By analyzing the land and the islands surrounding the proposed national park project site, the CHIP 101.9 newsroom was able to confirm that two of the islands nestled near the envisioned site (lots 3 352 025 and 3 352 026) , are properties owned by one of the members of the MRC Pontiac’s National Park Committee; the Mayor of l’Île-du-Grand-Calumet, Serge Newberry.
When asked by CHIP 101,9 about this situation, Warden of the MRC Pontiac, Jane Toller, said that she was unaware of it. Jane Toller:
Other Mayors of the MRC and stakeholders involved in this file have also told CHIP 101.9 that they did not know that Serge Newberry owned land near the identified site.
CHIP 101.9 reached the Mayor of L’Ile-du-Grand-Calumet who explained that he obtained the land in question in May of 2017, prior to his election as mayor, in order to gain access to the territory for hunting.
Note that these islands were originally located in the territory of the proposed National Park as identified on the map presented by the businessman Joe Kowalski, but, according to Mayor Newberry, it seems to have been a simple “mistake”. He also said that the members of the committee were all aware of his property.
In September of 2018, the Mayors of the MRC Pontiac made a commitment to follow new procedures concerning conflicts of interest regarding certain files handled by the MRC. The Warden Jane Toller has also emphasized that these measures taken during the regular meetings of the MRC are to avoid these types of situations.
The Members of the MRC’s National Park Committee include the Mayor of Campbell’s Bay Maurice Beauregard; the mayor of l’Île-du-Grand-Calumet Serge Newberry; a Municipal Councillor of the municipality of l’Île-du-Grand-Calumet Alice Meilleur Pieschke; the MRC Pontiac Civil Engineer Kim Lesage; the Wilderness Tours President Joe Kowalski; and Ottawa Valley Tourist Association Director Alastair Baird.