Editor’s note: The following is an open letter from Nickel Belt MPP France Gélinas to Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services Yasir Naqvi.
Dear Minister Naqvi:
I am writing again regarding the move of the OPP Rescue Helicopter from Sudbury to the OPP general headquarters in Orillia.
Yesterday, there was a shooting incident at The Sagamok First Nation near Massey. One person was critically injured and is in hospital. A lockdown ensued at local schools and people were advised to stay in and lock their doors. I understand that snow prevented the deployment of the OPP Search and Rescue helicopter from Orillia. I have been told an MNR helicopter was dispatched to help in the search for the suspect, although the MNR is not trained in search and rescue. The suspect was eventually apprehended around midnight, and thankfully no one else was injured.
The public was clearly advised by your government that a formal review of the decision to move the OPP helicopter from Sudbury to Orillia was underway. In July of 2015, the MPP for Sudbury is quoted in the media advising the public that the helicopter move was temporary for the Pan Am games and that it would return to Sudbury until the review was completed.
On Jan. 14, the City of Greater Sudbury passed a resolution urging your government to expedite the redeployment of the OPP rescue helicopter back to the Sudbury Airport. One of the reasons, is that Orillia is in a snow belt and inclement weather is more likely to prevent the deployment of the rescue helicopter during times of need.
People in the north are clearly without this important service. If the formal review supported the move then at the very least make the review public.
I thank you for your attention and look forward to your reply.
MPP for Nickel Belt