The Mayors’ Tour begins its excursion into the Beauharnois-Salaberry region. Who better to start than the mayor of Sainte-Martine and prefect of the Beauharnois-Salaberry RCM.
(Photo Michel Beaudin)
In office since 2014, Maude Laberge takes pride in her work. The Covid-19 pandemic has been a stressful time, but a golden opportunity to show how much she and her administration can achieve.
One of the first actions at the start of the pandemic was to contact community organizations in the region to assess their situation.
“I contacted the volunteer center in the area to find out if there was a shortage of personnel, says Mrs. Laberge. When there was shortage in human resources, the municipality made calls to everyone on their social networks.”
The mayor confides that her administration has also contacted the youth center in order to find out about the concerns of adolescents who frequent the location. It’s the least we can do, she says, to hear from the organizations as they are helping vulnerable populations.
Another measure the municipality implemented during the pandemic is the routine phone calls to all people 70 and over.
“Thanks to the collaboration of the deputy Claire IsaBelle, we had access to the electoral lists to find out who was over 70 years old, says the mayor. Obviously, the lists were returned later. Volunteers then called the elderly to find out if they wanted to receive a call from the municipality. To this day, we still call our elders and it does them a lot of good.”
Maude Laberge is proud of what she accomplished during her years as mayor. She has a particular attachment to the Halte de la Gare project.
This project required the collaboration of the municipality, the RCM and civil society. Mrs. Laberge says she had to push for grants that allowed her to complete the project.
“There are really two projects in one, she exclaims. First of all, we have the cycle path which has been lengthened to fill the regional loop. Then there is the project to revitalize the site of the old station.”
These two projects, now completed, respect the heritage of the old station while having an educational, family and sporting appeal.
“This project lifted the spirit of the people in times of pandemic, she says. This summer, when it opened, residents were able to enjoy this site and think of something else for a moment.”
The municipality also celebrated its 175th anniversary this year. Although the festivities have been reduced due to the pandemic, Mrs. Laberge is proud of what was done despite everything.
City employees symbolically planted 175 trees, including eight mature trees on the site of the Halte de la gare.
A project for Sainte-Martine’s birthday that has not yet been finalized is the publication of a video series on the municipality. It will revisit several themes such as history, culture, sport and agriculture which are all founding elements of Sainte-Martine according to Mrs. Laberge.
Mayor and prefect is work
Asked about daily life and the challenges of juggling two big jobs, Maude Laberge does not see what else she could have done.
“It’s true that it’s a lot of work to be a mayor and a prefect, she explains. We must always be available and we manage large projects. However, it’s in my personality to work a lot. I have always balanced family, personal time and work. This is what I do best.”
She says she works evenings and weekends. According to the prefect, this is part of the moral contract that we sign when we are elected.
“You have to be passionate about what you do, she says. I respond to texts and emails from citizens on Sunday mornings because I care about my job. The recognition of citizens is a feeling that pushes me to go further.”
Maude Laberge mentions that you have to be very organized if you want to occupy two important positions. She specifies that the changing of the hat between mayor and prefect is an asset to perform well in this work.