The Friendship Agreement: A Decade of Success and Collaboration!

United Counties of Prescott and Russell Press Release

Hawkesbury, August 30, 2022 – Elected Officials from the MRC d’Argenteuil, the MRC de Papineau, and the United Counties of Prescott and Russell (UCPR) gathered today at Le Chenail Cultural Centre to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Friendship Agreement, an innovative interregional partnership.

Ratified on August 30, 2012, in Thurso, the Agreement aims to enable the three regions to work towards the development of frank and sincere relationships as well as to maintain privileged ties through various activities that facilitate mutual understanding and knowledge of each territory. It also encourages the creation of natural and strategic alliances in the areas of culture, heritage, recreational tourism, education, sports, the environment, and social commitment.

“To ensure the development of our communities, it is essential that our territories work together and demonstrate a collaborative spirit,” explained the Reeve of the MRC de Papineau, Benoit Lauzon. “By allowing regional leaders to exchange ideas and take concrete actions, the Friendship Agreement represents the very essence of this collaboration that has lasted for more than a decade.”

During the ceremony, the many accomplishments of the past decade, including the signing of the Friendship Agreement, the launch of the Cycl-O-Route, the Ottawa River Protection Declaration, and a partnership with the Ottawa Riverkeeper, were highlighted. As part of this partnership, nine shoreline cleanups were conducted and an app that allows for self-collection and quantification of the amount of garbage collected was launched.

“We are proud to have joined the MRC de Papineau, the MRC d’Argenteuil, and the United Counties of Prescott and Russell in supporting their efforts to protect the majestic Ottawa River,” added the Riverkeeper and Executive Director of the Ottawa Riverkeeper, Laura Reinsborough. “These communities have been able to look beyond geographical boundaries to protect a shared jewel.” 

The event also provided an opportunity for regional elected officials to hold a cake-cutting ceremony, followed by discussions about the Agreement’s priorities, which had not been possible since the beginning of the pandemic.

“Despite the pandemic, our communities have continued to rely on collaboration and mutual support to ensure the safe implementation of our watershed protection efforts,” said the Warden of the UCPR, Daniel Lafleur. “I sincerely believe that the Friendship Agreement has come into its own during these challenging times, and we have every reason to celebrate our successes.”

 “It is obvious that over the past ten years, the Friendship Agreement has had many positive effects on our respective territories,” added the Reeve of the MRC d’Argenteuil, Scott Pearce. “Always with the objective of improving the quality of life in our communities, we are committed to continuing our collaboration and the implementation of meaningful projects.”

Ottawa River Keeper

As a grassroots charity, Ottawa Riverkeeper brings together volunteers, communities, businesses and all levels of government to find solutions to the problems that threaten the health of our river. 

The Ottawa River is the source of drinking water for several million people, and it provides us with a vast playground for everything from sailing and swimming to paddlesports and fishing.

But all these activities depend on clean water and a healthy river system, and the threats to the Ottawa River and the waters that feed it are pressing and real.

Get Involved with Ottawa River Keeper or learn more about their initiative

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Not being able to gather in large groups should not stop us from protecting the Ottawa River watershed. You can still clean your local shoreline on your own or with the people you live with! That is why we invite you to safely take to the shores with iCleanup, where you can track your cleanups to see how much waste you and the watershed community have kept out of our waterways!

Learn more about the ICleanup App now!