Kaz mayor hopefuls in four-way fight for Kaz seat
Revitalizing the village a key election issue
There’s one accomplishment Robert Bergeron is highlighting during his campaign for Kazabazua mayor: the one or so acres of waterfront land he and his outgoing council secured along the Gatineau River that will be converted into a public boat launch and floating wharf next summer.
It’s a huge win for not only Bergeron but for many of his constituents as well, as public access to water in the municipality – or lack thereof – has been one of the biggest issues facing the community over the past several years.
“We’re quite excited,” admitted Bergeron, who is just wrapping up his first term as Kazabazua mayor. “Finally, we are going to be able to offer some activities to our citizens with our river here. It will be fantastic.”
Residents have been calling for some form of official public water access in Kazabazua since a coveted swimming hole along Danford Lake was fenced off by owners in 2020. A suspicious fire at the beach this past June had the municipality calling for calm between residents and private landowners. The fire is still under investigation.
Bergeron said he’s just happy that he and his outgoing council were able to find a solution. He said Phase 1 of the project, which he said he hopes to see constructed before the summer of 2022, will include a non-motorized boat launch and a floating wharf.
“The big thing about this is that you can go right up to Lac-Ste-Marie and Low, and there are some restaurants and businesses along the river that could really use the support from these visitors, so it will attract tourists,” he explained.
Bergeron, who also served as municipal councillor in Kazabazua from 2013 to 2017, said he’s also proud of the headway the municipality and the Gatineau Valley Retirement Village have made together on affordable housing for seniors.
One project is a new, 11-unit seniors’ home in Kazabazua, set to go to tender sometime in 2022. Another is the 26 seniors’ units set to be built in Gracefield next year.
“It’s a big need,” he admitted.
If he’s re-elected Nov. 7, Bergeron said he’ll continue to push to have all residents connected to high-speed internet by September of 2022 and said he’ll look for government funding to attract new families and businesses to the region.
Bergeron’s challengers include former city of Gatineau staffer Pierre Raymond, retired civil servant Louise Schnubb, and Paul Liberty.
In a recent interview with The Low Down, Raymond said that his 18 years of public service working in the urbanism departments at both the city of Gatineau and Hull gives him an “advantage” when it comes to city planning. He said his main reason for running is to revitalize the village core by encouraging bigger brands to bring their ventures to the more rural parts of the Hills.
“We are in dire need of a new hardware store and a lumber yard,” he said. “We need a good grocery store…a drugstore...a bank.” Raymond said he wants to commission a market study on the area and use the data to entice new companies to set up shop in Kazabazua. He said new businesses would create jobs for the many new residents flocking to the Hills.
“People are leaving the big centres to come and live in the rural parts,” he said. “If you want people to stay, you have got to give them services.”
When asked to speak critically about his opponents, Raymond wouldn’t engage in “dirty politics” and insisted on focusing on the future, rather than dwelling on things nobody can change.
“I don’t want to point the finger at anybody,” he said. “I’m a team player and I like to listen to what people have to say. I don’t have all the answers, but if you work with a group of people, a new council with open minds, I think we can achieve a lot of good things.”
When asked about high-speed internet, he laughed and said, “I’m on Xplornet.” The Low Down is still waiting for his high-resolution photo to arrive.
For Kaz mayor hopeful Schnubb, she said she agrees that attracting new families and businesses to the area should be a priority for the next council, but to do so, she said she feels that the village needs a bit of a facelift.
“It’s not a pretty village,” admitted Schnubb. “We need to find a way to attract people to the village.”
The retired former CRA and financial worker told The Low Down that she wants to consult with residents to find the best way to move forward aesthetically and hopes to utilize available grants and funding programs to jazz up the downtown core.
Schnubb also said that affordable housing for low-income families and seniors would be a top priority if elected. She said she would explore the idea of tiny homes as an affordable housing option.
“We should aim at allowing the construction of mini houses in the village,” she said. “This kind of housing could be to the benefit of elders, to people who live alone, or to people with low income.”
Schnubb also penned a thorough 180-page report on the dangers of Hwy 105, in which she argues that excess speeds, high volume of heavy vehicle use, and a lack of investments have left the highway in a “dismal and dangerous” state. The report is now in the hands of Gatineau MNA Robert Bussière and the province’s Ministry of Transport.
Liberty did not respond by press time.
Kazabazua voters head to the polls on Nov. 7.