Timmins city council is making moves to help the evacuated residents of Kashechewan. The remote, fly-in, First Nations community is forced to evacuate every year as their levee is crumbling and the Albany River floods. Mayor Steve Black says the city hasn’t taken in evacuees the last number of years, something he calls a point of contention. He says the First Nation community had the impression that the political side of Timmins wasn’t very welcoming. He says he doesn’t think that was ever the issue, as it just came down to hotel capacity. The low number of open rooms forced Emergency Management Ontario to bump Timmins down the list, and work with other cities instead.
Black says Timmins didn’t have the room for evacuees as there was always a number of events happening around the same time that booked up hotel rooms, like the Sportsman Show. Black says they didn’t want to bring evacuees in for a week, have them leave for a weekend to accommodate bookings, and then bring them back on Monday. But, he says with new hotels opening up in Timmins, there is more room now to welcome evacuees into the city.
Black says city council has passed a resolution that they would like the EMO to consider Timmins before contacting city’s further south, as some evacuees end up in Toronto or Ottawa. The EMO will now evaluate and will potentially be calling the city for help in the future.