loader image

Low’s director-general doing a good job

September 6th,2023 | Opinion

Hire well and trust the talent.

For Low residents, it may seem like it’s a long, tedious and frustrating process, but things are slowly getting better when it comes to administration at the municipality.

The municipality hired well when it plucked director-general Sandra Martineau from her post in La Pêche — and now they are trusting her talents to clean up the mess left by former staffers and elected officials over the last several mandates. Now it’s time for the public to trust her, too.

Martineau’s 21 years of experience as La Pêche’s director of finance are already paying dividends. Since she was hired in August of 2022, Martineau has been tightening things up at the municipal level by bringing a fiscal responsibility to the administration that has been lacking in Low for years.

Martineau has become a wealth of knowledge at municipal council meetings, calling up financial information sometimes immediately when asked by engaged and often enraged citizens. If she doesn’t have the information on hand, she fiercely scribbles notes down and vows to follow up.

One of Martineau’s most significant projects will be updating the municipality’s retention schedule — a tool to manage the life cycle of data and how information is stored and archived. The municipality is now working with Bibliothèque et archives nationales du Quebec (library and archives) to digitize municipal documents so they are easily accessible for both councillors and staffers. This alone will modernize Low’s archival systems and will avoid information slipping through the cracks — something that has been an ongoing source of contention between councillors and residents.

But Martineau has become more than just a director-general with competent organization and financial skills. She has become the face of the municipality, especially throughout the pages of this newspaper over the last year. It’s often challenging to get Mayor Carole Robert to agree to an interview unless she’s pinned down in person at council meetings, but Martineau has never shied away from commenting on Low’s affairs.

She vehemently defended Coun. Maureen Rice over a controversial vote involving the forgiveness of back taxes on the councillor’s mother’s farm, but also – and perhaps more importantly – uncovered a judge’s decision that effectively puts an end to the mini-scandal that rattled the small town (see story page 3). Her sleuthing on this file also helped the municipality recoup nearly $15,000.

Although Martineau has been a godsend for Low, she’s not immune to the toxicity that has plagued former politicians and staffers — negativity that has come from frustrated citizens who show up in droves to voice their dissatisfaction. Martineau says that some of the comments made at council meetings have felt personal and have sometimes shaken her confidence.

Understandably citizens are frustrated — those whose taxes have gone up 400 per cent, who face repeated boil water advisories and those who are appalled at the conditions of municipal roads. But residents need to know they have the best person at the helm, and it’s time to trust that Sandra Martineau will steer Low toward the promised land.

Latest Headlines

News

HELLO SUMMER!

THE LOW Down is on holidays!

The office will be closed from July 10 to July 23. There will be NO EDITION published on July 17 or 24. Our next edition will be on July 31.

News

A fiery 40th

Wakefield’s treasured wooden bridge – a village icon that had spanned the Gatineau River for 69 years – was a fiery inferno. Villagers were out on their docks or scattered along the riverbank, watching the structure crack and bust apart span by span – many of them, like Garnett and her partner, Norma Walmsley, aghast as the violent flames tore through the nearly 90 metres of wood in a matter of minutes. It was precisely 40 years ago from this edition’s publication date. 

Letters

Hills peace and justice group giving us hope

The Editor, In response to Stephanie Turple’s “Upholding western values” (July 3 edition) and what the group Hills for Peace and Justice calls (H4P&J) “‘genocide and colonization’” (June 12 edition) As per the March 26, UN Human Rights Council’s reasonable...

Hard-hitting local news delivered right to your mailbox (or in your inbox!)

Support feisty, independent journalism.

 

At the Low Down, we are passionate about delivering quality local news to Gatineau Hills residents. But passion alone cannot pay the bills.

To help meet the demands of inflation and the costs of producing fact-based local news, we have introduced new pricing options. Our goal is to meet readers where they’re at, and keep our newspaper as affordable as possible.

Print + Digital Subscriptions

Digital Subscription

Support feisty, independent journalism.

 

At the Low Down, we are passionate about delivering quality local news to Gatineau Hills residents. But passion alone cannot pay the bills.

To help meet the demands of inflation and the costs of producing fact-based local news, we have introduced new pricing options. Our goal is to meet readers where they’re at, and keep our newspaper as affordable as possible.

Print + Digital Subscriptions

Digital Subscription