If residents along the James Bay coast need to be evacuated this spring, Timmins could be welcoming more people than last year.
Council is supporting Gervais Emergency Consulting's plan for hosting evacuees in the city.
CAO Dave Landers updated council at its last meeting.
“Timmins is the community that evacuees from the coastal communities that get flooded out in the spring want to come to, they have family relations here, they have service experience here, many of them have doctors here,” he said, adding this is where the residents generally come to shop as well.
He explained the support of council isn't to commit anything financially, but to let the federal government know they're supportive of being a host community.
In the past, Landers said council had issues with the standard funding agreement with the federal government.
“Council was concerned about some of the risk that it was taking on for the residents and for the taxpayers and so had been hesitant to agree to sign a contract,” he said.
Last year, the city worked with a private sector partner, Gervais consulting.
For about four weeks, 400 evacuees from Kashechewan were housed at the Senator Hotel. Landers said the consulting company was the point of contact and worked with the hotel and other community partners.
In preparation for the 2019 spring breakup, Gervais Emergency Consulting has inked a partnership with the Senator Hotel and Ramada Inn. There will be room for up to 700 evacuees.
Work on the plan started in December. According to Landers’ report, the consulting firm will take care of the evacuation logistics, and share the daily emergency briefings. They will also coordinate with the key stakeholders.
The city’s role would be to act as the media lead, provide support services for the police department, bus passes for evacuees, community maps, recreational calendars, and airport services.