Two drownings have occurred since 2019 in an area without cellphone coverage in Notre-Dame-de-Montauban. (archive).
Two drownings have occurred in the space of three years in a sector without cellular coverage in Notre-Dame-de-Montauban. The Mayor of the Municipality, Marcel Picard, urges Quebec and Ottawa to act to allow citizens to alert the authorities more quickly in the event of a problem.
On Saturday, emergency teams took 50 minutes to arrive at the scene where Christian Bourré was last seen before sinking in the waters of the Batiscan River. The 49-year-old didn't stand a chance. Although he was accompanied, he was in an area cut off from the cellular network.
Even the Sûreté du Québec agent who was on the ground yesterday asked me if he could call. I told him: "no, there is no cellular network. You have to go to the lady over there", says Marcel Picard.
“We are very vulnerable. »
— Marcel Picard, Mayor of Notre-Dame-de-Montauban
A similar event occurred in 2019. Due to a lack of cellular coverage, Patrick Bouchard went drowned without his friend being able to reach 911. The latter had estimated that about thirty minutes had passed before he could find a telephone in a neighboring chalet.
It's really minimal, the places that have a network [in the sector], confirms Marcel Picard. 95% of places have no network.
Marcel Picard believes that prevention is essential with citizens. With the [heat], people will continue to bathe. The cellular network will not be for tomorrow.
The municipality's solitary confinement is unacceptable, adds the mayor, who expects Quebec and Ottawa to correct the situation. Access to high-speed Internet has improved in recent years in this sector, but not the cellular network.
Cellular coverage is a federal jurisdiction, but the member for Champlain , Sonia LeBel, says she is actively working on her deployment in the MRC of Mékinac.
If we are re-elected, our government plans to produce an up-to-date cell coverage map in the first months of our mandate, says its press secretary, Florence Plourde. A deployment plan for 100% coverage will be unveiled by 2024.
The Minister made the same speech in 2019, the day after Patrick Bouchard drowned.
It's disastrous how the cellular network, still in 2022, is so hard to find; we are talking about a municipality that is less than an hour from Trois-Rivières, says the youth representative of the Parti Québécois in Champlain, Alexandre Lallemand. He regrets that the CAQ government has not acted in this file.
Marcel Picard welcomes the collaboration of the provincial government, but recalls that time is running out. Of course we will support him in this, but I can't wait to see the plans and especially the timelines, he said.
The member for Saint- Maurice-Champlain and Federal Minister François-Philippe Champagne were unavailable for an interview on Monday.
With information from Magalie Masson