Dear fellow lake residents,
Our Association By-Laws and primary mandate from our members are the protection of our watershed lakes. Secondary is the representation and protection of our common interests.
It is an understatement to say that the current health crisis is unprecedented. And it has resulted in restrictions to our members’ rights to access their properties for the past month and for an indeterminate future – rights we would all normally take for granted.
The Government of Quebec has determined that travel and access to certain regions must be significantly restricted until further notice. While are entitled to the Quebec Government’s support for these rights, as property owners we must respect the law. As a Quebec Association we must support the Quebec Public Health Emergency Act (*see below).
The question has been raised, as to what the Association is doing to support our member property owners’ access to their properties.
Our Association executive, led by our Vice President, have had numerous discussions with local politicians and sought clarification to the following questions, both in terms of what the current situation is, and what might be expected in the future:
- Can an individual legally traverse regional boundaries to enjoy the use of their properties, and to care for and maintain their properties if they respect certain guidelines?No. Travel restrictions have not been lifted, so there are no guidelines yet. There will be guidelines once travel restrictions are lifted.
- Is protection and care for property considered an essential reason to travel?No (* see “essential list” below).
- What criteria will the MRC use to determine when property owners can return?The MRCs do not set the criteria. Travel restrictions and access are imposed by the Ministry of Public Security and enforced by the Police.
- What are the decision-makers considering for a longer-term, reasonable approach to the situation?Deliberations are already taking place around risk management and how to reasonably allow people to access their properties. In fact, this reflection has been going on for some time. All levels of government are actively involved and collaborating with the Public Health experts and other authorities at the Ministry of Public Security.
These considerations go well beyond our Association members and the impacts affect all of society, and at all levels of government.
We all sincerely hope this situation improves quickly, although all federal and provincial officials have expressed the need for patience. For any questions, please refer to www.Quebec.ca/coronavirus or 1- 877-644-4545.
Our very best wishes in this extraordinarily challenging time. Stay safe! Sincerely,
Roger Larson, President
Hélène Goulet, Vice President
On behalf of the Lac Heney Watershed Association Board of Directors
* Quebec Public Health Emergency Act: http://legisquebec.gouv.qc.ca/en/showdoc/cs/s-2.2.
Articles 5, 118 and 123 contain the information that currently concerns us.
5. Public health actions must be directed at protecting, maintaining or enhancing the health status and well-being of the general population and shall not focus on individuals except insofar as such actions are taken for the benefit of the community as a whole or a group of individuals.
2001, c. 60, s. 5.
118. The Government may declare a public health emergency in all or part of the territory of Québec where a serious threat to the health of the population, whether real or imminent, requires the immediate application of certain measures provided for in section 123 to protect the health of the population.
2001, c. 60, s. 118.
123. Notwithstanding any provision to the contrary, while the public health emergency is in effect, the Government or the Minister, if he or she has been so empowered, may, without delay and without further formality, to protect the health of the population,
(1) order compulsory vaccination of the entire population or any part of it against smallpox or any other contagious disease seriously threatening the health of the population and, if necessary, prepare a list of persons or groups who require priority vaccination;
(2) order the closing of educational institutions or of any other place of assembly;
(3) order any person, government department or body to communicate or give to the Government or the Minister immediate access to any document or information held, even personal or confidential information or a confidential document;
(4) prohibit entry into all or part of the area concerned or allow access to an area only to certain persons and subject to certain conditions, or order, for the time necessary where there is no other means of protection, the evacuation of persons from all or any part of the area or their confinement and, if the persons affected have no other resources, provide for their lodging, feeding, clothing and security needs;
(5) order the construction of any work, the installation of sanitary facilities or the provision of health and
(6) require the assistance of any government department or body capable of assisting the personnel deployed;
(7) incur such expenses and enter into such contracts as are considered necessary;
(8) order any other measure necessary to protect the health of the population.
The Government, the Minister or another person may not be prosecuted by reason of an act performed in good faith in or in relation to the exercise of those powers.
2001, c. 60, s. 123.
* List of essential services and commercial activities in Quebec: