A plea by the mayor of Val Rita-Harty’s to improve highways in the north has been heard loud and clear by the province. The Ministry of Transportation is setting up a Northern Ontario Taskforce to see what changes could be made to Highways 11 and 17. Johanne Baril was thrilled about the government’s decision and says the timing of the announcement could be a combination of answering her call and election time.
“But that being said there’s a lot of information being shared by government in the past few days and I think this was just a little fire that they needed to actually make this announcement at this time,” she said.
Baril who asked for the call to action by the province outlines the plan for the group.
“I was told that both co-chairs were going to sit down next week with the MTO officials work on some terms of reference and perhaps the week following is when we are going to have our first meeting,” she said.
Baril will be one of the 13-member task force along with Kapuskasing Mayor Dave Plourde, Ontario Northland Transportation Chairman Al Spacek, indigenous leaders and trucking companies. Preliminary meetings with the co-chairs of the task force are expected to take place this week, and Baril says that it could be at least another week before the full group gets together for the first time.