Notre-Dame-De-Stanbridge mayor Daniel Tétreault wants to finish what he started. During his first term as mayor of the village, he spearheaded efforts to get the eight municipalities of the Bedford sector of the MRC — Notre-dame-de-stanbridge, Pike River, Bedford, Bedford Canton, Saint-armand, Saint-ignace-destanbridge, Stanbridge Station and Stanbridge East working together on joint procurement and economic development projects.
Collectively, the eight municipalities are referred to as the Bedford pole. “I didn’t invent that concept, but I took the initiative,” says Tétreault, noting that the poles are created by the MRC. “The municipalities in the pole of Bedford have lost some vitality. During my first mandate, I met with all the mayors to find some solutions, to get together and say ‘Where do we start?’” Seven of the eight municipalities commissioned the firm Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton to develop an action plan for the pole earlier this year.
One of the advantages of better coordination between the eight municipalities is the resourcesharing possibilities it opens up, Tétreault explains. “On average, the municipalities of the pole are 10 kilometres from each other; it’s not that hard to share employees and resources. A municipality our size can’t hire a person for 32 hours a week, but we can work with another municipality to hire someone for 16 hours a week here and 16 hours a week there and both get what we need. We’ve already started doing that with Saint-ignace.”
“Maybe eight municipalities don’t need eight soccer fields, but we can all participate in the upkeep of one or two soccer fields,” he added. “Our recreation service has a lot of volunteers, and we can help out other municipalities in that way.”
Tétreault says the municipalities sent a survey to 5,000 households earlier this year and received about 1,200 responses. The survey revealed that people “want to bring new families into our villages, to make sure there are jobs for educated people, and make sure we have infrastructures adapted for young kids — we have some, but people want them to be improved.”
“After the elections, we’ll be able to work on some projects,” he added.
A highway, new housing…and only so much land
Tétreault says the construction of Highway 35, combined with an influx of former city dwellers, has created a difficult situation for his municipality.
“The highway is a great project, but it’s also an inconvenience,” he says. “People going from Montreal to the border won’t pass through town anymore. At the same time, our farmers lose their land…and it’s important to protect good agricultural land. We also lack affordable housing, and we need to work on finding good land for houses. We need to find a happy medium between housing, agriculture and tourism.” Like many mayors around the drought-hit MRC, he’s also looking at ways to encourage water conservation. “We’re not necessarily going to run out of water, but people still need to pay attention,” he says. He also plans to seek grants to upgrade the municipality’s water treatment plant.
Tétreault is a semi-retired former mechanic who estimates that he puts in about 30 hours per week managing the municipality, for an honorarium of slightly less than $1,000 per month. “Being a village mayor [involves] a lot of meetings, and people with full-time jobs don’t have time,” he said. “I would love to get younger people involved in village politics. I like the idea of getting everyone around the table and hearing their opinions without one person tearing another down. I like finding solutions.”
Notre-dame-de-stanbridge by the numbers:
Anglophones as a percentage of population: 6.2 per cent
Bilingual municipality: No
Area: 43.9 km3
Mayor: Daniel Tétreault (incumbent, acclaimed)
Councillor, post 1: Carole Dansereau (incumbent, acclaimed)
Councillor, post 2: Daniel Lanoue (acclaimed)
Councillor, post 3: Alain Bordeleau
Micheline Dufour (incumbent, acclaimed)
Councillor, post 4: Roger Santerre (incumbent, acclaimed)
Councillor, post 5: Jean-pierre Morlot (incumbent, acclaimed)
Councillor, post 6:
Robert Gaboriault (incumbent) Yvon Landry