Regular Meeting, April 1, 2019
April 13, 2019

Decisions form the April 1 Council meeting

  • Approval of Borrowing Bylaw 19-786 for capital expenditures and a $1.9 million loan

Council generally draws up many borrowing bylaws each year, generally for a very specific expense involving a single type of acquisition, project, or municipal department. Developing a borrowing bylaw is a complex administrative procedure that has to pass through multiple stages and ties up substantial municipal resources. Fortunately, back in 2006, Ministre des Affaires municipales et de l’Habitation (MAMH) gave municipalities a way to do things more efficiently and cut red tape by setting up a mechanism for passing an umbrella borrowing bylaw (Section 1063 of the Municipal Code of Québec).

How does an umbrella bylaw work? 

An umbrella borrowing bylaw wraps several capital projects up together under a single bylaw. The name of the game here is flexibility, so the purpose of the expenses are described in relatively general terms, for example “road repairs,” “water and sewer works,” or “vehicle acquisition.” This gets nailed down when a loan is actually taken out. And that’s because a $1.9 million umbrella borrowing bylaw doesn’t necessarily result in $1.9 million being borrowed. All it means is that up to $1.9 million is authorized when and if one of the needs stated in the bylaw arises. In other words—no need, no loan. What’s more, if the equipment the borrowing bylaw estimated at $150,000 ends up being only $100,000, we’ll only borrow $100,000. Council might in fact never use the funds authorized, since there’s no set timeframe for doing so.

Incidentally, once the bylaw is approved by MAMH, Council still has to pass a resolution for each expenditure it wants to make under Borrowing Bylaw 19-786. Only Council is authorized to spend the money covered by the bylaw—an important safeguard in the management of bylaws of this kind. And each resolution also has to specify the loan repayment period. The loan term may not be longer than the use-life of the capital asset. Repayment of the loan will be made through annual taxes on all taxable property in area. Any grants or payments that can be assigned to repayment will also be used to reduce taxpayers’ share.

What’s in it for La Pêche

The benefits of Borrowing Bylaw 19-786 for our municipality are many and by no means negligible. Here are two real-world examples:

• Dozens of work days are saved per municipal employee when they’re assigned to draw up one umbrella bylaw instead of multiple separate borrowing bylaws. The time saved can be used for important jobs such as researching grants (which can end up repaying the loan) or moving forward with such projects as the management of municipal assets.

• Emergency response capacity is enhanced when Council can intervene quickly in the event of threats to public safety. Bylaw 19-786 gives Council an additional source of funds and therefore more options for dealing with unforeseen, overwhelming circumstances. The need for major emergency repairs to Chemin de la Beurrerie last fall is a good example.

That’s why Council passed umbrella Borrowing Bylaw 19-786, which also furthers its commitment to best practices with a view to continually improving public services. A public notice has been posted asking eligible voters wishing to put the bylaw to a referendum to come and sign the register.


Council first submitted the borrowing bylaw for approval at the March 4 council meeting. Some of those present at the public consultation held at the beginning expressed a desire for further clarification regarding the expenditures to be made. Given the critical importance of transparency and social acceptability in the drafting of bylaws, Council unanimously decided to postpone its vote on the bylaw for one month, so that all aspects of the matter could be properly addressed. An appendix with more specific information on expenditures was submitted at the April 1 meeting (see the bylaw link below for the appendix). MAMH was also consulted to make sure that everything was done according to the proper procedure.

Useful links 

Municipal finance: Bylaw whose purpose is described in general terms (umbrella) (in French), Ministère des Affaires municipales et de l’Habitation 
Borrowing Bylaw 19-786, Capital Expenditures, Municipality of La Pêche , April 2019 (in French)

  • Approval of the first Draft Bylaw 19-787 amending Zoning Bylaw 03-429 (short-term rentals) 

Municipal Council approved the first Draft Bylaw 19-787 amending Zoning Bylaw 03-429 for purposes of regulating short-term rentals throughout La Pêche. A public consultation was held in February at Council’s instigation and the comments received were used in drawing up this initial draft. That draft will be the subject of a formal public consultation at 7:30 p.m., April 15, in Desjardins Hall at the La Pêche Sports Complex, as provided for under the Land Use Planning and Development Act.

  • Resolution in support of equitable public funding for the health, education, and social justice sectors between the Outaouais region and other comparable regions of Quebec 

Équité Outaouais is a nonpartisan activist organization seeking to galvanize public action to improve and augment health, education, and social services in the Outaouais region.

It has launched a campaign to demand that the Government of Québec significantly increase its funding support for our public services. A study by the IRIS socioeconomic research institute (Institut de recherche et d’informations socioéconomiques) clearly revealed the underfunding of health and postsecondary education that afflicts the Outaouais region in comparison to the rest of the province.

Council’s resolution supports Equité Outaouais’s resolution and calls on the Government of Québec to:

• Increase significantly public funding for health care in the Outaouais region to reach the funding levels of other comparable regions in Quebec 
• Increase significantly the training programs at the college and university levels to fill the gap in programs that forces our youth to leave the region 
• Increase significantly funding for our community groups to enable them to adequately fulfill their community care and social justice mandate

  • Procedure for receiving and examining complaints filed regarding the tendering or awarding of public contracts 

Bill 108, an Act to facilitate oversight of public bodies’ contracts and to establish the Autorité des marchés publics (SQ 2017, c 27) takes effect on May 25, 2019, requiring all municipalities to establish a procedure for receiving and examining complaints regarding public calls for tenders or contracts awarded by mutual agreement with a single supplier despite involving amounts equal to or greater than the public tender threshold.

Council’s resolution approved a procedure for receiving and examining complaints regarding contract tenders or awards. That procedure will be posted on the Calls for Tenders page of the La Pêche website, under the Municipality tab.