Monday, December 19, 2011

Message for the holiday season

As the holiday season approaches, I wanted to send you a few words and to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year for 2012.  Happiness, health, peace, and success to you and all members of your family.

I take this opportunity to inform you of the new developments which have taken place since my last letter. I can confirm that the members of the Executive Committee were very busy in September and October as they met the mayors of Bouchette and Ste-Thérèse to discuss, among other matters, the drainage of ditches and creeks which flow into Grand Lac Rond, the septic tanks around the lake, and the stabilization of the water levels. A meeting was also held with our local MNA, Stéphanie Vallée, to ask for her support in several of our initiatives, notably the stabilization of the water levels, the bylaw RCI 2009-206 and also to verify the possibility of benefitting from a grant. We also met the warden of the MRC Vallée-de-la-Gatineau, Pierre Rondeau, concerning the interim control by-law 2009-206. A lot of correspondence also resulted from these meetings.

Your Executive Committee met three times since the beginning of September to coordinate the transfer of powers, to confirm the nomination of members of the Executive, and to change the postal address of the Association. In the interest of transparency and honesty, we have adopted a resolution which states that in future, two signatures will appear on cheques issued by the Association – that of the president and the treasurer – whereas in the past the president was authorized to sign cheques by himself. This measure is to demonstrate our willingness to gain the complete confidence of our members.

We have proceded to share responsibilities within the Executive as follows – R. LeSage : communications with senior officials and the media, RCI 2009-206; J. Lépine : treasurer; M. Lukyniuk : water levels, French-English translations; R. Ducharme : water quality;      B. Paul : septic tanks.                                                                                                        
It was decided that the annual meeting will take place on the second Sunday of July each year.
Other measures were taken to control spending :
1-   It was decided that the reimbursement for travelling for members of the Executive (at the rate accepted at the annual meeting on August 28, 2011 at 40 ¢/km) will be reimbursed only for travel outside our region. Travel to Maniwaki, Gracefield or in other neighbouring municipalities will not be reimbursed.
2-   We also wish to limit the costs of printing:   documents will be sent to you only in your language of choice and not in both languages as in the past. This is why it is important to indicate your preferred language of communication in your membership registration form.
3-   We have also abolished the membership card which, in our opinion, did not have any use since it was issued before membership fees were paid. Again, this is to save money in printing costs.
4-   In attempting to economize, we are considering the possibility of sending information bulletins only by email for those members who are on the internet, and by post to members  without internet service. We would appreciate your comments on this matter. If we proceed in this fashion, it will be important for all members to send us their preferred email addresses.

Since we were not able to gain control of the old internet site owned by André Patry, we have established another form of communication on the internet with our members. Through the work of one of our directors, Michael Lukyniuk, we are happy to confirm the existence of a web blog which will henceforth be the official site of the Association :

We find this new blog to be very interesting as it doesn’t involve any cost to the Association, and it permits a greater interaction between the Executive and its members. If you click on the word ‘comments’ under each message, you can enter a comment or suggestion in a form which will be sent to us.  I invite you to add this blog to your ‘favorites’ in order to consult it from time to time.  The French version of the blog is available when you click on ‘version française’ on the first page to the right of the photo. We certainly intend to keep you informed of all news or decisions concerning the Association.

The Executive Committee adopted a resolution to set aside $3,000 for the stocking of pickerels. However, since the stocks of our provider were depleted in the autumn of 2011, the stocking of fish will only take place in the autumn of 2012 under the careful supervision of Brigitte Bourgeois and Pierre Martin. It may have been possible to obtain small 1 – 2 inch pickerel this upcoming spring, but since they would have been very fragile, our preference is to wait until the autumn when we can get four inch pickerels.

Following the adoption of a resolution at the annual meeting on August 28, 2010, I have transmitted a letter to the Director General  of the Centre d’expertise hydrique du Québec, Mr. Yvon Gosselin, accompanied by a report prepared by Michael Lukyniuk (this report is available on the new blog of the Association). The purpose of the correspondence was to ask the Centre to consider modifying the procedures for opening the dam at Lac 31 Milles in order to reduce the negative effects it has on the water levels of Grand Lac Rond. Copies of this letter and the report were also sent to Mr. Pierre Arcand (Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment and Parks), Mrs. Stéphanie Vallée (MNA for Gatineau), Mr. Réjean Major (Mayor of Bouchette), Mr. Roch Carpentier (Mayor of Ste-Thérèse) as well as to the President of the Association for the Protection of Lac 31 Milles, Mr. Denis Lacroix.
In October, Mr. Gosselin replied stating that the Centre would study the situation. We intend to follow-up and continue our efforts on this dossier.

Last October, the Executive Committee decided to hold a recruitement campaign in the spring of 2012. The Association is now composed of 110 members, whereas there are approximately 360 property owners on the lake. Therefore, a team of volunteers will do a door-to-door visit to invite residents to join the Association. In the meantime, I’d encourage everyone to begin by speaking to their neighbours and friends around the lake so that they understand why it is important to have a strong Association which can defend the views and interests of its members.

We wish to thank Suzanne Lannigan and James Frederick who have agreed to continue testing the water in our lake for clarity and coliforms, as well as to the persons involved in the RSVL program (Réseau de surveillance volontaire des lacs) who will analyse the level of phosphates in our lake.
Thanks to Brigitte Bourgeois and Pierre Martin who continue to manage the stocking of pickerel in our lake.

Our gratitude also goes to Jim Chevrier who continues to maintain the pedestrian trail, the outlook, and other tasks associated with these projects.
We are privileged to be able to count on the devotion of these volunteers who do not hesitate to work for the good of our Association.

We are planning to organize a social activity during the summer, which can take one of the following forms: a golf tournament, a BBQ supper, amateur contests with prizes, social games, etc.  I invite you to make some suggestions and I hope that a large number of members will participate. This sort of activity will allow us to get to know one another and to socialize in a harmonious climate. Depending on the wishes of members, we could also organize a fishing day for youngsters which is subsidized by the Quebec government. It goes without saying that these projects require the participation of several volunteers, so we encourage you to let us know if you are available to contribute to these projects. Your suggestions will always be welcomed.

In closing, I hope that you have found the above information to demonstrate the dynamic of your Executive, and its willingness to work with local organizations in order to ensure the best quality of water in Grand Lac Rond and the health of its cottagers. Please do not hesitate to share your comments with us.

Happy Holidays!
Robert LeSage, President

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