The Hawkesbury area, including Grenville, which once held the largest sawmill in the British Empire, has now sunk to being among the lowest median income municipalities in the country, according to Statistics Canada’s latest report.

Hawkesbury has seen many industry closures in the past decades and also has the most social income housing units in all of Prescott-Russell and an aging population which contributed to its low ranking. Twenty-seven per cent of people in Hawkesbury/Grenville lived below the poverty line.

A September 14 article from Le Journal de Montréal stating that Lachute and Hawkesbury/Grenville were among the poorest regions in Quebec prompted both the town of Grenville and Lachute to send press releases to clear the air.

Aside from stating that Lachute is trying its best to create a climate favorable for businesses to flourish, it also stated that 34 per cent of its population are older than 65 and is most likely retired and have seen their personal income reduced. According to the press release, 600 jobs were created in Lachute since 2014.

As for Grenville, its press release also mentioned economic development efforts supported by the MRC Argenteuil. It also mentioned that the percentage of families living below the poverty line had seen a 4.6 per cent reduction since 2005 and is now 23.1 per cent.

Both towns defended their assets for raising a family and for investors, businesses and industries looking for an available workforce and favorable conditions.

Comments from Mayor Charlebois on Hawkesbury’s ranking and economic situation will be given on Friday September 22 during a press conference at the town hall at 11 h 15.