Wentworth-Nord

Séance du conseil de Wentworth-Nord, du 17 septembre 20121 (compte-rendu)

Tous les membres du conseil sont en visioconférence, ainsi que Mme Véronique Cronier, directrice générale adjointe et secrétaire-trésorière par intérim. Le maire préside la séance. Elle deux heures. Le compteur Zoom affiche une cinquantaine de participants.

Suite à des problèmes techniques avec le micro du maire, Mme Cronier l’invite à venir dans son bureau. M. Ghali entamera le suivi de l’ordre du jour, alors que le conseiller Eric Johnston lancera qu’il a un petit problème avec l’enregistrement. Le maire le rabrouera pour lui avoir coupé la parole : «Ce n’est pas important que la séance soit enregistrée…» M. Johnston : «Pour moi, ce l’est.». Le maire : «Ce n’est pas un motif pour me couper la parole en plein milieu, alors que je suis en train de commencer l’assemblée.»

Déclaration des membres du conseil

- Le maire
o Il félicite les constables et vante la mise sur pied de ce service.
o Il annonce la venue du vaccibus à l’église de Saint-Michel, le jeudi 23 septembre, et invite ceux qui ne le seraient pas encore à se faire vacciner contre la Covid.

- M. David Zgodzinski
o Il remercie M. Vendette d’avoir lancé le programme des constables et initié leur formation. La population a bien accueilli leur présence, mais il y a eu quelques problèmes, dont le fait de payer déjà 450 000$/an pour la SQ. Il est pourtant difficile d’amener la SQ ici pour voir au respect de notre réglementation. Il y a aussi eu quelques problèmes avec l’émission de contraventions pour stationnement illégal ou la façon d’appliquer les règles. Cela n’est pas anormal; mais nécessite quelques ajustements.
o Il faudrait que le prochain conseil vote pour un budget adéquat à ce chapitre. Nous avons, entre autres, besoin d’un constable sept jours sur sept à la plage de Montfort.

Administration

Le dépôt des états comparatifs amènera un litige sur le tapis. Le maire y voit un surplus de 297 063$ au 31 déc. 2019; de 73 660$ au 31 déc. 2020; et de 155 932$ projeté pour le 31 déc. 2021. La dette à long terme était de 3,99 M$ (i.e. 4M$) pour 2019, en plus des emprunts «parapluie» de 1,2 M$, dont une partie seulement a été utilisée, et deux autres emprunts.

Le conseiller Cliche demande si l’on pourra avoir une séance de travail avant la fin du présent mandat pour voir s’il y a lieu de réaffecter certains budgets. Le maire répondra que oui, si c’est possible.

M. Johnston dit être un peu confus devant la lecture du maire des états financiers, car il a plutôt devant lui, à la page 8 des États financiers vérifiés, le chiffre de 366 278 $ en déficit pour 2019. Le maire se dit en désaccord avec lui sur sa lecture et voit son chiffre très clairement dans le même rapport. M. Johnston ne demande pas un débat sur la question à ce moment-ci.

(À la période de question, Mme Danielle Desjardins soulèvera à nouveau ce point. Le maire rappellera alors les explications que le comptable avait longuement données. En fait, le maire faisait allusion aux propos du vérificateur externe, M. Michel St-Arnaud, le 21 mai 2021, à l’effet que la présence ici de surplus non affectés compensait largement pour ce déficit. Il prévenait tout de même qu’il ne faudrait pas poursuivre dans cette veine.) Séance du conseil du 21 mai

À suivre
Sous toutes réserves, par Carl Chapdelaine

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

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

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


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

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

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

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?

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

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