• The Low Down

Winds of change?

The Editor,


According to La Pêche mayoral candidate Luc Richard, he represents a winds of change. I thought that I smelled something, but it was not change, at least not progressive change. Appearing like he may be repurposing his real estate signs, Richard’s countenance can be seen on poles throughout the municipality.


Can a mayor who is a real estate agent really disassociate himself from the many land and property issues that face council, like developments, variances and public works? It’s like leaving the mouse in charge of the cheese.


We need a full-time mayor dedicated to the municipality, without even the hint of conflict of interest. La Pêche is not some hick municipality that can be administered off the corner of a desk. Mr. Richard is a one-issue candidate and his winds of change has a familiar odour.


This is not a pro or anti-ATV issue. Mr. Richard wants to see ATVs and snowmobiles on public roads. We are not anti-ATV. Most of our neighbours have ATVs and are quite content to use them on their farms, in their woodlots and private trails, as both working and recreational vehicles. There are kilometres of private trails and hectares of private land in this municipality for ATVs and snowmobiles; they are allowed to cross public roads to access other private trails.


This is not a French-English issue either.


It is an issue of safety, noise, pollution and the rethinking of recreation in troubled times. Surely supporting a greener kind of tourism is not a bad idea. Richard is wrong in thinking that cross-country skiers and cyclists cannot contribute to economic growth in La Pêche.


Here in the Rupert Valley we already have scores of sand trucks on our rural roads due to the last councils’ rather dubious grandfathering of an old sandpit. As to Mr. Richard’s complaint on the consultation process for the last vote on ATVs, I think it important to take him back to the original debate on the issue with the [former mayor Robert] Bussière council, when it was first proposed. When Bussière’s council outlined the route from Duclos to Masham, the plan was available on the municipal website for only a few days before the meeting. The plan was proposed, discussed and passed in under two hours. And that plan was known to ATV activists well ahead of the meeting. The quad enthusiasts here and from Pontiac turned out in full force and intimidated and bullied any actual discussion of the proposal. Unfortunately, the people on the route proposed by Bussière and his council, as well as the majority of La Pêche taxpayers were not consulted in advance. The plan was railroaded through in one of the most undemocratic municipal meetings that we have ever observed in these parts. Surely we would not want this sort of non-transparent process to happen again. After the disillusionment that came with that, what a relief it was when Guillaume Lamoureux, with a largely new council, came in and reversed that decision by allowing a truly democratic process to unfold.


When the world is burning up, species are disappearing, rivers and streams are polluted, forests are being cleared, surely there are more important issues facing this municipality than the use of ATVs on public roads. We think it is time for the citizens of La Pêche to exercise their democratic right and send a clear message on Mr. Richard’s winds of change. Vote like your environment depends on it. And this is not just an issue for humans. It is important to all living things, plants and animals. The ‘change’ that Mr. Richard speaks of is a return to the past, a case of the Emperor’s new clothes. Please get out and vote for progressive change.


Douglas Parker

Rupert, QC