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Golden Years

Golden Years

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Published by Julielee Stitt
The Equity. 2011. By Julielee Stitt.
The Equity. 2011. By Julielee Stitt.

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Published by: Julielee Stitt on Nov 19, 2013
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 Jean Paul Laporte just got homefrom the hospital. His foot has beenamputated as the result of advanceddiabetes and a bandage is wrappedaround hisright leg. It’s a whiteswabbedreminder of where his foot once touched theground. When you mention the concept of the Golden Years, Laporte who is in his60s scoffs and appears momentarilyangry. “These are not the golden years. There’s no such thing as the golden years.” Laporte and his neighbourswould know.  They are all over 55 and live on thetop floor of a province ownedHabitation à Loyer Modéré (HLM), ormoderate rent building. Mobility issues have left Laporteunable to climb the stairs that wouldtake him to the residence that heshares with his wife Jeanine Laroche. Instead, he sits downstairs on a bedthat has been assembled in the resi-dences common area.  The patio door slides open andclosed as his family members slip inand out to visit their father and grand-father. It’s a spot Laporte has been allowedto occupy after residents, living in the10 apartments that make-up the build-ing, signed a petition stating theywould allow him to remain there untilhe’s able to return upstairs.Laroche isn’t without her own prob-lems.After a bungled surgery, her left armis able to turn 360 degrees, a weakreminder of a limb which at one timewas fully functioning and muscledfrom use. She struggles with the heavy doorsthat close off the stairs at the bottomand top of the stairwell as she carrieslaundry or groceries up to her home. Their neighbours, another marriedcouple, Maurice Danis and DoreenBechamp have also struggled with thestairs. Sometime around March, Bechamp,who suffers from pulmonary emphyse-ma and panic attacks, was unable tobreathe and her husband called theambulance.However, unable to carry a stretcherup to her apartment, due to the natureof the stairway that has a narrow land-ing, paramedics were forced to carryBechamp down the levels on a chair. “When I called the ambulance, shewas really choking,” said Danis, whogoes on to describe the reaction hiswife had to being carried in a chair. “She kind of panicked which makesit worse. She nearly didn't make it tothe CLSC.”Laporte can identify. He too was car-ried down to the ambulance on a chairwhen he was 80 lb. heavier and peak-ing on the scale at 340 lb.“There were four guys and they hada hard, hard time to carry me down. The firemen were big guys, but in thesmall stairs whenever you're four peo-ple and me in the chair, you’re hittingall over the place...I felt like I was goingto go headfirst down the stairs.” These are scenes that leave SherCahill Brisebois fighting back tears. Brisebois lives on the top floor of theapartment building and unlike herneighbours can easily climb up anddown the stairs.  This past summer, noting the strug-gles of her friends, Brisebois began theprocess of trying to acquire an eleva-tor. “Four months ago Jean Paul andDoreen became sick and when we real-ized that these two were especially sickwe decided to ask ‘What can we doabout it?’ And so the subject of an ele-vator came up,” said Brisebois. While both incidents were resolvedwith tenants being safely taken to thehospital, Brisebois says she’s waryabout what will happen in the futurewhen emergency assistance isrequired. “Paramedics have said they can’t geta hospital stretcher up the stairs. So if any of us have a heart attack we haveto be hauled down in a chair,” saidBrisebois. However, the woman who hasbecome an advocate on behalf of herneighbours has hit roadblocks whentalking with local MNA CharlotteL’Écuyer and Gilles Soucie who headsthe local committee, which overseesthe operations of the government-runresidence, she says.  The residents live in a province-owned housing unit on Lévesque Road,which charges tenants 25 per cent of their fixed income to rent. HLM is administered by the Sociétéd’Habitation du Québec (SHQ), whichhas three different residences in theFort Coulonge-Mansfield area. Both the local provincial representa-tive and the head of the committee thatlooks after the apartment building saytheir hands are tied in the situation.According to Soucie, there are twoproblems tenants encounter whenrequesting an elevator: a lack of fundsand the building's inability to house alift.
Please see WOES page two
Jrs back on the ice Page 14
 Trebio Mill began shipping pellets approximately threeweeks ago from its plant in Portage du Fort and for LouisCampeau, it’s confirmation that the mill is on track to suc-cess. Campeau is the CEO of the company’s plant in Portageand says while pellet production is a new experience for Trebio it’s one that thegroup has adapted to. “Pellet production is anew experience, but wehave taken the necessaryprecautions not to waste our money and not to waste thegovernment money that we have benefited from. We arevery serious about this,” he said.In a scheduled tour with T 
Campeau showedthe paper the ins-and-outs of pellet production and dis-cussed one concern the mill maintains in terms of trans-portation. One of the main attractions of establishing their site atthe Portage Industrial Park was the promise of a rail line totransport the pellets. “We had access to rail, the buildings were already thereso we didn’t have to invest in infrastructure,” saidCampeau, adding “We are also close to Ontario,” noting theproximity to Renfrew, Ont. However, as Transport Pontiac Renfrew (TPR) continuesto rally for renewed use of the now defunct CanadianPacific Rails in the region, Trebio has adapted to the changeby having the pellets shipped to Masson via a truck. Pellets are then placed on in carts on the rails and takento the Port of Trois-Rivières.
Please see MILL page two
Mill “ramping-up” production
Julielee Stitt, THEEQUITY
Louis Campeau,CEO of Trebio’s Portage du Fort site,holds a sample of the pellets.
Julielee Stitt, THEEQUITY
Jean Paul Laporte recently had his foot amputated.He lives at an
Habitation à Loyer Modéré (
HLM)building in Mansfield and is unable toclimb the stairs to the apartment he shares with his wife.
Residents say stairs pose a danger at low-rental unit 
‘These are not the golden years’
Equity Reporter
Sept.28, 2011
Equity Reporter
Sept.26, 2011
Equity Reporter
Sept.26, 2011
 The municipality of Pontiac will lose itsposition as the “missing link” betweenthe Gatineau cycling circuit and the PPJCycle Park, after it was announced onMonday that the Quebec governmentwould offer funds to link the two path-ways. “We have been the missing link forsome time now, and this will just finishthat off,” said Pontiac Mayor EddieMcCann.At a press conference held at theBeach Barn in Quyon, local MNACharlotte L’Écuyer announced that theMinistry of Transportation would fundthe creation of a cycling route in themunicipality, by offering $32,000towards developing two sections of thepathway.“The Route Verte provides a lot of pub-licity that we wouldn’t be able to affordon our own,” said L’Écuyer.According to the politician, Quebec isalone in terms of having a cycling routethat spans an entire province. “There’s no other province that hasthis and it’s really something that’simportant to be a part of. It will help usto sell the Pontiac.”
Please see ROUTE page two
 ‘Route vert’ to connect tothe city 
 www.theequity.ca  Volume 128, Issue No. 39
 Wednesday, September 28, 2011
87 cents The voice of the Pontiac since 1883
Sept.25, 2011
St. John the Evangelistchurch in Campbell’s Bay is notthe only parish in Pontiac thathas fallen on hard times.But they may be the onlychurch that has resorted towhat may seem like drasticmeasures.At an emergency meeting,attended by approximately 50people, parish priest Fr. Tanguay explained the church’scurrent realities. The building is long overduefor repairs said Tanguay, andthe current estimated amountto complete the necessary reno-vations is over $60,000. The parish has approximately240 families living within thearea, while the average massattendance ranges between 40and 70 people. The faith formation programfor children has a total of 27participants, split between theFrench and English classes.“If we were a business, we’dhave to say our client base isshrinking,” said Fr. Tanguay. The report also shows thatsince 2000, funerals haveremained fairly constant whilebaptisms and marriages at thechurch have, on average,decreased from year to year.Recently, a special committeewas formed with the goal toraise funds for the church andboost morale of the parishionersat the same time. The meeting included anEnglish presentation that wasled by John Lawn, while thequestion and answer period wasmoderated by Peter Gervais, aparishioner at the St. PierreParish in Fort Coulonge. The committee came up witha series of proposals, all of which were passed by theparishioners gathered.Proposals included holding agolf tournament and addinganother church supper to theevents calendar. These wereunder a set of nine proposals. The second item, which maycourt controversary, was thefollowing;Parishioners will be asked todonate, or lend for a period of eight years, $1,000 to thechurch restoration fund.Parishioners that donate thefunds will be issued a taxreceipt, while those that lend itwill be repaid interest free on arandom basis as the churchraises the funds. The funds are aimed atreaching the goal of at least$60,000 for the repairs that aredeemed necessary and immedi-ate. The last major renovations inthe church were done in 1975,according to Lawn in his pre-sentation.Currently, the interior of thechurch needs to be painted andthe floors need to be redone.“In the last year, I had theopportunity to attend masses ata lot of churches in Pontiac,”said Lawn.“And I have to say, the interi-or of ours is in really badshape.” The church is not able toapply for heritage status anduse government heritage grantsbecause the building was erect-ed in 1939 and is not yet 100- years-old.
Please see CHURCH page two
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