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Feds, province announce $1.25M for rehab of Delki Dozzi track, upgrades at Tom Davies Square
Delki Dozzi Park and Tom Davies Square will emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic sporting several upgrades that will keep users of both facilities healthier and safer, federal and provincial officials said on Thursday.
weather (North Bay)
More COVID-19 vaccines coming to Elliot Lake
The Elliot Lake Family Health Team’s (ELFHT) COVID-19 vaccination program is expecting a lot more vaccines over the next few weeks. Nancy Ewen, Elliot Lake Family Health Team executive director, says “It’s going to be a busy month.” This week, the ELFHT will be holding its vaccination clinic at the Collins Hall on Thursday all day. They are to receive 335 doses. Next week, Ewen says they expect to receive 822 doses of the vaccine. As a result, they will have vaccination clinics on three days. Wednesday (June 16) afternoon and all day Thursday (June 17) clinics will for those age 80 years and up and essential workers and those who are to receive their second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccination. On Friday (June 18), the vaccination clinic will be all day and will be for those ages 12 and up for their first Pfizer-BioNTech vaccination. “It seems like there is not as much of a call for first dose, most people are looking for their second dose. Algoma Public Health sends us a certain amount for first doses and a certain amount for second,” says Ewen, adding that first and second shots are the same. For the following week, they will receive about 288 doses and are to have two days of clinics, Thursday, June 24 and Friday, June 25. On the Friday, the clinic is for those who received their first dose of the Moderna version of the vaccine on March 17. They would get their second shot of the Moderna vaccine. Those who are to get their second dose of either the Pfizer-BioNTech or the Moderna versions will be contacted. However, anyone who got their first dose of the vaccine outside of Elliot Lake would have to call the ELFHT to book an appointment. During Canada Day week, they expect to receive 601 doses. They will have two all-day clinics, one on Wednesday, June 30 and on Thursday, July 1, Canada Day. Some of Ewen staff said, “What a better way to celebrate Canada Day than by giving the vaccine.” Ewen adds that the “clinics have been going really well.” On Thursday, June 10, they received 336 doses, but they were able to get an additional 25 doses out of the vials. Ewen says those who have received the AstraZeneca version of the vaccine “are allowed to get Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna; but they have to wait 12 weeks between their first dose of the AstraZeneca and getting another dose of something. It’s been approved now that we’re allowed to give another MRNA vaccine for AstraZeneca.” Ewen cautions those who receive their second dose of any of the vaccines still need to continue to wear masks and keep two metres away from people not in their households. “They still can get COVID-19 even with the second shot, it’s just they don’t get all the symptoms.” “They can still get it (COVID) and they can still spread it, but it probably won’t kill them.” “So, we still need to be vigilant after we get our second dose.” She adds that they have had great community support and volunteers through the vaccination clinics. “The Rotary Club has really stepped up to pull forward. Community members and community businesses have been supporting our lunch breaks, and that has been very appreciated. It’s been a real community effort. It makes me more and more proud of Elliot Lake every day.” Those wanting their first vaccination must have an appointment. To get an appointment for the COVID-19 vaccine, call the ELFHT at 705-461-8882.
Integrity commissioner appeals judge’s decision regarding Pearce’s conflict of interest charge
Ontario Superior Court Justice J. Gareau recently released his decision on the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act charge laid against Elliot Lake Councillor Ed Pearce. The charge against Pearce was made by the city’s former integrity commissioner (IC) E4M Inc. The issue arose regarding the city’s decision to guarantee the rent for Turner’s Department Store in the Pearson Plaza to its owner for 10 years. However, by late 2018 Turner’s could not pay the rent on the space in the plaza. It owed $30,000 to the City of Elliot Lake, and was unable to pay. In the judge’s report it stated that city council wanted to avoid the public learning of the issue. The city “decided that the arrears payment to the landlord would effectively be laundered through ELNOS minimizing the chances that the public would become aware of the arrangement. City staff anticipated that large payments from the city to ELNOS would not attract public attention. In the same way direct payments to Turner’s or the landlord would.” Pearce had been siting on council since Oct. 10, 2017. However, he also had a seat on the ELNOS board since November 2016, which was not appointed by council. At a closed council meeting on the issue, Pearce took a position on the issue and participated in the discussion, which was where the incident took place. Council voted to accept the plan that ELNOS would be repaid the $30,000. Following a complaint, the integrity commissioner’s investigation report concluded that Pearce had violated the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act. Under the rules, a councillor contravening the act could face penalties ranging from a reprimand to removal from office and disqualification from office for up to seven years. The integrity commissioner recommended that Pearce be removed from office. Justice Gareau determined that Councillor Pearce had an indirect pecuniary interest when he voted on a matter at Council. He found that Pearce contravened the statute, but that he should not be removed from office. The IC has taken the position that the penalty of a reprimand ordered by Justice Gareau is not commensurate with the nature and scale of the breach of the statute. The IC is appealing the Gareau’s decision. The case was heard on Dec. 7, 2020. There are no additional details available regarding the appeal, timing and process.
North Shore area First Nations celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day
On June 21, First Nations across Canada including Mississauga, Serpent River (SRFN) and Sagamok Anishnawabek will celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day. The celebratory day had its seeds planted in 1982 by the National Indian Brotherhood. Now known as the Assembly of First Nations, they requested the federal government to create a National Aboriginal Day. Thirteen years later in 1995 Elijah Harper, then chair of the Sacred Assembly, a conference of both Indigenous and non-Indigenous people, asked the government that a national holiday be created to celebrate Indigenous people’s positive contributions in Canadian culture. The same year the Royal Commission on Aboriginal People recommended the designation of a National First Peoples Day. Beginning in 1996 June 21 has been designated National Aboriginal Day with a name change to National Indigenous People’s Day by Prime Minister Trudeau on June 21, 2017.
First Nation runner planning three-day run to Spanish Residential School sites
On July 1, a runner from Wiikwemkoong First Nation will be up at 6 a.m. to begin a daunting three-day run to the site of the former residential schools in Spanish. According to Michael Mj Eshkawkogan, he plans on getting an early start to beat the heat. Eshkawkogan is making this 147-kilometre run to honour children who attended residential schools, and to show others in First Nation communities that although many run from fear, it is possible to stand your ground and face their fears. “I’ve heard many stories of children running away from residential schools. It strikes me that many of us are still ‘running’ from fear. I was running from fear of obesity; I was avoiding my responsibilities to myself. Many children from this time (residential schools) were literally running in fear. I want to show my community they can stand their ground, turn, and face their fears. Maybe even run straight to them,” he said recently. Eshkawkogan is confident he can complete this run. “I’m confident I can do this. I am scared, with good reason but I feel prepared. I’ve been working for something like this for some time. I’m ready,” he acknowledged. He is a novice when it comes to long-distance running; however, family members have in the past set records in running events. His family includes an accomplished group of runners. Eshkawkogan started running in 2019 and admits to having “very little experience in long-distance running.” He has participated in the Wiki 10K Road Race for the past two years. A relative, Jeff Eshkawkogan was an avid runner setting many high school records with some still standing at Espanola High. HIs uncle Jerry Eshkawkogan is also a runner who takes part in the Wikwemikong 10K Road Race every year. Knowing others may want to participate in his run, Eshkawkogan said, “There’s been a bit of interest in some way (for others) to participate. I think I am going to make the first five km of each day a walk, where people can join in something easier.” Eshkawkogan is looking for volunteers with a vehicle who would like to join him and keep him safe. After contacting the police, officials suggested he have a companion vehicle to follow (him) along the highway. He estimates he will be on the highway for six to eight hours each day of the run. He is doing a few local fundraisers leading up to the run dates. He has set a basic budget for food, gas and accommodations. “Rooms are already booked, so now I just need the funds to make this happen.” To prepare for the run, Eshkawkogan believes that extreme mental preparation is needed, “much of the battle is in the mind” for ultramarathon runners. Meanwhile, he says “I continue my (practice) runs, keep my nutrition in check, but I am preparing for all the things coming. It’s going to be brutal; it’s going to be painful, but it’s also going to be worth it.” Eshkawkogan plans on arriving at the site of the Spanish Residential Schools on July 3 in the mid-afternoon. The runner is optimistic he can complete the task at hand. “I’m imbued with strength and fortitude from my preparation, ancestors and community, I feel overwhelming confidence; I can do this.”