Friday, September 28, 2007

OPP seize 'drug car'

Ontario provincial police have sent a stern warning to any drivers shipping drugs through this part of Northeastern Ontario – when they get caught, the vehicle will be seized.
That was evident today when a tow-truck from Espanola arrived in South Porcupine to collect a vehicle seized in the course of a routine investigation where drugs were found. The vehicle will be held in a government compound until the case goes to court. At that time, it may be returned to the suspect, or it may be forfeited to the crown.
The car, a 1998 Nissan Altima, was stopped by police, on Highway 101 in Ogden Township in Timmins on Sept. 7. After searching the vehicle, police officers found quantities of marijuana, hashish and cocaine along with $7,500 in cash.
Police arrested 20-year-old Steven Guidon-Lebel of Val d’Or and laid charges of drug possession, drug trafficking and breach of probation.
Guidon-Lebel had a court hearing and was released on bail, but police decided to keep the vehicle says Community Services Officer Const. Marc Depatie.
“Officers of the OPP South Porcupine crime unit sought and received a management order from the Ontario Court of Justice, whereby now we are seizing this vehicle up until such time as the matter is before the court,” said Depatie.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Winnebago fire on Preston

A recreational vehicle was destroyed and there was smoke damage to nearby buildings as the the result of a fire on Preston Street in Timmins last night. Firefighters doused the fire quickly. There were no reports of injuries. The cause of the fire has yet to be released and is under investigation.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

United Steelworkers Union wants Kidd Miners

The United Steelworkers Union says is has launched a new organizing campaign aimed at the Xstrata Copper Kidd Mine workers.
“We have established ourselves with a drop in centre located across from Northern College in Porcupine,” says United Steelworkers (USW) organizer Myles Sullivan.
“We are inviting all Kidd Creek Mine workers who wish to ask questions or information about the Steelworkers to stop by and visit us,” said Sullivan.
He said the USW has also set up a telephone hotline at 235-1488.
Sullivan says there is a marked difference between what is offered to the Xstrata workers in Sudbury and those in Timmins.
Sullivan says USW also offers expertise in terms of miner health and safety issues.
The Kidd Mine in Timmins has been in operation for 40 years and has never been unionized.
There was an attempt to certify the Kidd Mine workers in the 1990’s but it was not successful.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Gas Leak Evacuates Elementary School

Firefighters were called to the scene at St. Paul's elementary school today shortly before 11 a.m. A gas leak was reported. Students were evacuated from the school while the building was inspected. At roughly 11:15, the students were sent to Queen Elizabeth Public. The school was turned over to Union Gas by 11:30 to further investigate the leak. The cause of the gas leak is unknown at this time.

Timmins firefighters get special training

Did ya hear the one about the firefighter who jumped out the window and slid down the fire hose? It’s no joke.
Firefighters in Timmins are the first in Northern Ontario to learn that as part of the newest and latest lifesaving techniques.
They have been practicing their skills this week at the Northern College fire training building beside Porcupine Lake.
“For the most part, our firefighters key on saving others,” said chief fire training officer Rick Dubeau,
“This is teaching firefighters how to save themselves and how to save their brother firefighters,” he added.
“They’re learning how to exit the building and get down the ladder face first and upside down.”
While the idea of jumping out a window and going down a ladder face first seems like the wrong thing to do, Dubeau says it’s actually the quickest way to leave a building in the event something goes wrong.
Geoff Boisseau, a fire training officer from Toronto, agrees.
“If you watch someone turn around on a ladder it takes a long time, especially if the partner is coming out behind him, so the longer he takes to turn around, the greater peril the partner will be in,” said Boisseau.
Events such as an explosion, a collapsing building, or flames running out of control are the sorts of things that would force a firefighter to escape the obvious danger.
The training involves professional firefighters as well as the students in Northern’s firefighter training program. This week’s training was realistic, so realistic in fact that one firefighter suffered a dislocated shoulder on Monday.
Deputy Chief Joe Stojkiewicz said he is confident the injured firefighter will be fine, but agreed that realistic training is necessary owing to the urgency of the work firefighters are required to do.
Boisseau says the new program is going to be part of the regular training regimen for all fire departments in Ontario.
Dubeau adds that the training involves three elements – learning to stay as safe as possible while fighting a fire, learning how to rescue yourself and learning how to rescue your partner. The training also teaches the firefighters they can use the high strength fire hoses as an escape rope in an emergency.
Dubeau says it’s all about learning to survive with whatever tools you have on hand right now.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

City goes $10 million in debt

The City of Timmins is going more than ten million dollars into debt for the first time since the city was declared debt-free in the year 2000.
The city passed a debenture bylaw Monday night to purchase a mortgage-type debenture in the amount of $10.3 million dollars. The city is buying the mortgage from the Ontario Infrastructure Projects Corporation, an Ontario crown agency set up to help municipalities pay for large projects. The money is being used to pay for the new Timmins police building, and the city’s share of the medical office building on Ross Avenue.
The $10.3 million loan has to be paid back over 20 years. The full cost of the payback is $16.6 million, meaning the loan will cost the city $6.3 million.
Mayor Tom Laughren says it’s a good move considering the fact Timmins now has to pay for things it never had to worry about in the 1990’s.
“Well this is probably the first debenture we’ve had since .pre-2000, when we wanted to be debt free,” the mayor told The Times.
Laughren said being debt-free “was a great idea” but he added “nobody had a vision in the early 90s the provincial government and the federal government were going to download so many responsibilities to the municipalities.”
Laughren says the debenture gives the city a favourable interest rate, 5.1 per cent, and allows the city to pay for the projects in a reasonable and timely fashion.
“I think over this term of council you’re going to see a little bit of that only because we’ve been challenged with the police building, we’ve been challenged you know with 20 to 25 million dollars with the water plant, and the medical school which everybody knew at the time was going to be debentured,” he added.
So does this mean the city is going to delve deeper and deeper into debt? Laughren says council will have to be cautious.
“I think we have to be very careful when we look at projects that we don’t we don’t get it in our mind that we’re just going to borrow to pay for these projects,” the mayor said.
“These projects will have to be well planned. I think if you use the police building as an example, there was many partners brought into the police building after the actual original budget presentation.
“There were funding agencies that came on board and that’s a project that comes in under budget, which is very unusual in a government world,” the mayor added.
Laughren says the days of taking the ‘pay-as-you-go’ attitude are not longer reasonable. He says sewer and water plant upgrades in the new few years will demonstrate that. He says if the city is not able to borrow the millions of dollars it needs, “people would be paying for more water, as an example, than they would for taxes.”
“So sometimes we have a little bit of debt,” said the mayor. “I mean we all carry mortgages on our house and we’d all like to be debt-free but it doesn’t always work that way.”

Friday, September 7, 2007

Another airport incident

Another incident at the Timmins Airport saw emergency vehicles scrambling Thursday. An Air Creebec cargo plane inbound for Timmins radioed that it was experiencing hydraulic problems. The Hawker Siddley 748 made a safe landing but it had to be towed to the hangar. The matter is under investigation.