COVID-19 Island leadership committee is making progress


MANITOULIN – The members of the COVID-19 Leadership Co-ordination Committee met again earlier this week, and report that progress is being made toward co-ordinating its COVID-19 responses.

“The members of the committee convened their second meeting today and are pleased to report that important consensus was reached on expanding this important initiative to further enhance the representativeness of the committee, including additional Indigenous and non-Indigenous leadership,” a release explained. United Chiefs and Councils of Mnidoo Mnising (UCCMM) Tribal Chair Patsy Corbiere told the Recorder after the meeting, “from our initial meeting other mayors/reeves had called and wanted to be involved, as did two other First Nation chiefs. So it was decided to bring everyone in.” 

Chair Corbiere said, “the intent of the committee is to get working together as a collective front on COVID-19. We want to build positive relationships and develop strategies together. And it is working.”

“The committee members are also in full agreement that it is essential for the health of the people of Manitoulin Island that non-essential travelers should stay home,” the release stated. “We ask that everyone stay home, stay safe and do not travel onto, or off of, Manitoulin Island. In line with both federal and provincial guidelines, we are urging people to be sensitive to the vulnerability of many of our Island’s population and to not travel onto Manitoulin Island.” 

“We are looking at this long weekend, if there are problem areas, for instance if people don’t heed the messages and barriers in place not to visit the Bridal Veil Falls in Kagawong,” said Chair Corbiere. “These are the things we will be looking at what we need to work on.” She pointed out another example of a concern at present is that the boat launch in Aundeck Omni Kaning is being over-run by people from other communities, because in other areas the boat launches are closed. She pointed out as well, AOK council is not closing Highway 540.

“The committee has identified a way to move forward through respectful dialogue and identifying those issues that unify us rather than divide the people of Manitoulin Island,” the release continued. “Detailed work was accomplished in discussing and agreeing on a formal framework for the committee’s ongoing work. Further, we will ensure the committee is broad enough to be fully inclusive. We exchanged ideas on what each of our communities have done so far to respond to COVID-19, and it was clear that we are all in this together.”