There was nothing to suggest the dissent of the veteran councilor of the Hêtres district, especially since the renovation of the Saint-Marc swimming pool, which is among the main investments for next year, was an old wish of Mr. Tremblay. The PTI had been presented to journalists that same afternoon and the thing seemed almost obvious.
The usually punctual elected officials arrived about ten minutes late to the council chamber for their special meeting, suggesting something was wrong. The mines were long and we can assume that the discussions may have been heated behind closed doors.
However, it is impossible to know the background of Mr. Tremblay’s story and motivation for expressing a rare dissenting voice at the table of Shawinigan’s elected officials. He quickly disappeared after the vote and declined our interview request. There was also silence from the mayor of Angers, who simply said that today was a “difficult day.”
Subsidized swimming pool and loan for drinking water.
If Mayor Michel Angers describes the allocation of 46.8 million dollars for next year as “modest”, larger investments (48 and 70 million dollars) are planned in 2025 and 2026.
In addition to Mr. Tremblay’s dissent, we note that the Saint-Marc swimming pool, in the Antoine-St-Onge park, represents 8.1 million dollars in municipal investments by 2024. However, it benefits from subsidies from the order by 43% to cover the bill.
On the contrary, the 4 million dollars planned for “the works that solve the poor functioning of the Lac-à-la-Pêche treatment plant”, as the City Council states, are based entirely on a regulatory loan.
Thus, if Mayor Angers insists on keeping his debt regulations for the year below the limit of 16 million dollars provided for by the debt management policy, the drinking water file and the infrastructure breakdowns in the water sector Saint-Gérard-des-Laurentides continue to weigh on its finances.
In addition to the $75,000 that will be allocated to monitor cleanup efforts at Perchaude Creek, the City plans to purchase the Actiflo it has been leasing for two years for approximately $1 million per year. The acquisition of equipment for wastewater treatment is estimated at $2 million.
When asked to comment on the late acquisition of the filtration module, while its rental involved large sums of money, Mayor Angers points out that it was difficult to foresee the future of things when the equipment was installed as an annex to the filtration station. Today it appears that this is part of a broader plan to resolve the chronic dysfunction that plagues its operations. “There’s a good chance we’ll need it for several years,” Angers says.
Please note that the remaining $2 million will go toward more comprehensive file management; Ultimately, the City plans to invest $80 million to solve the entire problem. Michel Angers still hopes that the Ministry of Municipal Affairs will be there to financially support the city once the Ministry of the Environment gives its approval to the project he has presented to it.
Decontamination and closure of the Ecocenter
Another important project, the city is starting the decontamination of Avenue de la Transmission as part of the rollout of the Energy Transition Valley innovation zone. Investments of 7.6 million dollars are announced in 2024, to complete a total budget of 10 million dollars, fully subsidized.
The project provides for the decontamination of the Ecocenter land. Therefore, we anticipate that it should close around October 1, for a period of four to five weeks. After this period, citizens will be able to enjoy the service in the municipal garage, where the facilities are permanently moved. Meanwhile, the Saint-Étienne-des-Grès eco-center could serve as an alternative solution.
Various projects complete all the investment activities planned for calendar 2024.
Street paving benefited again with an amount of $2.5 million. The “redevelopment and improvement” of the Chahoon site will be the subject of an investment of $1 million, particularly to build parking for Marina users.
Some $2.5 million will be dedicated to improving underground infrastructure in the Saint-Georges sector. The city’s various community centers will also benefit from a total budget of $1 million for various interventions.
Finally, hydraulic elements will be installed in the Saint-Gérard-des-Laurentides sector thanks to an investment of $450,000.
It should be noted that the City of Shawinigan definitively breaks with tradition by submitting its PTI about two to three months before the adoption of its budget. The mayor of Shawinigan maintains that the decision allows for advantageous costs when calling for tenders, without contractors being overwhelmed by demand.
It will also be a question of whether today’s dissent is an accident or a symptom of a deeper evil around the table of elected officials. Since the beginning of this mandate, only councilor Christian Hould had expressed his disagreement with a decision of his colleagues, in the BTI file, almost apologizing for having remained on the sidelines, while Mayor Angers praised his work. On Monday afternoon the atmosphere was completely different.