• James Armstrong

Rigaud initiates economic development partnerships with African municipalities

Partners for municipal innovation

Rigaud began the process of participating in the Partners for Municipal Innovation –Local Economic Development (PMI-LED) by authorizing the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding during the town council meeting on Monday, March 12. The agreement is with the region of Sikasso in the African country of Mali. The PMI-LED is an international program supporting sustainable economic development sponsored by the Canadian Federation of Municipalities with funding from Global Affairs Canada.

“It’s our turn to try to promote our industries in other countries,” said Mayor Hans Gruenwald Jr. “We might not benefit but we are at the table. If we don’t buy a lottery ticket, we are for sure not going to win,” he said adding that Rigaud is making every effort to benefit from the developing relationship.

Municipal garage project

The municipal garage project moved a step forward as town council authorized retaining the services of J. Dagenais Architecte et Associés Inc. to adjust the architectural details in the existing call for offer documents for the project at a cost of $17,340. According to the resolution, the changes would reduce the construction of the building to one phase.

“We have received offers and the numbers were too high,” Gruenwald commented after the meeting. He was unable to predict a start date for construction. The municipal garage is the final segment of a three–part building plan that included the construction of the now completed fire station and town hall.

Fir trees in the river

Although not on the agenda, resident Gerald Gauthier raised the issue of fir trees used as snowmobile trail markers on the Rigaud River during the winter. He asked council who was responsible for removing them as the ice on the river has started to melt and the removal process could be dangerous.

“Last year, I hit one of them with my boat,” he said of the problems that arise when leaving the trees to sink in the spring melt. It wasn’t clear who was responsible for placing the trees on the river.

“We will be contacting who we think put the trees there,” said the mayor in an interview Tuesday, March 13, though emphasizing the removal would not be done if it meant risking someone’s safety.

Raising a road to new heights

The project of increasing the height of a section of Chemin Bas-de-la-Rivière was raised during the second question period. It’s the main road providing access to a residential sector seriously affected by the 2017 spring flooding events.

“We had the (engineering) firm WSP carry out a study of the environmental impact of raising the road. According to them, there is no impact,” said Gruenwald.

The study was done in May 2017 and submitted to the appropriate Quebec ministries according to the mayor.

“We asked that it be fast-tracked so we could get the work done before the next flood season,” he said. “We were told there was no fast-tack and we had to get in line like everyone else.”

The Rigaud River, the Ottawa River and Baie Quesnel surround the residential sector serviced by the road. The road in question runs parallel to the east bank of the Rigaud River from the centre of town to chemin du Grand-Quai and Chemin de la Pointe-au-Sable.

“If we have to declare a state of emergency because of flooding, then, I assure you, that half an hour after that, the trucks will be there to do the work,” said Gruenwald noting the town would have the power to carry out the project under a state of emergency. “We have identified the cost of the project at somewhere around $200,000,” he added.

New well

Council approved a contract for the drilling of a new well in the Agathe well sector for the sum of $111,107 to Groupe Puitbec Inc. Questions were raised as to what was included in the price. “As far as I know, that price is for drilling the well,” said Gruenwald. He clarified that because the new well is in close proximity to existing wells, the town would carry out the connections to the system.

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