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.”
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.