• James Armstrong

Regional watershed organizations receive $5.1 million


PHOTO BY JAMES ARMSTRONG

Members of watershed organizations from across the region gathered in Rigaud to hear the Québec government’s financial support announcement.

(Left to right) President of the Table de l’eau MRC-VS, Yvon Bériault, Rigaud Mayor Hans Gruenwald Jr., Soulanges MNA Lucie Charlebois, COBAVER-VS President Louis-Marie Leduc, Vaudreuil MNA Marie-Claude Nichols, COBAVER-VS Director General Julie Cyr, SCABRIC Vice-President Richard Motard, and Jean-Pierre McKenzie, Political Attaché for Deputy of Huntingdon Stéphane Billette.

The seven organizations responsible for integrated watershed management in the Montérégie region have received an injection of $5.1 million from the provincial government. The Minister Responsible for Montérégie and Deputy for Soulanges, Lucie Charlebois accompanied by the Minister for Vaudreuil, Marie-Claude Nichols made the announcement at a press conference held in Rigaud on Monday, May 7.

Sustainable development and the environment

“These additional funds will allow these organizations to update and coordinate their master plans for the watershed and monitor its implementation,” said Charlebois, noting economic development and the environment are intertwined. “Our region intends to participate in the sustainable development of Quebec,” she said. “With this budget support, I am confident we will be able to meet the environmental challenges facing us.”

“The Conseil de bassin versant de la région de Vaudreuil-Soulanges (COBAVER-VS) plays an essential role in our region,” said Nichols noting that she and Charlebois frequently work together on shared dossiers. “This is a region rich in water resources,” said Nichols adding that the goal is to protect the health of waterways in the region.

COBAVER-VS

“We have done a lot of work in concert with the Municipalité régionale de comté Vaudreuil-Soulanges (MRC-VS), with the agricultural sector and many others,” said COBAVER-VS President Louis-Marie Leduc, pointing out that many of the waterways in the region originate in Ontario. “It is important to continue working with Ontario to improve the quality of the water here,” he said.

Support for mandate

For COBAVER-VS, the announcement means they will receive an additional $738,000 over the next three years. “This money will allow us to hire two new employees with the necessary credentials,” said Julie Cyr Director General for COBAVER-VS. “We do a lot of work in the agricultural sector,” she said adding that 70 per cent of the Vaudreuil-Soulanges region is zoned agricultural. Potable water resources in the region are also part of the organization’s mandate.

“We are also considering hiring a hydrogeologist to work on the protection of potable water resources,” said Cyr.

According to their mission statement, COBAVER-VS acts as a regional roundtable bringing together municipalities, different levels of government, citizens, farmers, industries, communities and environmental groups to ensure sustainability of water resources.

The remaining $4,362,000 will be divided amongst six other similar water agencies in the Montérégie.

Further afield

For Richard Motard, Vice President of the Société de conservation et d’aménagement du Bassin de la rivière Châteauguay (SCABRIC) the additional financial resources are appreciated.

“We used to be responsible for the Châteauguay River basin,” said Motard describing how, in the past seven years, reorganization expanded the geographic area of their mandate. “Now we cover an area from Lake Saint François, to the United States border, the Ontario border and La Prairie,” said Motard noting that SCABRIC now has committees responsible for the many rivers in that region.

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