The Township of Hemmingford is mourning the sudden loss of mayor Paul Viau, who passed away on May 11. The long-time mayor of the municipality started his career in municipal politics in 1983, when he was first elected to the municipal council. He served as prefect for the MRC des Jardins-de-Napierville from 2013 to last November.
In a statement posted to Facebook, the MRC des Jardins-de-Napierville described Mr. Viau as a man of his word with unfailing determination, who believed strongly in the potential of the region. “We are thinking of the members of the municipal team in particular who worked with him on a daily basis and of the citizens of the Township of Hemmingford, for whom he had the greatest respect and who, today, have lost a beacon and an ardent advocate.”
The municipality of the Township of Hemmingford posted an homage to mayor Viau, referring to him as having been a kind and gentle man who will sadly be missed by so many. In a moving tribute in memory of Mr. Viau, the administration and councillors of the municipal office pledged to “work hard to continue what Paul created and was so proud of.”
During his many years in politics, Mr. Viau was known and respected by many, not only in Hemmingford, but throughout the MRC de Jardins-de-Napierville and in neighbouring MRCs, as well as at various levels of the provincial and federal governments. He was involved in several organizations and projects at municipal, MRC and regional levels. Among other initiatives, he was president of the Conférence régionale des élus de la Vallée du Haut-Saint-Laurent (CRÉ) and the Table de concertation de la Montérégie. He was also the founder and president of Concertation Horizon, an integrated regional consultative group supporting social development and educational success in the Montérégie-Ouest.
Neighbouring MRCs and municipalities, businesses, community groups, and organizations expressed sadness and shock online, as the news of his passing spread through the community following his passing. Politicians also reacted, posting messages of respect for Mr. Viau and sadness for his loss.
Huntingdon MNA Claire Isabelle saluted his dedication to the community, saying she was grateful for all the effort he put into to the betterment of the region.
Salaberry-Suroît MP Claude DeBellefeuille wrote that she has “always had a deep respect and affection” for Mr. Viau. “He was a dedicated mayor and a committed prefect, in particular when it came to social development. [He was] A man who was easy to work with.”
The staff of The Gleaner join all those in the region in offering our sincere condolences to Mr. Viau’s wife, his children and extended family. (SR)