutôt été assigné par les enquêteurs à s’expliquer sur les manquements en déontologie qui lui étaient reprochés. La notion de « détention psychologique » ne peut s’appliquer dans le cas d’une enquête administrative. Me Girard a avancé que les arguments des avocats de François Ghali sont pertinents en droit criminel mais pas en droit administratif. Il a aussi répété que le fait que le maire Ghali trouve le processus désagréable n'invalide en rien l'enquête, affirmant qu'en soi une enquête sur ses agissements n'est jamais agréable
• Lors d’une enquête administrative, le droit à un avocat n’est pas garanti par les Chartes canadienne et québécoise et lorsque l’avocat du défenseur est présent, son pouvoir d’intervention est très limité.
• Concernant la lettre envoyée au président de la CMQ, on n’y trouve que des allégués et aucun fait encore démontré. Plus encore, l’avocate s’est placée dans une situation douteuse pour ce dossier car elle représentait à la fois l’accusé et les témoins à charge.

Par conséquent, le système de justice n’est nullement mis en doute dans ce cas et l’arrêt des procédures contre le maire Ghali n’est pas justifié.

Des demandes de précisions ont également été faites sur certains des 13 faits reprochés au maire. On demande le retrait de ces faits au dossier du maire si ces précisions ne peuvent être données.

La juge Bilodeau, qui entendait la cause, dispose de 60 jours pour rendre sa décision, ce qui nous amène au milieu de juillet 2021.

By Danielle Desjardins, Coordinator 

First hearing on mayor F. Ghali vs. CMQ, May 13, 2021

At 9:30 a.m., several interested parties had not been able to connect to the broadcast of the hearing via the Zoom application. Perhaps, like the undersigned, they had not waited for it to really start, some ten minutes late. The hearing would last the rest of the morning; then resume in the early afternoon. It was then easier to join the participants. We were therefore able to follow the rest of the exchanges.
Madame Justice Sandra Bilodeau would be receiving pleas from Me Décary, a renowned lawyer, and Me Annie-Claude Trudeau for the defense of Mayor F. Ghali. We were told that he even had a third lawyer and that the whole thing would result in expenses exceeding $100,000 for the municipality of Wentworth-Nord. Me Nadia Lavoie and Me. François Girard, Director of Litigation and Investigations, represented the Commission municipale du Québec (CMQ).

From what we were told of the morning's proceedings :
- Me Décary, had perhaps not made a convincing argument.
- The defense seemed to acknowledge the facts, and was perhaps more concerned with drawing attention to other aspects. The mayor and his reputation had already suffered from these public accusations.
- They were asking that the prosecution be quashed.
- There was also talk of obstruction of the investigators.
- ...
In the afternoon, we could see that Mtre Trudeau, who had probably taken over from Mtre Décary, was saying that the defense needed dates on the snow removal and land levelling of which Mayor Ghali was accused (and for which he had paid after the fact). Otherwise, it had nothing specific enough to challenge. She repeated arguments already advanced by the mayor.

Me Décary would add to this, crying injustice and pleading that the mayor "was entitled to a full and complete defense"; that the burden of proof was on the prosecution; that more rigor was needed...

Me François Girard, would answer that the defense had all the content of what the prosecution had; that the witnesses had said that the leveling had taken place on a few occasions; and the same for the snow removal (over three years); but without giving more details. They could not give a date. The mayor had asked about the snow removal. But Me Décary wanted proof. (?) (As if the employees could have offered themselves to do the work, we imagined.)

The lawyer representing the CMQ, Me Nadia Lavoie, claimed that it was not necessary to give more details; that the invoices attested to the events; that it was the overall failure that counted.

Then, Me Trudeau attacked the accusation of having lied under oath. They needed clarification; were they really lies? This charge had to be amended or withdrawn. The judge said that the definition of a lie could indeed be subjective. The CMQ's lawyer replied that one could refer to the tape; that the mayor did not give the same answers to the same questions; changing his version during the long interrogation.
The two lawyers often cited case law.

Finally, the judge was going to take the whole thing under advisement.

Without prejudice; by Carl Chapdelaine

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

  CMQ Hearing Of May 13 for Mayor F. Ghali

There are two files in question [8 counts in the first (CMQ-67448-001), and five in the second (CMQ-67525-001). 

Mr. Ghali's lawyers, Me Michel Décary (a renowned lawyer) and Me Annie-Claude Trudeau, will be asking, in both files:
1. Clarification of the charges.
2. A request for a stay of proceedings.

The judge will have 60 days to render his decision; by "conference" between the parties.

Zoom link

By Carl Chapdelaine

Special Meeting of Wentworth-Nord’s Council, April 30, 2021 (Report)

<--- Vive la Canadienne *

Video version

Mayor Ghali presided over this special meeting, held by videoconference, in order to resume the meeting of April 26th dealing with the following resolutions:
- Montfort Pavilion Agreement;
- appointment of an Associate Director General;
- purchase of a vehicle for the Fire Department.
It appears that a procedural error rendered the special meeting of April 26 invalid. The Mayor wondered if the present one would suffer the same fate, given confusion in the number of days required for its announcement, three instead of two, and a potential violation of that. Some of Mr. Ghali's reflections were to lead to another spat between him and Councillor André Cliche, who now often takes the liberty of calling the Mayor to order. Only Councillor Suzanne Y. Paradis did not participate this time in the meeting. The resolutions having been presented and adopted by the four councillors opposed to the mayor, their resumption was not going to change the results.

- Montfort Pavilion Agreement
The mayor asked Councillor David Zgodzinski to read the resolution he had presented (it is a denunciation of the financial obligations of the municipality in this agreement and deemed disproportionate. Enregistrement de la séance). The latter indicated that he did not have it in front of him; that its wording was identical to its reading of April 26. Mr. Ghali explains that we have to forget the existence of the meeting of the 26th; that we start from scratch. Councillor Eric Johnston, having a copy of the resolution with him, will read it. Mr. Zgodzinski seconded Mr. Cliche and the resolution was adopted. In response to questions from the mayor, the latter indicated that today was the deadline for dealing with this matter, since the contract with the MRC for the management of the Montfort Pavilion and others is renewed every May 1st, we understand. The agreement had however been unanimously accepted by the members of the council, at its meeting of May 15, 2020.
Here, Mr. Ghali will launch into a long commentary that will leave all his interlocutors and probably all those who were viewing this meeting via the Zoom application speechless. We caught a few things from it:
- The MRC is simply extending the existing agreement. The Ministry of Transport, owner of the Aerobic Corridor, etc., is increasing its financial participation. The MRC, which is not our enemy, is managing the distribution of expenses fairly among the participating municipalities. It cannot give preferential treatment to Wentworth-Nord. The rates are the same for all municipalities involved. (Statements that are, of course, in contradiction with one of the whereases of the resolution).
- The mayors of the other municipalities of the MRC des Pays-d'en-Haut are not against Wentworth-Nord; quite the contrary.
- Councillor Zgodzinski's figures, $100,000 charge to the municipality, are far-fetched. The current cost seems reasonable to me.
- The constables (to be hired by Wentworth-Nord) will only have jurisdiction over the duties of the municipality.
- The citizens of Montreal and Laval, who are suffering from the social restrictions imposed by the fight against the pandemic, naturally seek to come to our Laurentians. The MRC has nothing to do with the current invasion of Montfort's facilities, as well as those of the other municipalities in the MRC. (This attacks the expectation that the MRC is responsible for tourism promotion, which, according to the mayor, is non-existent these days).
- Overall, the agreement has served the municipality well. (The opposite of what is described in the whereases.)
- We do not want to lose control over the activities generated by the presence (of the Regional Park) by giving up their management. (Contrary to the ultimate conclusion implied by Councillor Zgodzinski).
- Negotiations with the MRC were progressing well. What a mistake to impose mediation by MAMH! (He had voted against this resolution; as well as against the one involving MAMH in the discussions on the status of Chemin-de-Fer Street. Mr. Zgodzinski said he did not understand why).
- Tourism activity promotes the resources of Wentworth-Nord’s environment, so it has a positive effect.
- The resolution will undermine negotiations with the MRC.
- Montfort will still be busy this summer, no matter what we do.
Mr. Zgodzinski, rather than respond to the Mayor's negative comments, asked for a vote. The four councillors opposed to the Mayor will vote in favour, as they did on the 26th. Ms. Rioux will be against. The resolution will be adopted as presented.
(Mr. Ghali, who, to our knowledge, has regularly attacked the MRC, and especially Prefect André Genest, would thus have completely changed his speech.
Had there not been:
- The mayor's desire to withdraw the municipality from the cultural partnership with the MRC? (It was to use the funds that we devoted to our own cultural programming, the mayor replied during the question period. But, at the time, he said that the program was poorly managed. The withdrawal would save Wentworth North $10,000. "We're taking our marbles out and we're going to do better.")
- He had also denounced the excess of an announced increase in the MRC's budget for 2020. The MRC was thus seeking to increase its budget excessively and, on the other hand, to encroach more and more on the fields of competence reserved for the municipality.
- When asked by citizens if Wentworth-Nord was receiving a fair share for its contribution to the MRC, the mayor said no.
- He pledged to withdraw from all areas of shared jurisdiction, where possible. Given its eccentric position in the territory, Wentworth-Nord was not receiving its fair share of the MRC budget. In addition, he complained that he did not often receive answers to questions he addressed to the organization's executive director. Other municipalities would not be more satisfied with the management of the MRC, he added.
- On the Chemin-de-Fer Street file, he suggested that the MRC was dragging its feet in this important dispute. He then added that the MRC was holding these residents hostage and that measures would be taken to force it to resolve the problem.

- Appointment of an Associate Executive Director
Mr. Johnston read the proposal.
After listening to the recitals, the mayor will make several negative comments, stating that, by their messy work among others, the four councillors have created chaos, leading to the current situation. But he said he had to be for the adoption of the resolution. It was adopted unanimously.

- Purchase of a vehicle for the Fire Department
Mr. Yvon Paradis not having his resolution in front of him, the mayor, (rather than letting Councillor Johnston read it again), will ask Mrs. Cronier to do it.
Only one tender had allowed choosing a hybrid truck of the year 2020, sold by the Blainville Mitsubishi dealer for $37,628. A $6,000 rebate (or subsidy) was available when ordering right away. A 10-year warranty applied to major parts (and batteries?) The equivalent at a Toyota dealer was less advantageous.
Mr. Paradis was supported by Mr. Cliche.

An acrimonious exchange took place again between the mayor and the councillors. Mr. Ghali, in reply to Mr. Cliche who congratulated himself on the reasonable cost of the purchase, warned that the truck would have to be "dressed up"; that several thousand dollars would still be spent on it; and that he didn't have to get worked up... The councillor replied; while the mayor returned to the charge by saying that he was harassing the employees.
Mr. Johnston will tell the mayor that he is not telling the truth. In response, the mayor will give him a familiar insult, that the councillor read the resolutions well; but that he did not understand them...
The resolution was adopted.

Question period of the councillors
Mr. Johnston to the Mayor: "You say that our figures are crazy; but you do not produce the necessary financial statements..."
Mr. Ghali will answer him by going back to the Montfort agreement with the MRC. It is not just a question of numbers.

Questions from other participants
Ms. Danielle Desjardins returned to the mayor's comments in praise of the MRC, recalling some of the attacks on the MRC that we mentioned earlier. "Your speech has changed a lot since your last election campaign." She pointed out that the Coop des 4 Pôles did not have all the management responsibilities that the Municipality has today; it was the Municipality that chose to take them on.
The mayor replied by denying some of her accusations and by accusing her of making false accusations against him.
Mrs. Diane (Seb), whom we did not know any more than the mayor apparently, launched into a veritable indictment of him, denouncing, with description, his mean-spirited interventions towards the four councillors, and even citizens, during these council meetings. She considered them unspeakable. Shouldn't he have respected the opinions of others; should he not have been so arrogant? (These are the only parts of her speech that we were able to capture.)
The mayor seemed to some to be caught off guard and taken aback by such a denunciation. Did he perceive a growing hostility towards him?
Mr. Yves Léveillé returned with his allusions to the fables of Lafontaine. The mayor replied that he knew them well.
The agreement on the Montfort Pavilion was also discussed.

Without prejudice and aware that the content may contain errors; by Carl Chapdelaine

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

* Vive la MRC! (Sur l’air de La Canadienne!)
Vive la MRC _C_C!
Vole mon cœur, vo_o_le.
Vive la MRC_ C _C;
et son gentil préfet.
et son gentil préfet;
et son gentil préfet.
(bis)
Elle est très bien gérée;
Vole mon cœur, vo_o_le.
Elle est très bien gérée;
Reine des Pays-d’en-Haut;
Reine des Pays-d’en-Haut;
Reine des Pays-d’en-Haut.
(bis)
Elle rayonne et bri_i_lle.
Vole mon cœur, vo_o_le.
Elle rayonne et bri_i_lle;
Avec tous ses bijoux;
Avec tous ses bijoux;
Avec tous ses bijoux.
(bis)
On la veut à Wentworth-Nord.
Vole mon cœur, vo_o_le.
On la veut à Wentworth-Nord.
De Saint-Michel à Montfort;
de Saint-Michel à Montfort;
de Saint-Michel à Montfort.
(bis)
Pour voir ses merveil_eil_les.
Vole mon cœur, vo_o_le.
Pour voir ses merveil_eil_les.;
Ses lacs et ses beaux monts;
ses lacs et ses beaux monts;
ses lacs et ses beaux monts.
(bis)
À Montfort, on en est fou.
Vole mon cœur, vo_o_le.
À Montfort, on en est fou.
C’est ici qu’on l’accueille;
c’est ici qu’on l’accueille;
c’est ici qu’on l’accueille.
(bis)
Vive la MRC _C_C!
Vole mon cœur, vo_o_le.
Vive la MRC_ C _C, et son gentil préfet.

Par Carl Chapdelaine

Special Meeting of Wentworth-Nord Council, April 30, 2021

Municipal Council will hold a special meeting, by video conference, on Friday, April 30, at 5:00 p.m. to consider the following resolutions

- Montfort Pavilion Agreement
- Appointment of an Associate Director General
- Purchase of a vehicle for the Fire Department.

It appears that a procedural error rendered the special meeting of the 26 invalid; it must be resumed. Will Mayor Ghali, as well as Councillors Suzanne Y. Paradis and Myriam Rioux, who did not show-up, attend this time? Either way, it should not change the outcome.

By Carl Chapdelaine

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

Special Meeting of Wentworth-Nord Council, April 26, 2021 (report)


The Mayor and Councillors Suzanne Y. Paradis and Myriam Rioux were absent. Councillor Eric Johnston presided over the short meeting by videoconference. He was assisted by Mrs. Véronique Cronier, Acting Assistant Director General and Secretary-Treasurer. There were two dozen participants on Zoom. The four councillors opposed to the mayor ensured quorum. As for any special meeting, we will have to stick to the items on the agenda.

Montfort Pavilion Agreement
The resolution was presented by Mr. David Zgodzinski, seconded by Mr. André Cliche. These are the two councillors who are members, with Mayor A. Ghali, of the special committee in charge of the negotiations with the MRC on the files concerning Montfort; under the conciliation of Affaires municipales et Habitation (MAMH).

Mr. Zgodzinski read the resolution with several whereases. One of them states that the MRC still refuses to renegotiate the agreement concerning the Pavilion; another that the MRC should pay for almost everything at 100%; such as the hiring of agents and other municipal actions. Mr. Cliche will clarify that he agrees with the need to review the agreement; but he has reservations about the content of some of the whereases. He nevertheless supports their conclusion and seconds the presentation of the resolution. Carried unanimously.

Appointment of an Associate Executive Director
Upon recommendation of the Human Resources Committee, Mr. Sylvain Michaudville (who was Director General/Secretary-Treasurer of the Municipality of Lac-Supérieur) is appointed to this new position. Mr. Cliche, who presented the resolution, explains that he will be in function 3 days/week, for a period of 9 months. His services to the directorate will be greatly appreciated. It was adopted unanimously.

Purchase of a vehicle for the Fire Department
Mr. Johnston asked Mrs. Cronier to present the description of this resolution. It is a hybrid truck sold by the Blainville Mitsubishi dealership, for $37,628. The equivalent at a Toyota dealership had been less advantageous.

Mr. Zgodzinski, always greener than green, will take the opportunity to ask that we look into installing an electric charging station at Municipal Hall (is there a connection with the truck; we didn't think to ask).

Question Period
Mr. Yves Léveillé asked why the MAMH should be used to negotiate with the MRC. Mr. Zgodzinski answered that they have been asking to renegotiate for two years without success; that the municipality is losing money. The mediation of the MAMH on the other files affecting Montfort seems to him to facilitate things, and we want to rely on this help.

Ms. Colleen Horan echoed the Councillor's comments, stating that the municipality's share of the costs is excessive. For Mr. Zgodzinski, the municipality cannot let the MRC risk neglecting the environment and continue to promote tourism.

Mr. Roger Ponce then wants to know why he does not propose that the municipality leaves the whole Pavilion to the MRC. The Councillor admits that we could withdraw from its management with a thirty-day notice. He recognizes that he was in favor, at the beginning, of taking over this responsibility from the Coop des 4 Pôles, which seemed to him to give more importance to the promotion of tourism than to the protection of the environment. We want to get involved to have a say in the management of the organization.

Mrs. Danielle Desjardins will congratulate the council for the harmony in which this meeting was held; alluding of course to what we witness when it is led by the mayor.

Mr. Cliche will also congratulate Mr. Johnston for the way he presided over the meeting.

With all due respect; by Carl Chapdelaine

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

Special Meeting of April 26, 2021

Ordre du jour

"The Municipal Council will call a special meeting, to be held via video conference, on Monday, April 26, 2021 at 12:00 p.m., to transact the following business:

  • Montfort Pavilion Agreement
  • Appointment of an Associate Director General*.
  • Purchase of a vehicle for the Fire Department".

"During this special meeting, Council's deliberations and question period will focus exclusively on the items on the agenda."

Participation via Zoom

  • The current agreement between the Municipality and the MRC concerning the Montfort Pavilion must be renewed annually before the end of April. It had been substituted for the one between the latter and the Coopérative des 4 Pôles, as ardently advocated by Councillor David Zgodzinski after the last municipal elections. We know that it is now being strongly criticized by the same councilor. The financial involvement, which he claims is unfairly divided between the two entities, is the main object of his recriminations. Will the involvement of the Ministère des Affaires municipales et de l'Habitation (MAMH) in a mediation process concerning Montfort bring satisfaction to the councillor, and have any changes been made?
  • It is known that since the departure of Ms. Marie-France Matteau on sick leave, the position of Director General has been the subject of numerous interventions by the Municipal Council. The appointment of Ms. Véronique Cronier as Acting Assistant Director General and Secretary-Treasurer, proposed by the mayor, has again opposed the latter, assisted by Councillors Suzanne Y. Paradis and Myriam Rioux, to the other four members of the Council. It will be recalled that it had been voted when, given the absence of Mr. Yvon Paradis, the latter did not have control of the Council, and Mr. Cliche denounced it for a lack of clarity. The appointment, referred to in the agenda, would likely involve the hiring of an experienced Associate Director General from outside the organization. The Fédération québécoise des municipalités (FQM) offers its members a publication service for recruiting personnel.

P.S. When will a special Council meeting be held to change the lunch hour for the citizens of Wentworth-Nord?

With all due respect; by Carl Chapdelaine


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

Wentworth-Nord Council Meeting Of April 16, 2021 (Partial report).

 Ordre du jour        Video version

The video conference was chaired by Mayor Ghali and was attended by all of Council. Ms. Véronique Cronier, Acting Assistant Director General and Secretary-Treasurer, represented the administration. There were approximately 40 participants.

Statements by elected officials

The Mayor urged citizens to get vaccinated as soon as possible against Covid-19.

Councillor Suzanne Y. Paradis attacked the content of the 2nd communiqué of the Groupe citoyen Wentworth-Nord denouncing the collection of falsehoods she claims to find there. She undertook to respond point by point.

  1. If there was mismanagement of the municipality, the cause would be the taking of the majority on council by the four councillors opposed to the mayor.
  2. She has a completely different interpretation of the tax account and its use by the municipality than the one described in the press release.
  3. Expenditures and loans, seen as mysterious or irrelevant, were approved by council.
  4. The legal fees charged in the mayor's defense are nothing compared to those incurred for the frivolous or unreasonable reasons given by the four councillors.
  5. The delay in the production of the financial statements is due to circumstances beyond the control of the Mayor.
  6. Regarding the mismanagement of personnel, she blames it on the maneuvers of the four councillors. As evidence, she took the opportunity to indicate that an employee had just filed a complaint against them for psychological harassment (the Director General, Ms. Marie-France Matteau, who was on sick leave and who was herself involved in one or other of the accusations against the mayor in her citation before the Commission municipale du Québec).

Councillors Cliche and Johnston will denounce the Councillor's use of her statement period; among other things, by exceeding the allotted time. (One might also question the fact that she used her platform to criticize the statements of a group that had no right of reply here). The mayor, however, allowed her to proceed with her own defence and to blame the four councillors for the harassment of the staff, for which he attributed full responsibility.

The councillors will have the opportunity to assert that the mayor has the nerve to put on their backs what he himself is responsible for.

When Mr. André Cliche intervened and demanded a return to the regular procedure, the mayor urged him to shut up, calling him unbearable.

Mr. Johnston will remind that the procedure limits these interventions to 2 minutes and that it is necessary to stick to the subject of the debate.

Administration

Mr. Cliche wants to know the amount of the legal fees charged to the Mayor's defense for his citation before the CMQ. Mr. Ghali, like Mrs. Cronier, said he did not have the answer at this time.

He would like to introduce a resolution requesting a legal opinion on what constitutes reasonable costs in the defense of an elected official.

And another one asking for a tracking system of the municipality's files. The Mayor responded that this was not on the agenda; it would have to be deferred to New Business (Public Issues). He commented on the requests by reiterating that it was the unnecessary ordering of legal advice that was causing the increase in legal fees.

Because of the need for additional staff, according to the mayor, Ms. Monique Goupil, a retired municipal employee, is rehired.

In 4.6, an authorization of expenditure in the amount of $38,274 for plans and specifications submitted by the firm Arrimage.com Inc. was granted without discussion. (The name of the new interim director of the Roads and Recreation Department, Mr. André Philippe Hébert, is associated with this firm. This situation highlights the potential for conflict of interest in a small municipality, given the limited availability of specialized firms or experienced personnel; especially when disorganization sets in).

Public Safety; Public Works; Environment

Respectively, the councillors chairing the committees on each of these three services, Mr. Yvon Paradis, Mr. André Cliche and Mr. David Zgodzinski, will say that they have no report to present this month.

Planning and Economic Development

Councillor Eric Johnston, responsible for the Comité consultatif en environnement (CCU), will indicate that the level of requests for permits, minor derogations or others, has become unsustainable, and that it is necessary to hold two meetings per month of the committee with the urban planning services. He apologizes to citizens for any delays this may cause. (Indeed, from the long list of applications already on the agenda, including eight for new construction of a main building, the municipality seems to be taking advantage of the real estate boom that has been driven by the attractiveness of the region, and perhaps in part by the pandemic and the consequent popularity of teleworking).

The mayor will indicate that the numbers reflect this boom; that permit applications totaled $7M in investment from the beginning of the year to the end of March, compared to only $1.2M at the same time in 2020; a 6-fold increase in such real estate investment.

Item 8.35, will bring Council's agreement on the offer to purchase lots on Mount St. (It will be recalled that the purchaser, Mr. Louis Quenneville, wishing to give access easements to Lake St. Francois-Xavier for the lots he was planning to create, had initially been refused. The new offer to purchase contained, on the contrary, a waiver of such a right of access). It brought comments from the mayor, who was pleased that the case had been settled, and from Councillors Johnston and Zgodzinski. The latter did not want to settle for a whereas to the resolution which contained an easement of non-access to Lake St. Francis Xavier by third parties. The mayor finally proposed that the content of the whereas be moved to the resolution itself and that he would ensure that the acceptance of this offer by the municipality be conditional upon such an easement being prescribed by notarial order; this was acceptable.

Topics of public interest

Mr. André Cliche was able to present his resolution requesting that a tracking system be put in place for the municipality's files. (It will be recalled that Mr. Cliche had complained about the impossibility for councillors to follow the current evolution of expenses. The resolution was adopted by the majority, i.e. the four councillors opposed to the mayor. (Unlike the previous meeting, which Councillor Y. Paradis did not attend, Mr. Ghali's support for the votes of his allies, Councillors Suzanne Y. Paradis and Myriam Rioux, was not sufficient to defeat it. Did the resolution imply that we could not be satisfied with the mayor's assertions that he was rigorously carrying out his duties at this level?)

The mayor will strongly denounce the adoption of the resolution. A free-for-all, as he concluded at the end of the session, had just been unleashed. The mayor's insults to the four councillors, and especially to Mr. Cliche, whom he seems to perceive as the author of his citation to the CMQ, will rain down. "It's insulting, rude; it's pretending that the mayor is not doing his job..." It is up to the administration to see to the follow-up, he will argue. Present tables and follow up on everything? "No one is bound to do the impossible.

This is how the consultants are adding to their harassment of staff. They are responsible for all these departures. He authoritatively reminds that councillors, outside of council meetings, do not have the right to intervene with the administration. The municipality was running smoothly before they took over. It's their fault that the work isn't getting done. "Mr. Cliche, you hate the municipality!

It is Councillor Johnston who will give the most scathing retort to the mayor; but without using insults, (as only Mr. Ghali, president of the assembly and yet in charge of seeing to the respect of decorum, allows himself during these sessions or on his Facebook page). He will recall that, after two years, it was necessary to realize that we were badly directed. He will assert that the mayor is making up a lot of stories. "You lost the confidence of four members of the council, and Mr. Groulx left. You are the one who is responsible for the situation.

Mr. Cliche will say that the resolution is necessary. He will also reply to the mayor by indicating that at the last work session, he yelled at the councillors; if that wasn't harassment...

To Mr. Cliche, the mayor will say that he harassed Councillor Groulx to the point of causing him to resign. Mr. Cliche: "Totally false! Stop these lies and defamation!

Against Mr. Johnston, he returned to the "gravel" file and insinuated that he had put himself in a conflict of interest regarding the repair of "his" street. "You only see the signs of piastres", he will throw to him. Mr. Johnston's response, which refutes all the accusations of the mayor: "You create false stories. He will assert that Mr. Ghali, during discussions on his road repair program with the associations of Lac Notre-Dame, Noiret, Gustav and others, which represent hundreds of citizens, ignored them completely; something that can’t be done and that really shocked him.

Mr. Cliche presented another resolution, to request an opinion from the bar on the definition of reasonable legal fees for the mayor's defense before the CMQ. The resolution will be adopted; Ms. Paradis will even support the four opponents of the Mayor, to show that there is nothing to hide.

Mr. Johnston will introduce a resolution to make the awarding of legal fees public. Claiming to want transparency, all will accept the resolution.

Questions from Councillors

Ms. Paradis will go back to the 2nd press release of the Groupe citoyen Wentworth-Nord to try to complete her denunciation of what is stated there. She will again exceed the 5 minutes allotted here for a question...

Questions from the public

- A question concerning the expected date of the presentation of the municipality's financial statements will come up again; it will be asked by Mrs. Line Chapados. The mayor will answer "Soon".

- Mr. Yves Léveillé

  • Will ask what is planned for the Journées de la culture; the Mayor promises a follow-up;
  • Will ask if the spring street sweeping will be on the agenda soon; in the meantime, he has cleaned up his part of the Principale...;
  • Will propose to the council members to reread some of Lafontaine's fables, expressing that the conduct of these sessions, with the amount of insults that are uttered, is shameful.

- Mrs. Danielle Desjardins

  • Asked about the recording of the present meeting; fearing that its broadcasting would suffer the same fate as the previous one;
  • Wants to respond to the comments of Mrs. Suzanne Y. Paradis on the content of the 2nd communiqué of the Groupe citoyen Wentworth-Nord ; but only succeeded in inviting the councillor to subscribe to the group's mailings, so as not to have to complain about not receiving them;
  • Reminded that the financial statements have been overdue for the last three years, contrary to what happened under the previous administration. The Mayor informed her that the deadline for filing the 2020 financial statements has been extended to June due to the pandemic.

- Mr. Adrian Hausermann suggested that passes be sold to make the access to the municipal trails, etc., somewhat more profitable.

- Mrs. Christiane XYZ asked about the availability of lots in Wentworth-Nord. There are lots sold for non-payment of taxes; but it is necessary to inquire with the MRC, the mayor indicates to her. Mr. Johnston added that the municipality has a list of small lots for sale.

- Mrs. Line Chapados asked about harassment. The mayor indicated that there is indeed a fair fight; but that is what democracy is all about!

With all reservations, pending the availability of the recording and the minutes, by Carl Chapdelaine.

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

2nd communiqué of Groupe citoyen Wentworth-Nord

Guide for Elected Municipal Officials

(Excerpts from the «Guide d’accueil et de référence pour les élues et les élus municipaux» and the «Règlement sur la régie interne des séances du conseil municipal de Wentworth-Nord»)

 "This welcome and reference guide is an introduction to the mandate of an elected official.

The responsibility of the Mayor.
1. To preside over meetings of Municipal Council in a manner that maintains order and decorum.
2. To participate in the decision-making process at Municipal Council meetings: As Mayor, ... you may exercise your right to vote, but it is not a requirement, unless prescribed by law.
3. As mayor, you may exercise a veto over a council decision (by-laws, resolutions, bonds, contracts, agreements or acts) by refusing to approve it. This veto is suspensive: it can be overturned if a majority of council members required by law re-enacts the same decision. Once re-passed, the decision is legal and valid, despite your refusal.
4. Sign by-laws, resolutions and contracts of the municipality after they have been adopted by council.
5. Oversee the enforcement of by-laws and resolutions. You shall also communicate to Council any information deemed to be of interest.
6. To exercise supervisory, investigative and control powers over the affairs and the officers and employees of the municipality. In addition, you shall ensure that the revenues of the municipality are collected and expended in accordance with the law.
7. In the event of an emergency that threatens the lives of citizens, their health or the integrity of municipal facilities, you may authorize such expenditures and award such contracts as are deemed necessary to remedy the situation.
8. Represent the entire population of the municipality. In addition, you represent the municipality on the council of the MRC."

The responsibility of the Councillor.
1. Attend the municipal council meetings. You will represent the interests of the community.
2. Participate in decision making.
3. Vote on all resolutions and by-laws unless there is a conflict of interest.
4. You may be ... appointed to boards or committees established by the council. You may also be appointed to specific issues as a Councillor, in which case your involvement must be consistent with the responsibilities of a municipal officer.
5 (The council of a municipality must appoint a Councillor to the position of Deputy Mayor. If you are so appointed, you will then perform the duties of the mayor in his or her absence...)"

"Resolution: It is by resolution that a municipal council exercises its powers of an administrative nature. Resolutions are usually for one-time actions and are often very limited in time or scope."

"By-law: A by-law is the means by which a municipality implements a legislative power conferred on it by the provincial legislature. A by-law is delegated legislation. ...Once in force, it has the force of law within the municipality.

In general, there are five steps to implementing (the by-law):
1. Notice of Motion
This notice states the purpose of the by-law. It must be given by a member of council at a meeting prior to the meeting at which the by-law will be passed. This notice is not subject to a vote of the members of council and does not require the publication of a public notice.
2. The draft by-law
The proposed by-law specifies the content of the by-law. It must be filed before, after or at the same time as the notice of motion. The draft by-law may be amended following its presentation without having to be presented again. However, the changes must not be such as to affect the intent of the by-law. Copies of the proposed by-law shall be made available to the public as soon as possible after its introduction.
3. Adoption of the by-law
The by-law is adopted by the Council by the majority provided for by law. The by-law must be adopted at a meeting separate from the meeting or meetings at which the notice of motion and the draft by-law are tabled...
4. Public notice
The by-law must be made public in the manner provided for by law and in accordance with the elements set out therein.
5. The coming into force
The by-law comes into force on the day the public notice is published. However, it may set a later date for all or part of its provisions."

Wentworth-Nord Specific Rules (citations):
Section 2.10 of the Wentworth-Nord Council Meetings Bylaw specifies that, "The preliminary agenda shall be posted on the municipality's website 72 hours prior to the meetings."
"2.12. After the adoption of the agenda, a period is reserved for elected officials who wish to make a statement.
2.20. Elected officials must stick to the subject of the debate and avoid personal allusions and insinuations, violent, hurtful or disrespectful words towards anyone, unparliamentary expressions and turns of phrase.

     Question Period
7.6. Each speaker shall have a maximum of 5 minutes to ask a question and a sub-question, after which the chair of the session may end the intervention.
7.7. Any person may ask a new question and a new sub-question when all the persons who wish to ask a question have done so, and so on in turn until the end of the question period.
7.8. A question asked must relate to a matter of public interest that is within the jurisdiction of Wentworth-Nord or its Council...
7.9. The answer to a question must be limited to the subject matter it touches upon, be brief.
7.13. All elected officials shall demonstrate at all times during council meetings the utmost propriety of behavior and a blameless and respectful attitude toward other council members and citizens."

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

call for applications

Wentworth-Nord Council special Meeting Of March 26, 2021

Ordre du jour    Projet de procès-verbal

Mayor Ghali presided over this videoconference. Mr. Yvon Paradis was the only councillor absent. The administration was represented by the interim Director General, Mr. Jason Neil, who had resigned, and Ms. Véronique Cronier, who should replace him in this position. The counter on the Zoom application will show approximately 30 participants.

i. First, council had to accept Mr. Neil's resignation. Councillor Myriam Rioux moved the resolution; due to lack of support from councillors, the Mayor seconded the motion. Councillors David Zgodzinski and Eric Johnston then explained that they did not accept the first two recitals of the resolution.

(As always, only the members of Council have the details of the resolutions or draft regulations in front of them, so the public can only guess at the content of the resolutions through the discussion among them. It is therefore sometimes very difficult for them to understand the meaning of the debates. Since the resolution was proposed by an ally of the mayor and supported by him, it is assumed that the "whereas" in question were in some way blaming the opposing councillors for the situation at City Hall. Throughout the meeting, Mr. Ghali, will resume with a virulence not yet reached his attacks and insults against Councillor André Cliche, whom he probably believes to be the author of the denunciations of which he is the subject to the Commission municipale du Québec. With Councillor Paradis absent, the mayor and his two allies were able to secure a majority during this session).

After a long and inextricable debate, the resolution is however refused, and thus the resignation of Mr. Neil with it...

Here, the mayor, (still taking advantage of his platform), will engage in a full-scale attack (and most contemptuous) against Councillor Cliche. The latter, recalling that he is himself an elected official, will try to bring him back to order; pointing out that he insults him and damages his reputation on this occasion and also on Facebook. Mr. Ghali will claim that he can make the comments he wants. *

In addition, in view of the rejection of the resolution accepting the resignation of Mr. Neil, Councillor David Zgodzinski asked what was the point of the resolutions that followed and which were intended to deal with the aftermath of his departure. However, the Mayor indicated that Mr. Neil was still leaving and that the agenda items should be continued to ensure continuity of operations in the administration.

ii. Mr. André Philippe Hébert, (already involved in the municipal administration), was appointed Acting Director for the Roads and Recreation Department, replacing Mr. Neil. Councillor Cliche had a clause inserted in the resolution indicating that this was an interim appointment limited to six months and that, in the meantime, a permanent hiring process would be initiated. It was adopted unanimously.

iii. Regarding the appointment of a strategic advisor in municipal management, proposed by Mr. Johnston, seconded by Ms. Paradis, Councillor Zgodzinski wanted to know what his job description would be and if he would submit a report to council at each meeting. According to Mr. Cliche (?), it would be up to the Human Resources Committee to define his tasks. It was passed unanimously.

iv. Then it is the resolution to appoint Mrs. Véronique Cronier as interim Assistant Director General and Secretary-Treasurer, to replace, here also, Mr. Neil and eventually assist Mrs. Matteau when she returns from sick leave (?). (Ms. Cronier is currently administrative assistant to the Director General and the Mayor). Mr. Cliche will still want the Human Resources Committee to define the tasks for this new position. He will also want to set a maximum of six months for this interim position and begin the process of permanent hiring (?).

At this point, Mr. Ghali resumed his insinuations and insults towards Mr. Cliche, concluding that he is rude, a specialist in bickering, etc. In front of the protests, he will even have the audacity, instead of withdrawing his remarks, to affirm that he weighs his words...

Mr. Johnston will support Mr. Zgodzinski's or Mr. Cliche's intervention on the need to properly define the duties of positions that do not currently exist. The alternative would be to replace "Assistant Director General " here with "Acting Director General " (?). For the other positions as well, according to Mr. Zgodzinski.

Ms. Paradis intervened to say that the resolutions were quite clear and that a lot of time was wasted. Mr. Neil intervened to clarify that the job descriptions were quite detailed. The resolution was adopted despite the opposition of Councillor Cliche, because of its lack of clarity.

Mr. Johnston will want to assure Ms. Cronier, who is attending the meeting, of the support of the members of Council.

v. The appointment of Ms. Carole Lavoie, (already in accounting), as assistant secretary-treasurer, proposed by Ms. Paradis, seconded by Ms. Rioux, will again raise the lack of clarity, perceived by Mr. Cliche, of the designation of this position. He would like it to be temporary. Mr. Ghali commented that they were only trying to fix the pots he had broken... Mr. Johnston reminded everyone that the availability of funds for all these hires was endorsed by the responsible authority.

Mr. Ghali had more to say about Mr. Cliche. He again hammered home the point (no doubt to get it into the minds of those present) that even when the resolutions were explained to him, the councillor did not understand them... (Mr. Cliche, like no other member of council, will not allow himself to make such comments about the mayor or any other councillor. Here, intimidation by the person in authority appears to us to be clearly added to the insults).

vi. It will still be necessary to appoint Mr. Shawn Macdonald, (currently a recreation worker), as supervisor and team leader for the road department. As well as Mr. André Giroux as human resources advisor to negotiate the renewal of the collective agreement with the employees of the Municipality of Wentworth-Nord.

Question period

Ms. Line Chapados will seek explanations on the lack of communication of this special meeting and on the respect of the deadlines for such a procedure. While Ms. Cronier will evoke technical problems; Mr. Johnston will seem to assert that, even if it was the custom, it was not mandatory. (In the case of a special meeting.)

*Our comment: Section 2.20 of the Wentworth-Nord Council Meetings Rules of Order specifies that: "Elected officials shall confine themselves to the subject matter of the debate and avoid personal allusions and insinuations, violent, hurtful or disrespectful words to any person, unparliamentary expressions and turns of phrase." Règlement sur la régie interne des séances du conseil de W-N.

If a mayor, in Quebec, can express such comments to a councillor, can we also give our interpretation here? By dint of blaming his victim, does not a malicious person hope that the label he seeks to attribute to him will eventually stick in the minds of the public before whom he utters these epithets or defamations? And if it is shocking enough to find such behavior in schoolyards, what can it be when it comes from the "leader" of a community? Doesn't history show to what extremes they can even lead a whole nation? 

Unlike usual, you will not be able to hear or rehear the comments made at this videoconference: "Unfortunately, due to a problem beyond our control, the video version of the Special Session of March 26 is not available". But, they still managed to write a draft of the minutes of the meeting... Are you surprised? Notice on the March 26 meeting of W-N's Council (French).

With all due respect, by Carl Chapdelaine.


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

Wentworth-Nord Musical Ride

special meeting will be held by video conference at 9:00 a.m. Friday, March 26. The 72-hour deadline for its publication was not met; no one knew about it!

The agenda indicates that a series of positions are to be filled: Acting General Manager, Acting Director of the Highway Department, Supervisors, and Assistants; as Mr. Jason Neil would be leaving his dual role. (Mr. Cadieux appears to be one of the few survivors of the old guard in the administration; but the year is still young... Politics seems to be in full swing at the Maison du Citoyen; but in this mess, the Citizen may not be happy).

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

Par Carl Chapdelaine

Wentworth-Nord Council Meeting Of March 19, 2021

Ordre du jour   Video version

The video conference was chaired by Mayor Ghali and was attended by all of Council. The counter on the Zoom application will show around 50 participants. To our surprise, Mr. Jason Neil, Acting General Director, represented the administration. There were very specific rumours that day that he was resigning, creating panic on Council. How could he have been retained?

Statements by elected officials

The mayor was happy with the fact that only 11 permanent residents of the municipality had caught Covid-19 since the beginning. The focus now was on vaccination.

Councillor Cliche gave a brief report for the committee responsible for negotiations with the MRC on the situation in Montfort. As one would expect, everything was confidential until further notice. He thanked the residents who had participated in the consultation he had initiated, which had enlightened Council on the situation.

Councillor David Zgodzinski, for his part, saluted his colleagues on Council for the adoption, which will be seen below, of his resolution* on the hiring of constables to monitor visitor traffic in Montfort. These agents should also make sure that only the people of the village have access to the beach. He also thanked the residents who had supported his awareness campaign on the need for this constabulary surveillance. He stressed, as usual, that the MRC had created many problems in Montfort and that it did not sufficiently take into account the consequences of its actions. *The resolution was not on the draft agenda.

Administration

In 4.7, Councillor Eric Johnston will indicate that, as in 2020, there will be, due to the pandemic, an exemption of interest and penalty for the payment of property taxes beyond the usual deadlines.

$2,400 will go to the Cercle des fermières Saint-Michel/Pine-Hill to make trivets. Also, a maximum amount of $2,000 is granted to the Étoile du Nord, with the persons involved, for its services to help seniors who need to be accompanied to the Covid-19 vaccination centers.

Mr. Ghali will invite the council to ask the government to apply the measure concerning vaccination within companies to the first responder services of Wentworth-Nord and thus allow for the training of attendants to the vaccination who are cruelly lacking. Mrs. Charrette, Director of the Fire Safety Department of the municipality, will be the contact person in this process. The councillors are all in agreement.

Another point concerns the payment of the municipality's share of the MRC's financing.

Public Security

Councillor Yvon Paradis gives some information:

  1. He reminds that it is forbidden to park on the streets of the municipality and that offenders may be penalized.
  2. He also indicated that the council will regulate the development of fireworks and Chinese lanterns.

Councillor Zgodzinski presented his resolution on the hiring of constables to counter the effects of the influx of visitors at certain times and on weekends in Montfort, and to restrict access to the beach to village residents. He indicated that there were 1,600 boat washes at the Montfort Pavilion in 2020, compared to only 600 in 2019; a considerable increase and a good reflection of the explosion in traffic. He thanked his colleagues for their support; this shows their interest in Montfort's problems, which the residents will appreciate. Mr. Johnston seconds him. Mr. Cliche pointed out that the goal here is more to raise awareness than to crack down on offenders.

The mayor goes back to the preamble that would reserve the beach for Montfort residents only. The operation of the municipal beach is the responsibility of all citizens of Wentworth-Nord and they have the right to access it. Mr. Johnston explained that this is, for the moment, a general resolution on the hiring of a constabulary; and that it does not rule on the use of the beach.

Public works

The president of the road committee, Mr. Cliche, will announce a record year in this area for 2021. Mr. Johnston will indicate that we will cover the whole territory (dust or gravel?, etc.).

An inter-municipal agreement for work on Millette Road is finally completed. The mayor will indicate that the sediments discharged by this road are greatly polluting Lake Laurel and Lake Argenté. The work in question would aim, among other things, to remedy this situation (?). Councillor Suzanne Y. Paradis can't help but claim victory, especially since the project should be 95% subsidized by the government.

Environment

No meeting of the Environmental Advisory Committee this month. Appointment of two new representatives of the Saint-Michel sector to this committee: Ms. Nathalie Guay and Ms. Brigitte Thomas.

Councillor Johnston deposited his notice of motion of a draft by-law concerning the authorized locations for boat launching. He had explained, during the consultation of the residents of Montfort prior to the beginning of negotiations with the MRC, that it was necessary to formally define these locations first. This would allow the constables to enforce the regulations and prevent the introduction of boats anywhere in the lake. This by-law could be applied municipally.

The mayor specified that there is only one launching point under municipal jurisdiction at Lake St. Francis Xavier (the ramp near the marina). The other point, at Pavillon Montfort, is under the jurisdiction of the MRC.

A notice of motion and the tabling of draft by-law 2021-584, regarding the control of outdoor lighting, aim to reduce light pollution in the municipality, to allow the viewing of the starry sky.

Urban planning and economic development

In 8.3, the adoption of By-law 2017-498-7, to modify the delimitation of the residential zone H-60 (Lac à la Croix) and the residential zone H-58 (Lake St-Victor’s watershed), was moved by Councillor Johnston and seconded by Mr. Yvon Paradis. It was done unanimously. The Mayor reminded that the by-law was submitted to a written consultation and to two consultations by videoconference. There had been 4 signatures requesting that a referendum be held on its adoption. (Obviously, as his response to Ms. Colleen Horan during question period will show, he was not aware of much of the discussion that took place during these consultations, such as the potential environmental impact on Lac à la Croix and Lake Saint-François-Xavier of which it is tributary; or the fact that no resident of the latter lake had the opportunity to participate in the request for a referendum...)

At the adoption stage of the draft by-law in February, Mr. Zgodzinski was the only one to vote against it. (Was he happy with the same by-law now? What had changed since his first decision? Was it simply that the scenario proposed by the developer, Lac St-Victor Estates, with the acquisition of a waterfront lot by the Lake Saint-François-Xavier Environmental Fund, which was visibly endorsed by its Board of Directors, had been implemented? Or had there been an exchange of goodwill between him and the other members of the Council who had accepted his resolution on the hiring of constables? What if the whole scenario, with its easement, its dominant tenement and servient tenement, the appeal to all the waterfront property owners, a scenario decried by some as inappropriate and unworkable, turned sour?  Wouldn't the Councillor regret having taken all the responsibility? And, where is the promised legal advice and follow-up with Fund members?)

In 8.23, the Councillor of district 5 will propose the sale or transfer of lot 5 589 189 of the cadastre of Quebec to the Fund. It would be seconded by Mr. Eric Johnston, from district 6. Mr. Zgodzinski will specify that, by using this lot, the Fund will be able to make lot exchanges and ensure that there will be no access to the lake (coming from the crowns of outside properties). Wasn't it for such interventions that the Fund had been created, added the Councillor. The proposal was adopted unanimously.

This was followed by a long list of minor construction exemptions.

The Plan d'implantation et d'intégration architecturale (PIIA) (Site Planning and Architectural Integration Program) required new residential construction projects dealt with here to comply with the new rule concerning lighting control.

Recreation, Culture and Community Life

Hiring of part-time receptionists for the Montfort Pavilion and of a full-time supervisor; in the latter case, it was Mrs. Hélène Chartier, who was returning to work.

At the same time, lifeguards were being recruited for the 2021 summer season at Lake Laurel Beach.

Councillor Cliche gave an update from the Saint-Michel Church Committee on the transformation of the church for its new vocation. Among other things, a work plan was developed and the need to call upon an architectural firm was identified.

Mr. Yvon Paradis, for his part, (proposed to accept?) the project that would allow the disabled access to the Laurel Lake gazebo (?). Mr. André Philippe Hébert, of the Lac Laurel Association, explained that this would be made possible by the construction of a footbridge.

Question period

Mrs. Danielle Desjardins asked about the astronomical costs for the defense of Mayor Ghali before the Commission municipale du Québec. A budget of 100 000$ had been foreseen for 2021 and we had already paid almost half of this amount in legal fees. Mr. Serge Baron will intervene in the same sense. Councillor Suzanne Y. Paradis would state that the legal expenses incurred by her four colleagues cost much more (?)

Mrs. Line Chapados asked why several documents, such as minutes and financial statements prior to 2018, are missing from the municipal website. Councillor Johnston put the cause on the change of website; but the information is available on the government website. The mayor undertakes to publish them with the help of the service provider for the site.

Mrs. Danielle Desjardins asked when the last financial statements would be released. The answer was that we could not give a precise date. Mr. Baron asked how a budget and a three-year plan could be prepared without having already produced these financial statements.

As required by law, when, asked Ms. Desjardins, will the municipality make public the list of contractors who have been awarded contracts over $25,000 and the list of those to whom the sum of the awarded contracts totals over $25,000? The Mayor answered that this will be done as soon as possible.

Mr. Yves Léveillé will share some of his observations on the Montfort beach, next to his house:

  1. He saw few launches of kayaks and others; but he noted that motor boats, coming towards the shore, too often approached it.
  2. He thanked Council for the grant to the Montfort Art Gallery.
  3. He wanted to know the timetable for the cleaning of the ditch (on Principale Road?) Mr. Neil could not provide a date; we have no control over the procedure.
  4. He congratulated the members of council for holding this meeting with the required decorum.

(Did he speak too fast? On a question from Ms. Desjardins about the legal fees for the mayor's defense against the CMQ, inappropriate remarks were to crown the videoconference. The mayor reiterated that the four councillors against him were destroying the municipality... The citizen had asked him if he would reimburse the municipality for these fees if he was found guilty of the charges against him. Mr. Ghali indicated that he would not answer her question, but said that these were only disclosures).

Ms. Colleen Horan asked the Board about the Lac à la Croix issue. Among other things, she wanted to know about the possible environmental impact analysis of the project on the lake. The mayor, probably thinking only of Lac à la Croix, did not imagine such a problem. The resident, who has been involved in the protection of Lake Saint-François-Xavier for many years, recalled the catastrophic consequences of the flow of water and debris from Thurston Lake into the latter lake, when its beaver dam was destroyed. She made a comparison with the development at Lac à la Croix, which is also a tributary of the large lake.

The mayor assured her that he would submit the case to the council. For his part, the neighbouring district councillor who had presented the draft by-law, Mr. Johnston, indicated that it was premature to proceed with such an evaluation, since the details of the constructions were not yet known. Mr. Neil also commented on the matter; however, we were unable to capture his comments.

Ms. Myriam Dujardin returned to the issue of the beach, stating that it should be for swimming only; that this should be clearly indicated. Councillor Zgodzinski replied that this was the case but that some people were not respecting the regulations and that there should be a constable with the necessary authority to enforce the legislation.

Then Mr. David Clark asked several questions:

  1. He wanted to know to whom the permission to use the beach was addressed: the residents of the village, of the lake, of the district? He indicated that there were some activities taking place there, such as the traditional Montfort Regatta, which were attended by people from outside the village.
  2. What territory would the constables cover?
  3. What would be their mandate, power, etc.?
  4. Would they monitor access to the lake other than at the beach?
  5. Were we talking about regulations that only apply during this pandemic period, or beyond?
  6. Who would determine the capacity of the lake?
  7. Was there an overall plan rather than a piecemeal approach to address the various issues?

The mayor replied that the proposal was to enforce all relevant regulations on a permanent basis. He clarified that the beach, contrary to what was implied in one of the preambles of the proposed by-law, was to be accessible to all residents of Wentworth-Nord; upon proof of residency. Residents were to pay for its maintenance, etc. This was as long as the number of places allowed (25 in times of pandemic?) was not exceeded.

About obtaining an overall view of the situation in Montfort, the mayor answered that this was not the occasion to discuss it; but that it could be an issue for the next election campaign…

Moreover, the MRC, according to Mr. Ghali, had jurisdiction over its territory and made the decisions that concerned it. Councillor Zgodzinski disagreed; he read in the by-laws (or contracts) that the MRC still had to abide by the municipality's regulations on the Corridor, etc. He indicated that the constables would patrol the Corridor by bicycle.

(What if the mayor had given the right time, as opposed to the councilor? What if the constables had no jurisdiction to issue tickets on the territory under the jurisdiction of the MRC, the parking lots, the Corridor, the grounds of the Montfort Pavilion? If the MRC refused to share the bill for the maintenance of this constabulary? What would be the point of applying this resolution to Montfort? Coupled with a failure of the scenario he pushed through to prevent the Lac à la Croix project from allowing third party access to Saint-François-Xavier, Mr. Zgodzinski and his fellow council members who support him would be in big trouble. Wouldn't Mr. Ghali, on the eve of the municipal elections, have a field day denouncing their amateurism?)

With all reservations, pending the availability of the recording and the minutes, by Carl Chapdelaine.

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

the "Council’s Message"

On his mayor's Facebook page, Mr. Ghali informs us that the councillors have decided to replace "The Mayor’s Message" in the Gazette with the "Council’s Message". "Who will write it? - God knows!" he adds. We know that his opponents in council, as well as the Commission municipale du Québec (CMQ), accuse him of using this forum to express "his personal position and not a municipal position".

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

C. Chap.

Wentworth-Nord Council Meeting of February 19, 2021 

Ordre du jour   Version vidéo

The Zoom counter will show 40 participants in this videoconference. All Council members were in attendance, as well as Mr. Jason Neil who was replacing the Executive Director, who was on sick leave.

Words from the Mayor and committee representatives

Following the acceptance of the agenda and minutes of the previous meetings, the Mayor paid tribute to Mr. Ed. Bachman, who passed away on January 20th, as well as to Mrs. Marie-Andrée Dionne. He specified that the former (who will be the subject of a later response by Mr. Ghali to the charges brought against him by the CMQ) resided on the (now famous) Du Domaine street. He will also recall the multiple implications of Ms. Dionne in the community. Finally, he will conclude by highlighting the centennial (February 21) of Mrs. Minnie (Goldstein) Johnson, a Montfort personality.

Before outlining the work of the Roads Committee, which he chairs, Councillor André Cliche will take as his own the tributes paid by the Mayor to the persons mentioned. The committee had met on January 22nd. In thanking the Public Works staff, Mr. Cliche will point out several novelties in the approach of the offer of these services: preventive maintenance, new tools, criteria for the choice of gravel or asphalt, the planned implementation of multi-year contracts with contractors, etc. He will say a word about the survey you are asked to participate in if it comes with your tax bill, and will cover both commercial residences and your use of the TaCL transportation service.

Councillor Yvon Paradis requested that his report on the Fire Committee be given at the next meeting.

Councillor Myriam Rioux will give an update on the Saint-Michel Church Committee. A budget of 700 000$ would have been voted.

Administration

The mayor proposed adherence to the declaration of commitment on democracy and respect, made by the Union des municipalités du Québec (UMQ). It is unanimously adopted. (During the question period, Ms. Danielle Desjardins will question him on the subject, recalling that his declaration of commitment differs totally, both in letter and spirit, from what he himself says in social media).

Following the resignation of Councillor Groulx, Mr. Eric Johnston is designated deputy mayor until June 30. For his part, Mr. Jason Neil is appointed Acting General Manager for three months, in the absence of Mrs. Marie-France Matteau, and a person will be recruited, with the help of a consulting firm, to provide him with support for a fixed term of twelve months.

A request for the installation of a temporary telecommunications tower by Bell Mobility to improve this service was accepted.

An accountant, Ms. Carole Lavoie, was recruited on a temporary and partial basis to fill the vacant position.

Finally, since the Human Resources Committee is responsible for conducting an internal evaluation of employees and the Mayor sits on it, Mr. Yvon Paradis asked him if he would withdraw from the committee for this occasion. Mr. Ghali stated that he would be a member by right and Councillor David Zgodzinski replied that he would be in conflict of interest. Ms. Desjardins, once again, would agree with the Councillor in question period.

Public Safety

There is talk of setting up four roadblocks on the territory of Wentworth-Nord during the 2021 food drive.

Concerning the resignation of three first responders, we understand the explanations of Mr. Yvon Paradis, that they never gave any sign of life during the Holiday season.

Transportation and public works

The nine calls for tenders are adopted in series; the two contract awards are also adopted.

Environmental health and environment

The reappointment of the members of the Comité consultatif en environnement (CCE) was accepted. For Montfort: Adrian Hausermann and Marc Filion; for Laurel: Joann MacTavish and Johanne Laurencelle. Two positions are to be filled for the Saint-Michel sector.

The financial partnership with Abrinord for the sampling station in the Rivière du Nord watershed and with OBV RPNS for the implementation of the Réseau de surveillance volontaire des lacs (RSVL) in Wentworth-Nord are renewed.

Requests for reimbursement of 50% of the lake associations' water analysis fees under the RSVL are accepted.

Urban planning and zoning

The list of permits will be posted on the municipality's website, announces the mayor.

Several requests for minor exemptions and conformity analysis within the framework of the Plan d'implantation et d'intégration architecturale (PIIA) relate to the Lake Saint-Victor sector. Many of them are about new construction, including guest houses (!) and the expansion of the main building. This will lead Councillor Eric Johnston to say that there will be a lot of houses to be built in the area.

Finally, the adoption of the controversial second draft by-law 2017-498-7 amending Zoning By-law 2017-498 at Lac à la Croix is moved by Councillor E. Johnston and seconded by Mrs. Suzanne Y. Paradis. Mr. Zgodzinski will be the only one to vote against, as promised. (For more details, see our article: "Lac à la Croix: duped?")

Mr. Michael Duhaime, of the Planning and Environment Department, is promoted to the position of Class I Inspector.

Recreation, Culture and Community Life

Saint-Michel Church: It is proposed that an external consultant be mandated to review the entire file, propose planning and seek grants.

Two employee resignations at the reception desk at Montfort Pavilion.

Question period (or New Business) for council members

Mr. Zgodzinski points out the great advantage of having residents, both permanent and vacationers, participate in Council meetings (as well as consultations) via video conferencing (Zoom). He asked that Quebec be asked to ensure that this service could be offered in conjunction with the indoor presence, even after the pandemic. He noted the difficulty for many residents to attend these sessions in person, particularly in bad weather, darkness or snowy road conditions, and especially for those who are not present on the municipality's territory when they are held.

The mayor agrees and says that it is not even necessary to ask permission from the government. Councillor Johnston indicated that council members, in any case, are required to be present on site, under normal circumstances.

Citizen's Question Period

The first questions concern the adoption of the draft by-law on the Lac à la Croix (see our article).

Then, Ms. Danielle Desjardins will bring up again Mr. Ghali's participation in the internal investigation of the employees by stating that the mayor is facing the same accusations of misconduct before the CMQ and that these employees could be prosecution witnesses against him when he appears before the CMQ. Mr. Ghali, who had already asked her what she applies from the presumption of innocence, will take advantage of his reply to justify at length the actions he is accused of. Did we hear him state that he had learnt from Councillor Zgodzinski that it was one of the councillors who had led the CMQ to investigate him?

Mrs. Myriam Dujardin will come back to the danger of telecommunications towers. The mayor will again take the opportunity to indicate that it was the result of the decisions of the four councillors (which he has in his sights), while he was working instead to obtain from Bell the installation of fiber optics.

Marie-Chantal P. will complain about the lack of respect that is too often shown at council meetings. She specifically targeted, without naming him, the mayor. Also: "The citizen has rights. Listen to us. ..." Councillor Suzanne Y. Paradis, choosing to take the chairperson's place, will interrupt her, as she will do with Mrs. Desjardins, insisting that only questions to council be dealt with here. The citizen will have time to quote comments from Mr. Ghali addressed to Councillor Cliche, such as: "economist who does not understand the budget", and to Councillor Johnston: "travel manager". The mayor, in what appears to be his new strategy, and probably relying on the fact that most of the participants in this session did not know that he was the author of these remarks, will say loud and clear that she was right to denounce the misconduct of certain councillors; while denouncing the sabotage they have allegedly accomplished in the administration of municipal affairs.

With all reservations, pending the availability of the recording and the minutes, by Carl Chapdelaine.

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

Tyrants against W-N

Budget & Plan 2021-23; taxes & tariffs; Feb. 4


The videoconference session of February 4 is chaired by Mayor François Ghali. All councillors participate. On sick leave, Mrs. Marie-France Matteau, Director General, is replaced by Mr. Jason Neil, the replacement Secretary Treasurer.

The meeting is quickly suspended when Mr. Neil has a computer failure that deprives us of his presence, as well as of the recording of the debates. The situation quickly returned to normal.

(See attached tables for Mr. Neil's budget presentation).

Questions and comments from members of the Council

Councillor André Cliche accuses the Mayor of having deprived the citizen of information to which he was entitled on the use of certain funds. Mr. Ghali will later respond to the "derogatory remarks" of the Councillor, saying, among other things, that it is surprising that he, an economist, does not understand anything about the budget.

[The 2021 council meetings seem to have regained the zest of the previous year. But the derogatory or contemptuous exchanges are meant to maintain decorum. (Remark: "You have put your dress on backwards, Your Honour." Answer: "I'm surprised you noticed, Master.") Councillors Cliche and Johnston will certainly have learned from the mayor and developed a more combative attitude towards him. In addition, Councillor Suzanne Y. Paradis will be less quick to attack in this session than in the previous one.]

Councillor Eric Johnston indicated that, according to his calculations, the tax rate for vacant lots indicated in the table on Taxes and compensations does not "balance" and therefore seems to him erroneous. He added that it would be important to give the details of revenues (and expenses) for amounts over $100,000 so that the citizen is well informed. Recalling his intervention in the previous budget on the injustice he perceives in the taxation of small lots, he will say that he must, again and in particular for this reason, vote against the adoption of this budget.

Councillor Cliche was also going to vote against this budget, invoking the lack of information and the non-presentation of financial statements, which he will say are necessary for the elaboration of a budget. The mayor will answer that the exceptional circumstances experienced by the administration in 2020, due to Covid-19, the death of the auditor, the accountant's errors, etc., prevented the output of these financial statements before the budget was prepared; but that this does not affect its content. He will claim that he is not hiding anything. He calls upon the councillors to adopt this budget to allow the tax accounts to be sent and to move forward. He threatens to ask the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing (Andrée Laforest) to put the municipality under trusteeship if they do not adopt this budget.
Mr. Johnston explained that it is not so serious to postpone the adoption of the budget for a while, since the law allows continuing with the old one in the meantime; there is still time to send the tax bills.

Mr. Paradis will join the two councillors who have declared being against the adoption of the budget, while Mr. David Zgodzinski and the other members of Council will vote in favour. It will therefore be adopted.

In the same way, and with the same opposition, the three-year plan will be adopted.

Question Period

Mrs. Danielle Desjardins will ask if the management of the Montfort pavilion is profitable for the municipality. Without dwelling on the sums involved, the mayor will answer yes, taking into account all that this institution brings to the community. Moreover, it allows the municipality to manage the Pavilion's budget and services, which, he and Councillor Zgodzinski say, is unlike what existed under the Coop des 4 Pôles. But the latter will rather admit that this management costs the municipality several tens of thousands of dollars, because essential services have been added and the MRC (which pays only $32,000), does not give its fair share of the costs incurred.

Ms. Desjardins will have the same question regarding the profitability of the Farmers' Market; also claiming that it competes with the Coopérative de Laurel. The mayor will justify the existence of the Farmers' Market, stating that it serves the citizens and that, being a one-time event, it cannot harm the Co-op. Mrs. Paradis, with her experience as a former owner of the convenience store, will argue that the Market, on the contrary, stimulates traffic at the store. The mayor will admit that it is the municipality that pays for the supply of fruits and vegetables and that the profits from their sale are managed by Ms. Céline McSween.

Finally, Ms. Desjardins asked the mayor how much his defense, in the face of the accusations of the Quebec Municipal Commission, will cost the municipality's treasury. It is Councillor Johnston who will lift the veil by indicating that the council has budgeted more than 100 000$ in legal fees.

A citizen complains that not enough is being done for the environment and asks what will be done for this year. He sees that the sums have decreased in this respect and is concerned about it. The mayor responded that the $150,000 savings are the result of integrating these services with those of urban planning. But the citizen does not understand that one director can do as much as two. (We asked council about the same question at the beginning of the term.) Mr. Ghali will tell him that the same employees provide the services that existed before.
Mr. A. Cliche will say that many services have been neglected, but that we don't have the information to judge that.

Mr. Johnston will admit that he is disappointed with the achievements of the municipality in environment, even if he agreed with the integration of the two directions. He will add, with the same voice, that there should perhaps be a person in charge of the environment... (Will we be able to reinstate Mrs. Raphaëlle Robitaille as head of the Environment?).

Mrs. Suzanne Y. Paradis will point out that the president of the Environment Committee, Councillor Zgodzinski, took two years to bring the lake associations together. (It seems that such meetings are now being planned.) The Mayor pleaded that everyone should work to protect the environment.

A resident of one lake said that there are several environmental infractions on the lake, but that nothing is being done to stop them. The mayor answered that notices are being sent out; that programs are being offered for individuals with non-compliant facilities; that more awareness needs to be raised; that hiring has been done, etc.

But Councillor Zgodzinski will say that the lack of follow-up by the municipality has led to the abandonment of the process. Ms. Desjardins will specify that the mayor suspended, at the beginning of his mandate, several infractions for review of their relevance by the municipality's lawyers. None of these offences were subsequently cancelled. She will want to know where these files stand since the election of Mr. Ghali.

Mr. Eric Johnston added that the Ministry of Environment can also be contacted directly.

For the Taxes and Tariffs session, By-law 2020-580 was passed, while the agenda item on contracting Arimage for a geotechnical study was postponed as not all the data was available, according to Director Jason Neil.

It is our understanding that Mr. A. Cliche will have asked if the elimination of penalties for late payment of taxes, known in 2020 with Covid, would be postponed to 2021. The mayor will answer yes. He will also ask him about the survey that some residents will receive with their tax bill...

In closing the meeting, Mr. Ghali will thank Ms. Matteau for her total involvement in the preparation of the budget. (Did he suggest that the pressure exerted on the Executive Director for this work, by the councillors in his sights, would have pushed her to exhaustion)?

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

With all reservations and pending video and minutes; by Carl Chapdelaine.

Groupe citoyen Wentworth-Nord

Creation of a group in Wentworth-Nord that wants to "ensure that our elected officials work for all citizens in accordance with the rules and ethics".

Development vs. environment

While it is all well and good to talk about sustainable development, to make people forget that the increase in habitat necessarily attacks the environment, it is clear that the protection of the latter, which is involved in this concept, is not simple. And to achieve this, planning, as already outlined in the 2017 Wentworth-Nord Urban Plan, is necessary.1

In this municipality, even more so than in the rest of the Pays-d'en-Haut, an increase in the number of residents, mainly vacationers, seems to be the probable avenue for socio-economic development. Ideally and for the greater good of Wentworth-Nord, a proportion of these vacationers will convert to permanent residents. Since more than half of the new residents, according to the last census of Canada, settled in the eastern sector of the municipality, this is where the pressure on the environment, including lakes, road infrastructure and other municipal services, is likely to be greatest; as in Montfort.

The opposition between this development and environmental protection is coupled with at least one other major component: the conflict between welcoming newcomers and protecting the privileges of existing residents. Privilege there is, in fact, when you are a lakeside resident or simply enjoying a peaceful environment to protect and whose enjoyment you do not necessarily want to share.

One thus wonders, when confronted with the development project at Lac à la Croix, what the stakes are. Is it a question, for the promoters, of making the most of the space in this oasis-like setting? Is it also a question of putting a foot on land, or rather in the water, at Lac Saint-François-Xavier? Or to seek only to glimpse a sustainable development, i.e. one that would not harm the environment and that would not give access to this lake as well as to the privilege of living there? For the opponents of Lake Saint-François-Xavier to such a project at the head of "their" lake, is it a question of protecting the environment of the lake or of defending themselves against the appropriation of "their" territory? But it doesn't matter, since an alliance between the various opponents goes without saying.

Ms. Chantal Carrier, then representative of the Ministère des Affaires municipales et des Régions at the Forum national sur les lacs, held in Sainte-Adèle in June 2008, has taken up, in line with the orientations of Abrinord, with its Plan directeur de l’eau (PDE)2, and other organizations, the main facts of the problem and the considerations that should guide the action of stakeholders. Her presentation was entitled: "Protecting our lakes through a municipal planning and management approach". Applied to our region, it is, in concrete terms, the planning and management of cottages areas, to which our development would be attached. We will extract some excerpts from this document.

"I think that (this approach to planning and management) is one of the elements that make it possible, in particular, to protect our lakes. I think that among the actors who are called upon in this field, the municipalities have a determining role."

"We must protect our lakes because we see more and more that they are under attack, that they are invaded, that they have problems. ... We must also protect our lakes because they are a public good. The lakes do not belong to an individual or very rarely, but rather to everyone. Everybody includes the entire community, whether you live on the shore or not, and that includes our elected officials and all the people who want to visit bodies of water, even if they are not on their territory.

"Cottaging has also become the new form of urbanization of cities in Quebec, of many rural municipalities as well. ...; it is (today) done by the lakes; it is done with permanent residences. So, we are in a completely different era than what we lived before, with small cottages that were occupied one or two months a year."

"... we are (also) now in the era of tourist residences, that is to say that cottages, apartments, furnished houses that are rented for a rather important period in the summer are more and more popular. There has been an increase of almost 45% in four years in this type of resort activity. Often, these are people who are in the prime of life, who are still working, who are going to have their residence in town as well as a cottage to retire to. But since they don't occupy it all summer, they rent it out. So, we know that there are municipalities that already have to ask themselves questions about this form of occupation."

"We must also look at the carrying capacity of the lakes."

"There is the accessibility and maintenance of public access. Unfortunately, we have developed in a linear fashion along the shores and bodies of water without maintaining significant public access. Here..., I'm talking about keeping something that allows people in the municipality who may not have the means to build a cottage on the lake to have access to the lake, at least to go swimming."

"It is also necessary to protect sensitive areas. ... Yes it is necessary to develop, but it is necessary to develop while taking into account the environment."

"(MRCs) can also require local municipalities to adopt a bylaw on comprehensive development plans, commonly known as PAEs. In other words, we will say to the municipalities: 'For this sector, you are going to require comprehensive planning and you are going to adopt such criteria to accept a project within this framework.' "

"With a sensitive lake, where you can see, for example, that there are algae or other things, without saying that you are blocking the subdivision forever, you can come in and say that you want to have much wider facades at the land level."

"The most interesting but the least used is what we call park contributions. All municipalities in Quebec, in their subdivision by-laws, have an article or two that says that if you do a cadastre, a subdivision, you must give 10% for park purposes in surface area or in money, according to the convenience of the Council." "(Or) ask for 10 per cent in money, set up a fund and use it to protect the lakeshore..." "Regarding the special measures applicable along lakes and waterways, municipalities can even prohibit construction in this area, particularly via the shoreline."

"When everything is built and implemented, the question of maintenance of public and private roads arises. Public roads are maintained by the municipality; private roads are maintained by the people, either the owner or the residents' association. On the other hand, again with the Municipal Powers Act, if 50% of the roadside residents agree and if the municipality agrees, the municipality can now maintain the road. But you don't have to do it at all."

"In closing, I think that municipalities are really the pivotal body in this planning and management of cottaging."3

Last November, a document commissioned by Sainte-Anne-des-Lacs (SADL) proposed an environmental policy to deal with the urbanization it was facing. Entitled "Campagne ou banlieue?" and signed jointly by the Comité sur la politique environnementale (CPE) and the members of the Comité consultatif en Environnement (CCE), it was the result of two and a half years of work. In other words, it took up the first topic of our article. But the proposals it contained, which favoured "a pause for growth, the time to adopt the tools necessary to preserve SADL's rural character", seemed to divide the Council.

The former provincial Minister of the Environment under Jean Charest, Mr. Thomas Mulcair, member of the CPE, said: "Sainte-Anne-des-Lacs and Wentworth-Nord are the only municipalities in the area that still have the campaign label. The others are becoming suburbs".4 and 5

However, Wentworth-Nord seems to be at a very different stage of development than Sainte-Anne-des-Lacs, and this is probably an opportunity for Wentworth-Nord to identify the way forward.

In Wentworth-Nord, the resort is essentially a summer one, centered on the presence of the lakes. It does not offer the alpine ski centers, the numerous leisure or cultural activities, the tourist offer, the stores, restaurants and various attractions of Saint-Sauveur, Sainte-Adèle, or other towns and villages on the axis of the former railway line of the Petit train du Nord. Water activities therefore, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, hiking and cycling, among others, have a promising future. But these activities require the services of the municipality, without guaranteeing any revenue in return.

The Wentworth-Nord urban plan, a legacy of the passage of Mr. Emmanuel Farmer, his team, the municipal council no doubt, and the consultations that accompanied it, has provided a good backdrop for identifying this path forward. We must find there again the dilemma we have mentioned, between development and environmental protection or the privileges to which everyone believes they are entitled, but which this growth threatens.

By initiating watershed planning in Wentworth-Nord, this plan is innovative.6 The approach aims, among other things, to respect the logic of the ecosystem that the watershed represents, rather than simply trying to frame habitat growth. "The goal is to better control the health of the lakes in relation to the human nuisances created by lakeside dwellings and activities". "The municipality therefore began by inventorying and classifying the major lakes on its territory according to the state of health of each one. Following this categorization, a maximum density was established in order to protect sensitive lakes." (See maps no. 3, 4 and 5 of Plan1 or our attached map).

Analyses, plans and other studies often require considerable effort and resources; they are valuable tools in the hands of those who are willing to endorse and use them. With more popularization, they could also provide the necessary information that is too often lacking to ordinary citizens who are called upon to vote for one or another of the decisions affecting their living environment.

However, serious constraints have crept into the development planning formula, particularly with regard to the preservation of the lakes' environment; this is, of course, the danger of invasive alien aquatic plants, temporarily overshadowed today by the spread of Covid-19.

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

1. https://wentworth-nord.ca/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Plan-durbanisme-octobre-2017-495.pdf
2. https://www.abrinord.qc.ca/pde/
3. https://crelaurentides.org/images/images_site/evenements/eau_lacs/2008/forum_national/actes2008.pdf , p. 146.
4. https://www.journalacces.ca/remue-meninges-pour-une-politique-environnementale-a-sainte-anne-des-lacs/
5. https://www.sadl.qc.ca/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Politique-environnementale-projet.pdf
6. http://www.releveenurbanisme.ca/2018/04/10/la-planification-par-bassins-versants-de-wentworth-nord/

By Carl Chapdelaine

Wentworth-Nord's Council Meeting of January 15, 2021 (Notes)

Agenda    Video

Mayor François Ghali chaired the session which was held by videoconference. All six councillors, as well as about twenty citizens, participated. Among the latter was the presence of representatives from Lake St. Victor, who probably came to make sure that they were not going to be quietly passed the adoption, by resolution, of draft by-law 2017-498-7 modifying the zoning of certain lots at Lac à la Croix. (A consultation session on the project, announced on December 18, was held on January 6 via videoconference. See our article on "Wentworth-Nord-les-Lacs").

The session was to be held without the unsightly altercations between the Mayor and the "four" councillors that would occur in 2020; would this be the highlight of the New Year? However, Mr. Ghali could not prevent the less controversial debates between Councillor Suzanne Y. Paradis and these same councillors.

Mayor's Statement

The mayor highlights the recent declaration, by the Union des municipalités du Québec, on "respect in democracy", following the multiplication of aggressive statements and intimidation on social networks; among others against municipal councillors. This declaration is coupled with a campaign by the latter to fight against this trend. "This campaign must also be yours," adds the mayor. Taking up the words of the president of the UMQ, who invited municipal councils to support this initiative, he added that democratic debate must be conducted with respect for others, particularly those who are committed to representing citizens.

Committee Chairs' Reports

For the Internet committee, Mr. Eric Johnston indicated that, following the government's statements, things seemed to be moving on the electronic communications side. He hoped to have some good news to announce at the next meeting.

Mrs. Paradis again asked Councillor Cliche for an update on the presentation of the Highways Committee report. Mr. Cliche reminded that he had sent it by e-mail and did not know if it had been published on the municipality's website.

Administration

Mrs. Paradis once more attacked Councillor Cliche regarding the legal bills presented to the municipality before their authorization on December 14th. She presented a resolution so that they would not be charged to the municipality. She also claimed that, in the absence of a council resolution, some of these expenses would have had to go through the Director General. Under the control of the "four" councillors, she claimed that unnecessary legal bills would have wasted taxpayers' money. Mr. Cliche objected that the mayor had presented, without council's knowledge, an invoice from the municipality's law firm for $15,000 to, among other things, serve a formal notice to the Commission municipale du Québec, following his summons by the latter. He will assert that this formal demand constituted an obstacle to the investigation of a competent authority. (So it's not just roads that siphon off the municipal treasury...) The "four" voted against; the mayor abstained. The resolution was defeated; and the bills will be paid.

Then, Councillor Suzanne Paradis questioned (item 5.5) a citizen's request for reimbursement of more than $1,000 for the installation of a pump in Lake Saint-François-Xavier, for his water supply. The contract with the municipality specified instead that it was for the drilling of an artesian well. Mr. Paradis and Mr. Zgodzinski replied by indicating that there had been an error on the part of the municipality; that Mrs. Paradis had not mentioned anything about her reservations at the preparatory meeting and that this should have been presented long before. Councillor Cliche agreed with Ms. Paradis' argument and the Mayor proposed to postpone the resolution, which became a successful proposal.

In 5.9, the resolution allowed the Director General to choose between a sanitized air conditioning and air purification system, including a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter, for Laurel Cultural and Community Centre; Covid obliges. This was as long as the cost of the latter did not exceed ($28,000?), specified Councillor Johnston. If not, she should opt for a simple UV treatment. Was it the same in 5.6, for the Montfort pavilion? (To be verified.)

Recreation, culture and community life

After a list of whereas clauses on its "tourist parking lots", the resolution presented by Councillor Zgodzinski led the municipality to ask the MRC to close two of the four parking lots in Montfort, to protect its residents from the risk of seeing the pandemic spread by the many visitors. The mayor, although claiming some exaggeration in the preamble, said he agreed with the resolution. It was adopted.

New business

Councillor Paradis came back against authorized expenses, this time for snow removal contracts. Mr. Johnston opposed various arguments to her, but we could not understand the thread of the debates.

Question period

A citizen has a question about the arrival of fibre optics by Cogeco. The mayor replied that Bell and Cogeco are doing work and that good news is on the horizon for Cogeco. Mr. Johnston still talks about a delay to be expected.

Ms. Danielle Desjardins asked to respond to Councillor Suzanne Paradis' comments about her, made during the question period of the December 18 session, which had nailed her to the pillory. They were accusations of attacks against the Director General for the delay in the preparation of the financial statements. She went through Mrs. Paradis' insinuations and accusations point by point, explaining what must have happened in this regard. Among other things, she points out that the municipality's organizational chart allows her to identify serious shortcomings in the administration, which may explain part of the problem. She stated that she never blamed Ms. Matteau. Ms. Paradis will settle for a smile.

The mayor will move on to the next question, without commenting on Ms. Desjardins' assertions. It is precisely a request about the date of the budget presentation.

Mrs. Desjardins takes the floor again on the resolution adopted on the requested closure of two parking lots in Montfort. The mayor explained that the objective is to reduce traffic in the village. Mr. Zgodzinski noted that he did not exaggerate when describing the situation.

Note: This is subject to change; pending the Zoom version and the minutes.

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

By Carl Chapdelaine

Wentworth-Nord-les-Lacs

Presentation

There are 105 lakes in Wentworth-Nord. The owners around these lakes are mostly cottagers, who are the main economic contributors to the municipality's economy.1

Such a number of lakes over such a large territory, for a number of residents slightly less than 5,000, implies a disproportionate environmental responsibility for the municipality. As the development of the territory should be mainly centered on a growing number of vacationers, always in search of nature and especially lakes, the pressure on the latter will only increase. But does the municipality have the intention and the means to govern the establishment of an ever denser habitat around its lakes?

It looks like urban planning rules and environmental standards are seen by the authorities as guaranteeing the necessary protection of this lake environment. However, biologists, limnologists and others have tried to develop models that tend to define the carrying capacity of a body of water by adding variables that these rules and standards do not necessarily take into account.2,3,4

Biologists believe that phosphorus input, natural or anthropogenic, from a lake's watershed is the main cause of lake eutrophication, and wastewater discharge standards address this problem. For others, the use of municipal infrastructure (e.g., access roads, riprap ditches, sedimentation ponds), potential nuisances to the neighbourhood (e.g., noise, short-term rentals, influx of water sports enthusiasts), to wildlife (e.g., fish), or other factors also define, in a way, a lake's carrying capacity. Some municipalities, such as the town of Estérel, have broadened their approach to this evaluation, although it is still essentially based on phosphorus input.5 In Saint-Ubalde, the Association des résidents du lac Émeraude has taken an interest in defining the lake's carrying capacity for motorized watercraft.6

Lac à la Croix Resolution7

As was the case for Lac Pelletier, one can, for example, wonder about the subdivision projects that are becoming clearer for Lac à la Croix. This apparently beautiful little body of water, at the head of Lake Saint-François-Xavier and in a still wild environment, is in fact so shallow that one could not even consider allowing the slightest motorized boat traffic on it. Pejoratively referred to by long-time residents of the area, it has apparently suffered from log driving, as has Lake Saint-François-Xavier. Its current water level, as in Lake Thurston, would only be the result of beaver work. Without their contribution, it will probably require the construction of dikes or dams to maintain it as it is. Armies of deer flies swarm here in season; will we have to find a way to exterminate them so that newcomers will not have to regret their choice? In fact, with its opening to construction, the clearing of the surrounding forest will radically change the Lake's environment and eliminate all wilderness. As a precaution for the Lake itself and for the Lake of which it is tributary, should we not have zoned its environment as green space; or classify it in a more restrictive sub-category of living space?

Lac à la Croix was included in District 5, as it was part of the Lake St. Francois-Xavier watershed and the watershed line between the Red River basin and the Rivière du Nord basin at its head. Socio-economically, however, the lake is more closely linked to District 6, on the other side of the line, as it is part of the "Lac St-Victor Estates". Its exploitation is dictated by Phase 5 of the development of these estates.8 The clearing of its shores is well under way. Road access is only possible via the private Berges-du-Nord road that borders the north side of Lake Saint-Victor. On the other hand, when this road and the one that runs along Lac à la Croix to the head of Lac Saint-François-Xavier become public, shouldn't we expect that they will open up the residents who live there?9 *

The resolution requesting a zoning amendment for an area surrounding Lac à la Croix was presented at the regular council meeting of Wentworth-Nord on December 18th by Councillor Eric Johnston. However, it had been postponed to a future meeting to allow a consultation with the residents concerned by the Planning and Environment Services, under the direction of Mr. Benoit Cadieux. Among other things, it was to authorize the modification of the size of the lots. The developer will explain how he sees the construction of family residences on the one hand, and, on the other hand, a type of property with large adjoining common lots. It is unclear whether we are talking about a few dozen houses or more; and whether long-term rentals will be eligible.

Announced on December 18, this consultation took place on January 6; unfortunately, it was not on our agenda. About ten citizens from Lake Notre-Dame, and perhaps as many from Lake St. Victor participated, including Councillor Eric Johnston and another member of the Planning Committee. Few or no Lake St. Francois-Xavier residents would have been seen there.

Owners of luxury residences at Lake St. Victor, who were promised an environment suitable for their investment, would be concerned about what the developer's announced projects would mean to their neighbourhood. Were there to be build lower-value homes that would diminish the value of their own? As for those on Lake Notre-Dame, it was the forced passage of trucks on Notre-Dame Nord Road, known with other phases of the development of the Estates, that was most worrisome. But the director was also asked if the environmental impact of the projects that would result from these authorizations had been properly analyzed. It was also put forward that a referendum be held prior to the adoption of such a resolution.

Conclusion

In order to be better able to evaluate development projects that target one or the other of its lakes, shouldn't the municipality, via the MRC des Pays-d'en-Haut and institutions such as the Conseil régional de l'environnement des Laurentides (CRE), Abrinord, the Interuniversity research group in limnology and aquatic environments (GRIL), or the Ministry of l’Environnement et la Lutte contre les changements climatiques, seek to obtain a protocol or guide that integrates the various calculations of the carrying capacity of a lake, or recommendations, adding them to the urban planning rules and environmental standards in effect?

It is not within our competence to evaluate the relevance of developing habitat around a particular lake or to judge the intentions of its promoters; but we would be reassured to see a competent authority pronounce on the environmental impact of any similar project to allow an informed choice on the part of our municipal officials. The sad environmental disasters that have occurred, until recently, in Lake Saint-François-Xavier, and that continue to affect its health, do they not justify our distrust?

* The maintenance and municipalization of private roads, or the prohibition of building new ones, seems to have been the subject of discussions and resolutions in many municipal administrations: Chertsey, Saguenay, Orford, Wentworth-Nord, etc... Between theory and practice, or feasibility, there is however a whole world here and a division of responsibilities that is difficult to determine.

Note: Thank you to Ms. Danielle Desjardins for sharing her notes on this consultation.

  1. Plan d'urbanisme de Wentworth-Nord
  2. The carrying capacity of a lake
  3. Ville d'Estérel
  4. Capacité portante du lac Émeraude
  5. Mémoire de maîtrise de Mélissa Laniel
  6. La modélisation de la capacité de support des lacs au Québec
  7. Projet de règlement 2017-498-7
  8. https://www.lacstvictor.com/terrains-disponibles/
  9. The Lake à la Croix road

By Carl Chapdelaine

District Committee? 

November 7, 2021 will, with few exceptions, be Election Day for all municipalities in Quebec. By dropping off your vote in the ballot box or by handing it in the mail, you will sign, in the Pays-d'en-Haut, a four-year contract with a prefect, a mayor and a councillor. Will you wait until you arrive on that date to find out if your choice is well-founded? If there is a choice... Go back to the last election; did you make the right choice to wear your colors? Did your elected officials, for all their good will, show themselves to be the faithful representatives of all voters or were they more inclined to favour those who brought them to Council?

Shouldn't it also be clear what you expect them to do after November 7 before you sign the contract? More importantly, what can they deliver on what they promised you? You should therefore try to get to know better those to whom you are going to entrust the reins of administration, and their agenda. Get to know them as soon as possible. Unless that, for you, their past is a guarantee of their future.

How about a game changer? Rather than blindly deferring to our future elected officials for a four-year term, wouldn't we be better off demanding some involvement in their administration of our affairs through the formation of district committees or councils* dedicated to this task?1 Participatory democracy is a relatively new value in our country, even though it was practiced by the Greeks and Romans in ancient times. However, we should not wait until elected officials are already in control of the process before demanding it, because they might see it as a way to limit their power and alter their vision of the future of the municipality rather than as a means of gaining valuable cooperation.

Ideally, one can imagine that, in such committees, "the participants, although having different, even opposing positions, are willing to listen to each other's arguments in order to reach an agreement taken with reason and accuracy, i.e. with full knowledge of the facts. ... The realization of this deliberative process is achieved through the quality of the discussion, guaranteed by institutional arrangements set up in the spirit of greater participation by all".2

Perhaps we should not be thinking here of creating any kind of independent sector or ad-hoc committee, bringing together a group of residents dedicated to the defence of a particular cause. Indeed, the formula, even if it has become an institution in Quebec City, as with the Citizens' Committee of Old Quebec, still seems too avant-garde for the conception of the administration that we find here. Moreover, it can too easily lead to the contestation of the legitimate power of elected officials.

There are perhaps more appropriate models. They offer instead collaboration with the administration; when they are not derived from it. They are committees or councils that are more or less integrated into the municipal structure. They are subject to rules enacted by higher authorities. As they can be institutionalized, they take advantage of the means made available to them by the municipality. Elected officials may be part of these committees, as is the case with the municipal advisory committees that we are familiar with. In order to have an "informed" discussion, we would expect them to be able to call on the management of the various municipal departments if necessary.

Citizens' committees or councils, as a true level in the municipal structure in Quebec, are rare, but they do exist in the form of neighbourhood councils. To our knowledge, they only have the power to consult. But, even when very limited, this power must bring a greater involvement of the citizen in municipal life. While imposing a certain constraint, at least morally, on elected officials in their decision-making, it can enable them to better guide decisions and facilitate their acceptance. And since Quebec has committed, through Bill 122 adopted on June 15, 2017, to giving more responsibility to the municipal level and, among other things, to "strengthen citizen participation in local decision-making,"3 it is to be hoped that the formula will have a future.

"In order to allow the population to express its views outside of election periods, some cities have innovated by creating neighborhood councils.4 In the case of the City of La Tuque (population 11,000 in a territory of 28,295 km2, larger than the Laurentian administrative region and divided into seven sectors), the city council must form a neighbourhood council upon request by a minimum number of residents. It is then composed of at least one elected member of City Council and representatives of the neighbourhood.5 The latter are appointed by City Council from among its residents.4

While in Quebec the members of neighbourhood councils are appointed by the city council, in France the members of citizens' councils can be chosen on a purely voluntary basis, depending on the number of seats available, as in Lorient6, by vote or by drawing lots after a call for candidates, and even before a bailiff, as in Saint-Martin (French West Indies).7 Such a draw ensures the independence of this body.

Even if one speaks of co-construction, the citizens' councils of France seem to us, however, as in Quebec, to have, at the limit, only an advisory power.8 There is therefore no question of parallel power. The only breakthrough leading to direct citizen participation in the Quebec municipal administration would be the referendum approval required by the Act respecting land use planning and development (LAU), of which we have seen a few examples in Wentworth-Nord. Since 2018, municipalities may replace this provision, which is seen as negative, by developing a "public participation policy ... in accordance with the requirements of the Regulation respecting public participation in land use planning and development ".9 The latter is intended to be more constructive; in other words, to be located upstream of the decision-making process, rather than downstream.

In a large city, you can't easily get a significant proportion of the population to participate on such committees. However, it seems more likely in a small municipality like Wentworth-Nord. Here, in an area where a large proportion of residents, both permanent and temporary, are clustered around the many lakes in the area, lake associations have been able to act as the voice of their community. In villages such as Montfort, Laurel or Saint-Michel, however, these associations cannot adequately represent all their residents; hence the interest, perhaps, in including them in district committees.

Couldn't the Orphan Lands Advisory Committee have become one? Anything to counter the cacophony of e-mail chains or bogus surveys for information and consultation, and the inconsistency of some of the decisions made in recent years? Ms. Diane Théorêt, candidate for mayor of Wentworth-Nord in 2017, promised to introduce "participatory democracy"; while the candidate for the position of councillor for District 6, Ms. Danielle Desjardins, specified the establishment of a "District Council with a budget and including sectors 5 and 6 of Montfort "10 + 11.

Such committees therefore enjoy a legislative framework already developed in the charters of certain cities. This framework specifies certain modalities of their constitution and functioning. It thus ensures that they are representative of their environment, etc. In our opinion, it would be important, contrary to the rule in the current municipal committees, that each citizen be able to participate in one way or another as he or she wishes.

In conclusion, if you aspire to be more systematically informed, consulted, and even involved, even after the delegation of power that you will have granted to your elected officials on the day of the vote, should you not first require them to plan to allow the establishment of district committees or other measures for citizen participation in local decision-making the day after they take office?

*One could argue at length about their distinction. Let's say that the council has greater authority and stature; that it is often the organ of an administration. The committee may be, among other things, a simple delegation of the council; or it may represent a group of individuals dedicated to a cause; etc. https://pediaa.com/what-is-the-difference-between-council-and-committee/#Council

By Carl Chapdelaine

  1. https://www.equiterre.org/fiche/comment-creer-un-comite-citoyens-ou-de-quartier
  2. https://books.openedition.org/pum/19206?lang=en
  3. https://www.mamh.gouv.qc.ca/organisation-municipale/democratie-municipale/participation-des-citoyens/
  4. https://www.mamh.gouv.qc.ca/amenagement-du-territoire/guide-la-prise-de-decision-en-urbanisme/acteurs-et-processus/conseil-de-quartier-et-comite-local/
  5. https://www.ville.latuque.qc.ca/fr/vivre-a-la-tuque/membres-du-conseil
  6. https://www.lorient.bzh/fileadmin/lorient.bzh/territoires/Quartiers/Conseils_citoyens/charte_des_conseils_citoyens.pdf
  7. http://www.lepelican-journal.com/saint-martin/societe/Nomination-des-membres-des-conseils-de-quartier-16206.html
  8. https://www.villesetterritoireslr.fr/site2015/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Doc-Charte-type.pdf
  9. https://www.mamh.gouv.qc.ca/amenagement-du-territoire/guide-la-prise-de-decision-en-urbanisme/acteurs-et-processus/reglement-sur-la-participation-publique-en-matiere-damenagement-et-durbanisme/
  10. Mrs. Diane Théorêt. candidate for mayor
  11. Mrs. Danielle Desjardins, candidate for district 6
  12. Municipal democracy
  13. Participatory democracy