Skip to content

Timmins mayor weighs in on Northern Ontario bubble

'It’s very difficult when we live in a world of just-in-time inventories'

Timmins Mayor George Pirie isn't sold on the idea of a Northern Ontario bubble.

Amid the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, the idea of a regional bubble continues to resurface.

Today, Pirie said the logistics of the supply chain and the case numbers in Northern Ontario are some of the challenges with the concept.

“I think we’d have to have an iron-clad plan if you will vis-a-vis transportation of goods and services. It’s very difficult when we live in a world of just-in-time inventories,” he said.

The discussion on the bubble was brought up at today's virtual State of the City with Pirie hosted by the Timmins Chamber of Commerce.

While Pirie says he hasn't talked to other mayors, leaders across the north have talked publicly about the concept.

In North Bay, Mayor Al McDonald has said he's heard talk of the bubble, but it's never been a serious discussion as a way to limit visitors from southern Ontario. For logistics, he questioned if the city or health unit has the authority to close down highways and noted the serious traffic issues that could cause.

Sudbury Mayor Brian Bigger also talked about the challenges of roadblocks and said it's up to the province to do its part. 

In Timmins, Pirie said a "tremendous" job has been done. 

“The cases that we had within a couple of our large major employers resulted because individuals travelled from other areas; from Sudbury and from Toronto, worked there and they arrived with COVID-19,” he said.

To date, there have been 191 cases of the virus in the Porcupine Health Unit region since the start of the pandemic. Of those, 95 have been in Timmins.

The city has used the same approach since the start of the pandemic, he said.

"Every single individual is responsible for their own safety, every single individual is responsible for the safety of their kids and their family and relatives,” he said.

Public health measures such as physical distancing and masking, he said, are paramount.

“The more rules we place, the more confusion ensues and the message is best that it should be simple. Keep your distance, wear your masks, protect yourself. That has not changed, there would not be a new case if we just followed that advice,” he said.