April 18 Municipal Council meeting summary of citizen question period
Twelve speakers addressed elected officials during the April 18th municipal council meeting in Aylmer at the Robert-Middlemiss Pavillon.
Victor and Aurélie, two children who addressed council last year, followed up asking how the council has done in the past year to fight climate change. Gatineau Mayor France Bélisle informed the young speakers of a list of decisions the city had made, including the development of a biodiversity chart, and the council voting in favour of spending $28 million dollars for an urban forestry plan that will permit the planting of 10,000 trees per year until 2030.
A speaker congratulated the council on their recent decision to rename two parks – Vieux-Verger to Alain-Labonté Park and Frank-Robinson to Micheline-Lemieux Park – and asked for more decisions like this to highlight those who have made a difference in Aylmer. He finished by calling for the regulation on urban sprawl and city growth to avoid “natural and cultural clearcutting” in favour of cement, stating that the growth and construction should not just be seen as a tax revenue for the city.
The council was asked to address concerns about infrastructure and services in Aylmer. Michel Raymond pointed out the importance of an ecocentre in Aylmer, as the amount of garbage being thrown into forests or the side of the road continues. Raymond called for the Aylmer councillors to put pressure on getting the ecocentre project moving forward. Gilles Chagnon, Lucerne councillor, who has been championing the project, responded, “There is a committee in place who should put forward a proposal this summer. We are hoping it is favourable and we can move forward with the project. In the meantime, there are the three mobile ecocentres available for citizens.”
Ian Barrett spoke about the Lucy-Faris Library, asking why there was a significant delay between the demolition and the construction set to begin this summer, what the city learned from the wall collapsing during the demolition, and what the city will do if there are unexpected costs during the construction due to inflation. The mayor said that the process of calls for tenders for the construction was one reason for the delay, and that she would look into it further. She also noted the possibility of extra costs due to inflation or work shortage.
Another resident voiced dissatisfaction with the proposal to reduce the frequency of green waste collection, currently being studied by the council. The Wychwood resident highlighted that this collection change would not meet the needs of many residents, especially those like herself who live in a more wooded neighbourhood. Daniel Champagne, Versant Councillor, said that every member of the council shares these concerns, which is why they asked for further analysis. Amendments to the original proposal should be discussed in the upcoming weeks.
Club Aydelu President Guy Rochon, noting that many other community organizations are not required to pay taxes, asked if the city would support Aydelu with a tax exemption or another alternative for the organization to survive and continue their work in the community. The Mayor and Councillor Boivin and Chagnon committed to meeting with Rochon to evaluate the file and see what support can be offered.
The council was once again called to ban the use of Bti, a substance used to manage mosquitoes, due to its negative effects. The council later voted in favour of the ban; Bti will not be spread this year.
A question was raised about the lack of a parking lot at the new Donalda-Charron library. Isabelle N. Miron, councillor for l'Orée-du-Parc, highlighted that, despite the inconvenience, the library is one of the most used by citizens in Gatineau and that it is important to avoid large sections of cement as they cause heat islands. Béttyna Bélizaire, Plateau councillor, said that they are working on alternatives to make the library more accessible.
A Plateau resident voiced concern about the lack of green space in the Plateau. Bélizaire agreed, stating that she is working to create regulations about green spaces and that the urban forestry plan may also aid in this area. Another plateau resident asked the council to build a city with families in mind, as her neighbourhood waited for a park, a local store, a library, and a school.
Photo Caption: Victor and Aurélie, two siblings that asked the council about how they were protecting the environment during the Municipal council meeting on April 18th
Photo Credit: Greg Newing