As he nears the end of a four-year term as L’Orignal councillor in Champlain Township, Marc Séguin is up front about his priorities.
“L’Orignal needs a hall,” he says, adding that the issue has been on the table for six to eight years and nothing has happened.
The Knights of Columbus, which sold its meeting hall a few years ago, has pledged to support a new building, Séguin says. The group will donate $150,000 to $175,000.
“That would be a good start.”
But he wants Champlain Township to set aside up to $500,000 for the project, saying that the centre does not have to be a “Cadillac”, but “people have to have a place to meet.” He says a hall which could accommodate about 175 people would be ideal. And he knows where it should be built. Séguin says the municipal park would be perfect, converting the Chalet Abri, currently a small meeting space at the mark, into a storage space.
“I think a hall there would also help the campground,” Séguin maintained. Twenty-three of the 50 lots are rented year-round, he pointed out. There has been talk at council about closing the campground, but Séguin says that will not happen this year.
The former Metro Richelieu building in L’Orignal was not the right place for a hall, Séguin said. The township had briefly eyed that location, but Séguin says that too much work would have been needed to convert it into a public hall.
The building is currently being renovated and will be used as a warehouse space for Sealtest, says Séguin, employing between 15 and 20 people.
Séguin says that he likes politics and likes to stay informed.
“I want to keep taxes as low as possible. We have people on fixed incomes . . . and I think that is important. And I want to see the community centre completed.”
When it comes to the controversial proposed cement plant, Séguin is clear.
“I am for Colacem. They say it could create 120 jobs but even if it creates 75 jobs, that’s employment. That (the vote for or against a zoning amendent needed to move the project forward) was one of the most difficult decisions because you have to respect democracy and the opinions of the other councillors. But I won’t change my opinion — I was against giving tax dollars to Action Champlain — I think that will come back to us,” Séguin commented.
When the issue first came to the council table, Séguin says it should have been presented to ratepayers as a referendum.
“People don’t want to put their names on a petition and those who are for it don’t want to say so, but I have had a lot of people say they agree with me.”
There is still a lot of room for businesses to locate in Champlain Township and keep young people working here, Séguin says.
Séguin’s current term as councillor is a return to office, after serving a three-year term as councillor when he was elected in 1997 for the 1998 to 2000 term. His campaign for a second term as Champlain councillor saw him lose that election by 10 votes. He says he took a break after that. But the veteran councillor has served previously as a councillor for the Village of L’Orignal, going back to 1988. He did a first term as a councillor, then as Deputy-Reeve.
He has served as Deputy Fire Chief for the Village of L’Orignal and says he worked hard with Marcel Huneault, former L’Orignal fire chief, to have the existing fire station built. Séguin is on the board of La Seigneurie, a 26-unit apartment building for senior citizens, located on Bay Road and he also organizes an annual fundraising golf tournament for the L’Orignal Food Bank. This year’s event takes place on August 12. He has been involved in this event for about 15 years.
Overall, Séguin says that municipal mergers have served taxpayers well, especially when it comes to water and sewage services, which have been amalgamated for some time now, making fees more affordable for all users.
He will be conducting his campaign door-to-door in L’Orignal. You can reach him by calling 613-675-2671.