Skip to content

Northern Transportation Task Force will study 'unique transportation needs'

The Northern Task Force is made up of community-based leaders. No representative from Timmins among 13 members
ONTC bus 3

What the government is calling "a locally based task force in Northern Ontario" focusing on "transportation needs and opportunities in the region" includes no representatives from Timmins.

The 13 member Northern Task Force, made up of community-based leaders, "will examine ways to make it easier for people and goods to travel, while boosting economic growth in the north," reads a news release issued Friday morning.

“Our government understands that Northern Ontario has unique transportation needs that can make travelling between local communities more challenging for people, and we continue to take action to alleviate these challenges and make travel safer,” said Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Transportation. “The Northern Task Force will ensure transportation plans reflect the diverse voices within the community and inform our government of the most important local needs.”

The task force includes representation from northern mayors, Indigenous chiefs and other business and transportation leaders from across the north, but not Timmins or the James Bay coast.

“Getting the north moving is a top priority for our government,” said Greg Rickford, Minister of Northern Development. “Establishing the Northern Task Force is another critical step in our government’s plan to build a better transportation network for northern Ontarians. We are committed to improving transportation and infrastructure to support a stronger economy for the north.”

The task force members are:

Danny Whalen (Co-Chair): Federation of Northern Ontario Municipalities (FONOM) president and City of Temiskaming Shores councillor

Wendy Landry (Co-Chair): Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association (NOMA) president and Municipality of Shuniah mayor,

Mayor Brian Bigger: Greater Sudbury mayor

Mayor Daniel Reynard: Kenora mayor

Mayor Dave Plourde: Kapuskasing mayor

Mayor Doug Lawrance: Sioux Lookout mayor

Mayor Johanne Baril: Municipality of Val Rita-Harty mayor and NorthEastern Ontario Municipal Association president

Grand Chief Ogichidaa Francis Kavanaugh: Grand Council Treaty #3, Kenora

Chief Melvin Hardy: Northern Superior Regional Deputy Grand Council Chief, Anishinabek Nation

Kevin Eshkawkogan: CEO of Indigenous Tourism Ontario, Manitoulin Island

Alan Spacek: Ontario Northland Transportation Commission chair, Kapuskasing

Charles Cirtwill: Northern Policy Institute president and CEO, Thunder Bay

Ron Bumstead: Bumstead Trucking owner, New Liskeard

Additional members may be added at a later date, according to the release.

“The Minister has heard the concerns of northerners with regards to transportation needs and the safety of our northern highways," said Whalen in the news release. "The quality of the people appointed to this Transportation Task Force ensure reasonable and responsible results.”

Whelan told BayToday that he wouldn't want to see the committee expanded past 15 members, and pointed out that Timmins also doesn't have a representative.