April 1, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to be of increasing concern to the Chief & Council and Membership of the Moose Cree First Nation (MCFN). Sharing our concern are our local and regional partners and Chief Mervin Cheechoo has been participating in frequent conference calls with them to discuss ways to mitigate the risks to our Membership and to all citizens of the region.
On March 25, 2020, the Mushkegowuk Chiefs passed a resolution, moved by Chief Mervin Cheechoo, calling for the temporary two-week suspension of the Ontario Northland Railway (ONR) passenger train as he and the other Mushkegowuk Chiefs were deeply concerned that the train’s continued operation could be the way COVID-19 reaches our communities.
On April 1st, 2020 discussions concluded with ONR, the Town of Moosonee, MoCreebec, Weeneebayko Area Health Authority (WAHA) and the Mushkegowuk Chiefs regarding the ONR passenger train and the decision was made to temporarily suspend services.
The last train, for a two-week period, will operate on Monday April 6th from Cochrane to Moosonee and returning to Cochrane that evening. Monitoring of the situation and discussion with our partners will continue throughout the suspension of services.
The freight train services will continue normal operations and the suspension only applies to passenger train service.
All necessary arrangements are being made with WAHA and the provincial Ministry of Health to ensure residents of Moose Factory and Moosonee that need to travel south for urgent medical appointments will be able to do so during the suspension of passenger train services. During the month of April, MCFN will also have use of a plane that can be used to transport patients that need to travel south for urgent medical appointments, and this service will be available to all residents of Moose Factory and Moosonee that may need it and will not be restricted to only MCFN members.
This decision was made with our local and regional partners in the interests of the health and safety of our community members. It is this spirit of shared concern and cooperation that will see us through these difficult and stressful times. Please continue to take of yourselves and take care of each other.
For questions or further information please contact:
Jeff Hunter, Executive Services Coordinator, MCFN