Warm Shiverfest, Alstonvale, Oka ferries and federal election
A warm, rainy week played havoc with planned outdoor activities as snow and ice turned to slush. The ice on Pine Lake was off limits by the weekend although cars and snow mobiles could still be seen on the Lake of Two Mountains, splashing their way through water several inches deep on top of the ice. Colder weather returned Sunday night and light snow was expected but temperatures remained above average during this warm winter.
The inaugural meeting of the Alstonvale residents Association was held on January 21 at St. James Church. Residents are afraid that issues which concern only them are not being heard by council. The new association is to give a stronger voice to those concerns and to develop more of a sense of community for the area. One of the first issues to be addressed is the question of better and more secure access to the development. Residents believe that neither the way up Alstonvale Road (formerly Harwood Road) from Main Road with its steep and curvy hill nor the way down from Route 342 through gravel and potholes are satisfactory and will lobby to have access improved.
The plans for an expansion of the Oka Ferry continue to cause controversy in the town. Many residents are opposed to any upgrade but the owners have made the request to buy three new, larger ferries and construct a concrete dock. Public hearings on those plans were to be scheduled after the information meeting of December 5, 2005 but, despite several requests for such public hearings, none have been scheduled. Residents are afraid that the government will short-track the approval process by classifying the ferry service as 'essential" and avoid public hearings altogther.
With the federal election over and posters being taken down, winner Meili Faille thanked her supporters as did Stéphane Bourgon who did much better than expected. As in the last election, the split in the federalist vote allowed the Bloc to win the riding. Coverage of all parties was especially good in the French media in the riding with papers assigning journalists to each of the parties allowing the smaller parties to get their message out. On the English side, "Your Local Journal" also provided good and complete coverage while the "Hudson Gazette" chose to only cover three of the parties.