Once again we want to thank the community for following the rules we put in place to keep us as safe as possible during the pandemic. As the number of cases in Manitoba has decreased and there are currently no cases in the north, we lifted the lockdown and are slowly easing the other conditions in place.
We are now trying to plan for the continuation of our current infrastructure projects – the completion of our water treatment plant and the new high school. We have been working with the contractors and the office of Manitoba’s Chief Public Health Officer, FNIB and the regional health authority to ensure that proper plans are in place before any of the Kelsey and Penn-Co workers are allowed to return to the job sites in our community.
All Penn-Co workers are from within Manitoba and it is expected that they will not have travelled outside the province before coming to NCN. The Kelsey workers will be coming from out of province. All contractors will be required to follow approved mitigation plans while working in our community.
We hope everyone understands we are faced with an extremely difficult situation as we need our new water treatment plant to be up and running as soon as possible. The costs of not continuing are very significant and we could lose our funding for the projects if we do not go ahead now.
The existing plant has been over-capacity for a number of years and the COVID-19 situation has increased our demand for water. We do not want to face the winter, and potentially a second wave of COVID-19 without our community having a safe, reliable source of water. Bottom line is we need to complete this important project but we must also take steps to ensure the ongoing health and safety of our community.
We are also desperately in need of a new high school for our students. The old facility is well beyond its prime. All the workers for this project are from Manitoba. Therefore, we are reasonably confident on the basis of the approved mitigation plans that continuing with this project should not negatively impact the health and safety of our community
In the meantime, NCN Order in Council 313-2020-14 dated June 18, 2020 is now in effect. Please review the OIC and the Q and A’s we have developed to assist you understand the rules or have someone review them with you as we want to remind everyone that violations of the rules could result in further fines or other penalties including the cancellation of the permit which allows you to bring alcohol and cannabis onto NCN Lands.
The new OIC approved today includes the following changes:
- The NCN State of Emergency will remain in effect until July 19, 2020;
- If you live in the community, you can now travel throughout Manitoba as long as you register with the FNSOs at the check-stop when you leave and when you come back.
- Travel outside of Manitoba is still not permitted.
- You will be able to return to the community without isolating on your return as long as you only travelled within Manitoba.
- NCN Citizens in southern Manitoba or from out of province cannot come for a visit or to attend a funeral or other event as travel into northern Manitoba is still restricted by Provincial Public Health orders.
- You can bring the allowable limits of cannabis and alcohol into the community twice a week instead of once a week as long as you have a valid permit and have paid any fines or have completed community service.
- The Community Protection Law regulation remains in effect except for this change so this means that if you violated any of the OIC provisions your permit will be cancelled and you will not be allowed to reapply for 3 months for a first offence, 6 months for a second offence and for 12 months for a 3rd offence.
- The VLT Centre will open on Monday June 22nd and will be open daily from 10:30 am to 10:30 pm at a reduced capacity of 50% and with a number of other physical distancing and other required measures in place.
- Gatherings have been increased to 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors subject to following all the physical distancing, sanitizing and other public health requirements.
- The ATEC facilities will remain available as an isolation unit in case it is needed on short notice.
- Although the lockdown has been lifted, if the number of cases in Manitoba rises again then the lockdown may have to be put back into place.
I again want to stress that our team really appreciates how difficult it has been from March till now on all of us. We hope everyone continues to be very, very cautious as the virus is still active and with businesses re-opening and more people travelling into Thompson, etc. we must remain vigilant. If you have any of the COVID-19 symptoms then you should get tested. In the meantime, it is still important to:
- wash your hands frequently;
- clean your homes and vehicles frequently with sanitizing solutions;
- not share utensils, cigarettes, cannabis or drinks; and
- maintain a safe distance (six feet or 2 meters) from you and other people who do not live in the same household.
I also want to remind everyone that we all must do our part to keep each other safe as if the number of cases increases then we will have to reconsider whether to re-implement the lockdown. Please be careful. By working together we can continue to keep our community safe.