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Selflessness applauded in Hudson

By Nick Zacharias


Hudson Mayor Jamie Nicholls took a moment at this month’s council meeting to commend local resident Melanie Brault Goettisheim (pictured) for her generous act of donating a kidney to a complete stranger; she and the recipient are both recovering nicely.

The first Hudson council meeting of 2021 opened with some commendations for standout members of the community, and saw challenges against a planned new development, this time the Willowbrook project in the wooded area south of Main Road between Léger and Parsons.

Deserved recognition

Mayor Jamie Nicholls opened the meeting by honouring several firefighters who have dedicated themselves to keeping the town safe for many years, including Lieutenant Antoine Hétu, who received a Governor General’s medal for his 20 years of service to the community.

Also recognized for remarkable selflessness was Hudson resident Melanie Brault Goettisheim, who just before Christmas completed the final step after months of preparation to donate a kidney to Carolyn Wark-Black, a complete stranger who’d reached out for help online. Said Nicholls, “I’m simply moved by this selfless act, and believe that it represents the highest potential and goes to the heart of what it means to live a good human life.”

Goettisheim, who because of COVID-19 restrictions met her recipient for the first time in pre-operative prep, is modest about her life-changing gift but remarked on the challenge, especially for the recipient, of not knowing if the donation will take place or get sidelined by an incompatible test result or a government decision. “Even with a date, you don’t know if it’s going to happen until it does,” she said. She also said she hopes to raise awareness for the importance of organ donation.

Willowbrook development contested on multiple fronts

Helen Kurgansky, councillor for District 1 (Como) where a development of 114 lots is being planned across from the Auberge Willow Inn, put forward a motion to amend the night’s agenda. “In view of some mise en demeure letters that had been presented to the Ministry of the Environment and the town … I’d like to request that all discussion concerning the Willowbrook development project be deferred to a later date.” Her request was met with silence from the rest of council and the motion was dropped.

An email from resident Briony Lalor for question period expanded on the letter, saying it put the council on notice that “…any agreement entered into by the town in respect to the Willowbrook project should be revoked immediately based on our position that the authorizations for this project given by the Ministry of the Environment … are legally invalid.”

Nicholls responded that the legal action concerned the ministry and not the town, and that the town “…will continue to fulfill its legal obligations.” Both items concerning the development were approved by a majority of council.

Resident and archeologist Adrian Burke spoke in the second question period to address another concern with the development, namely that it is on the critically important historical site of the Ottawa Glassworks – the oldest glassworks in Quebec and the second oldest in all of Canada. Mayor Nicholls responded that phase one of the development at least (comprising 29 houses) would not impact the glassworks site.