Municipality supporting call for “partnership and collective leadership”
Tim Brody - Editor
The Municipality of Sioux Lookout is supporting Grand Council Treaty#3 Ogichidaa (Grand Chief) Francis Kavanaugh’s July 31 call for “partnership and collective leadership” to address social issues faced by the City of Kenora and other towns in Northwestern Ontario.
“There is a need to share ideas, break down misconceptions and collectively problem solve,” said Ogichidaa Kavanaugh in a July 31 media release issued by Grand Council Treaty#3. “There is an urgent need to convene an Emergency Meeting of Treaty#3 leadership and our municipal Mayors as I believe we are facing a Social Emergency of epidemic proportions.”
Grand Council Treaty#3’s media release goes on to state, “The announcement from Kenora-Rainy River MPP Greg Rickford and representatives of the Kenora District Services Board on the closure of the Kenora Shelter this past week is deeply troubling for many who rely on the shelter beds for their daily survival. The new $1.1 million homeless shelter which opened in March is being temporarily shut down due to the prevalence of illicit drugs, and other alleged criminal activity. It will be shuttered on August 12 for over a month, at the height of tourism season.
“Kenora, along with other towns in Northwestern Ontario, has struggled to address the meth crisis and accompanying issues of homelessness, human trafficking, and increased calls to emergency services and hospital visits.”
“Sioux Lookout is eager to come together with the many stakeholders, and in particular the Provincial Government which is primarily responsible for addressing these types of social issues, to have a meaningful conversation and begin the process of finding realistic solutions to the various issues facing our communities,” commented Sioux Lookout Mayor Doug Lawrance.
“In fact, on May 3rd of this year, Sioux Lookout issued a similar request to Federal, Provincial and Indigenous leaders, namely, to establish a Task Force to begin to address the complex, deep-seated and historic issues facing our community,” Lawrance explained.
“In recognition of the emergence of similar issues in other Municipalities throughout the Kenora District, we are now updating our request so that we can work directly with Ogichidaa Kavanaugh. As Sioux Lookout is a service hub for 30 Nishnawbe-Aski Nation (NAN) communities, we feel that NAN must be at the table, as well as the Provincial, Federal and Indigenous orders of government,” Lawrance remarked.
In a media release issued by The Municipality of Sioux Lookout, “Lawrance says that he recognizes and supports the efforts undertaken by the Kenora District Services Board (KDSB) to work with Municipal, Provincial and Indigenous partners to find District-wide solutions to these issues. Sioux Lookout looks forward to working with KDSB throughout this process.”
“The Kenora District Services Board plays a critical role in helping to address and provide resources for a variety of social matters throughout the District. KDSB will serve as the critical link in bringing a common voice to the District’s social challenges at a table of common understanding, which we hope will include all of noted parties,” concluded Lawrance.