Good morning, Greater Sudbury! Here are a few stories to start your day on this Friday morning.
Fire destroys homeless camp near Larch Street in downtown Sudbury
No injuries occurred when fire destroyed a homeless encampment near the square on Larch Street on Thursday afternoon. Heavy black smoke could be seen throughout the downtown area after several tents and other items in the camp area went up in flames. Items that were destroyed included tents, sleeping bags, clothing, an office chair and a bicycle. Greater Sudbury firefighters were on the scene in minutes with a pumper truck and were able to extinguish the blaze quickly. No one could say how the fire began, but a fire department official on the scene said no one was injured. A citizen standing nearby suggested somebody might have been using some sort of heating device or a cooking fire and that it got out of control. Several bystanders gathered across the street from the encampment to watch the firefighters do their work. Firefighters wrapped up their work in a matter of about 20 minutes. Some fire officials remained on the scene to examine some of the burnt debris.
Council approvals might remove the KED as a municipal election issue
The wheels are in motion for the Kingsway Entertainment District to be set in stone before the Oct. 24 election, potentially removing the contentious issue from candidates’ platforms. During this week’s city council meeting, Ward 1 Coun. Mark Signoretti – a long-time KED opponent – questioned whether the current city council could bind future councils. “It certainly is a regular practice that contracts and projects in municipalities will span from one council to another, so it is envisioned that councils of the day would enter into arrangements or contracts that would commit to various projects,” city solicitor and clerk Eric Labelle responded to the councillor’s question. “The next council could potentially decide to set aside a contractual arrangement or decide to take a different approach that may present liability for the municipality and in some cases might present a very substantial liability, but that would certainly be at the discretion of the future council at that point.” On the table is a project completion agreement, which all of the KED partners, including the city, are expected to sign early in the third quarter of this year and legally bind them to completing their respective shares of the project.
Opioid-related incidents in Sudbury jump by almost 40% in less than a year
With the latest Sudbury public health figures showing a 40-per-cent jump in the number of "suspected opioid-related incidents" in less than a year, a new public awareness video campaign has been launched by Sudbury Rainbow Crime Stoppers. Crime Stoppers said this is phase-two of the Youth Opioid Awareness Campaign (YOAC) that was first launched last summer. The new phase of the program includes four interview videos and four YOAC videos that will be rolled over the course of several weeks. The videos will include comments from community partners including the Regional Coroner's Office, Laurentian University Forensic Science, Sudbury Action Centre for Youth (SACY). "As members of our local, provincial, national and global communities it is a social imperative that we all do everything in our power to mitigate the negative impacts of the opioid crisis," said a Crime Stoppers news release. This comes at the same time as newly released numbers from Public Health Sudbury and Districts and the Community Drug Strategy shows a marked increase in the number of suspect opioid-related incidents that occurred from January through to the end of November 2021.
Ontario Auditor General says she’ll appeal Laurentian documents court ruling
Ontario Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk said she will be appealing a court ruling that says Laurentian University is not required to provide her office with privileged information as it conducts a value-for-money audit of the insolvent university. She said her response to the Jan. 12 ruling is “surprise and disappointment.” Laurentian declared insolvency last winter, and is undergoing court-supervised restructuring under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA). It is also undergoing a value-for-money audit by the auditor general’s office, but has refused to provide privileged (confidential) information to the audit team. Due to this dispute, Lysyk has asked the courts for an interpretation of what is allowed for under the Auditor General Act. Asked by Sudbury.com what she thinks of Morawetz’s interpretation of the Auditor General Act, Lysyk said the matter will be addressed in the appeal of his ruling. Lysyk said while she “respects the judge,” the process for years has been that her office has received unfettered access to information, both privileged and non-privileged.
No word if internationally trained nurses have been assigned to Sudbury
Ontario hospitals have been told they can expect to see more nurses arriving for work thanks to a new initiative approved by the Ministry of Health that will allow internationally educated nurses to join the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. "Every nurse matters," said Matthew Anderson, CEO of Ontario Health during a news conference Tuesday. "Every person that we can get to that frontline of care makes a difference. And so we're very keen to get this underway. It's fabulous to work with it with the College of Nurses to make this happen," Anderson added. He said the first cohort of new nurses, estimated at about 300, would soon be matched up with about 50 Ontario hospitals to get that first group working right away. HSN communications manager Jason Turnbull said he was aware of the announcement but said at this point it doesn't appear that any of the new nurses is being assigned to Health Sciences North (HSN), the largest hospital in Northern Ontario.
Brace yourself, frigid day in store
The cold weather continues for Friday, but at least there will be some sun. Expect clear skies today and a high of -23. The wind will be out of the northeast at 20 km/h, gusting to 40. The wind chill this morning will be a bitter -42, which will dip just slightly to -34 this afternoon. Frostbite will set in on exposed skin within minutes at those temperatures. Tonight, the skies will stay clear and the wind will remain steady most of the night, before becoming light near morning. The overnight low is -30, but the wind chill will be -35 this evening and -42 overnight.