Mayor “sur­pri­sed” at “poor” re­pu­ta­tion for Haw­kes­bu­ry


A Mon­treal news­pa­per cal­led Haw­kes­bu­ry one of the “poo­rest towns” in Ca­na­da, which came as a sur­prise to mayor Jeanne Char­le­bois. But she is sa­ving most of her com­ments on the mat­ter un­til af­ter she has had a chance to confer with her coun­cil.

“I was sur­pri­sed,” said Mayor Jeanne Char­le­bois du­ring an in­ter­view Sept. 22. “I was ve­ry di­sap­poin­ted when I read this.”

The mayor re­fer­red to an ar­ticle in the Sept. 14 edi­tion of Le Jour­nal de Mon­tréal which re­vie­wed the la­test Sta­tis­tics Ca­na­da fi­gures re­lea­sed from the last na­tio­nal cen­sus. The fi­gures dealt with eco­no­mic pro­files for re­gions and com­mu­ni­ties wi­thin Ca­na­da.

The ar­ticle fo­cu­sed on Québec com­mu­ni­ties. It des­cri­bed La­chute and Gren­ville Haw­kes­bu­ry as among the poo­rest mu­ni­ci--

pa­li­ties in Québec and al­so in the rest of Ca­na­da.

Town of­fi­cials for both La­chute and Gren­ville have is­sued press re­leases, re­fu­ting the ar­ticle’s al­le­ga­tions. The of­fice for Glen­gar­ry-Pres­cott-Rus­sell MP Francis Drouin had sche­du­led a Sept. 22 press con­fe­rence in Haw­kes­bu­ry where the MP, MPP Grant Crack and Mayor Char­le­bois would com­ment on the ar­ticle. The con­fe­rence has been res­che­du­led to a la­ter date be­cause the MPP’s own sche­dule would not al­low him to at­tend.

Mayor Char­le­bois de­cli­ned to say too much at present about the Mon­treal news­pa­per ar­ticle. She first wants to confer with her own coun­cil about the si­tua­tion and al­so talk to both MP Drouin and MPP Crack. But she did say that both the ar­ticle and the sta­tis­tics used to sup­port it do not tell the whole sto­ry about Haw­kes­bu­ry’s eco­no­mic si­tua­tion.

“I’m sur­pri­sed, and I would like to know how they came to that conclu­sion,” she said. “Not all the facts are there.”

The mayor no­ted that the Uni­ted Coun­ties of Pres­cott-Rus­sell (UCPR) is in the middle of doing an eco­no­mic de­ve­lop­ment re­view sur­vey of the en­tire re­gion, with in­put from area bu­si­nesses and in­dus­tries, and she hopes to see some po­si­tive news come out of the sur­vey.

“There are is­sues, yes, but the in­dus­tries all seem to be heal­thy and some are al­so loo­king for wor­kers,” she said. “I’m ho­ping that this sur­vey will al­so help ans­wer the ques­tions and ad­dress the concerns of re­si­dents and bu­si­nesses about this ar­ticle. I al­so do know that Haw­kes­bu­ry is the in­dus­trial, com­mer­cial and health hub of the coun­ties.”

The mayor no­ted that Bell Ca­na­da is in­ves­ting in a $15-mil­lion pro­ject for highs­peed In­ter­net in the town. The Haw­kes­bu­ry & Dis­trict Ge­ne­ral Hos­pi­tal is al­so in the middle of a mul­ti-mil­lion-dol­lar ex­pan­sion pro­ject.

“We (the town) have been doing road­work im­pro­ve­ments eve­ry year too,” Mayor Char­le­bois said, “and that’s crea­ting work. For me, that’s so­me­thing to build on.”

—photo Gregg Chamberlain

La mai­resse Jeanne Char­le­bois n’est pas du tout d’ac­cord avec un ar­ticle pu­blié ré­cem­ment par Le Jour­nal de Mon­tréal qui a qua­li­fié la ré­gion de Gren­ville et Haw­kes­bu­ry comme l’une des « villes les plus pauvres » au Ca­na­da, ci­tant à l›ap­pui des don­nées ré­centes pu­bliées par Sta­tis­tiques Ca­na­da. La mai­resse ré­serve ses com­men­taires pour une confé­rence de presse qui au­ra lieu plus tard, le temps qu’elle consulte les autres membres du conseil ain­si que les dé­pu­tés fé­dé­ral et pro­vin­cial, Francis Drouin et Grant Crack. Voir autre ar­ticle en page 4.

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