Ottawa

Damage could leave parts of road in western Quebec permanently closed

The mayor of a small town in Western Quebec said portions of a crucial road may not re-open because the municipality can't afford to fix them.

Paugan Road in Denholm important route for emergency services

Paugan Road in Denholm, Que. could remain closed permanently because the Mayor says there isn't the money to fix it. (Radio-Canada)

The mayor of a small city in Western Quebec said portions of a crucial road may never reopen because the municipality can't afford to fix them.

Mayor Gaetan Guindon said sections of the Paugan Road in Denholm, Que., have been closed off after a recent fall rainstorm caused severe damage that will cost between $1 million and $2 million to fix.

The entire annual budget for the municipality of 600 people, located 40 kilometres north of Gatineau, is $1.6 million. 

Denholm Mayor Gaetan Guidon says the road repairs could cost his entire years municipal budget. (Radio-Canada )

A special meeting was held Friday night with residents to discuss the permanent closure of two sections of the road.

Paugan Road is not only an important connection between the towns of Poltimore and Low, but is also needed for emergency services.

The Sûreté du Quebec, which serves Denholm, is located in Maniwaki and police must take a 40-minute detour to reach the community when the road is closed.

"They will actually be driving right by another police station, the MRC des Collines-de-l'Outaouais," Guindon said in French. 

The province turned responsibility for Paugan Road over to the municipality in 1993, and city council has struggled to cover maintenance costs ever since, according to the mayor.

He said the road is often frequented by drivers from neighbouring communities and not just by the locals of Denholm. Guindon said the town did ask Quebec's transportation ministry to take back responsibility for the road, but was not successful.

With files from Radio-Canada

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