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Armed Forces touch down in North Bay for emergency training this weekend

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This weekend, the Canadian Armed Forces will be conducting an emergency response training exercise with local government and partner agencies in Mattawa and North Bay.

‘Trillium Venture’ is being held across Ontario. It’s led by Joint Task Force Central, headquartered in Toronto, and includes members of the armed forces from the Canadian Army, Royal Canadian Air Force and the Royal Canadian Navy.

Friday morning, a Hercules CC-130 jet landed at the North Bay Jack Garland Airport. Crew members scrambled into action, unloading critical supplies from the Canadian Force Base in Kingston and putting the cargo into trucks for delivery. (Photo from video)

Friday morning, a Hercules CC-130 jet landed at the North Bay Jack Garland Airport. Crew members scrambled into action, unloading critical supplies from the Canadian Force Base in Kingston and putting the cargo into trucks for delivery.

“The aircraft landed on time and then we saw the green trucks rolling up,” said 22 Wing/Canadian Forces Base Lieutenant Col. Ken Bedley.

“So it's a true indication of that -- that joint coordinated planning effort between the army and the air force.”

Around 200 soldiers from the Canadian Army’s 33 Canadian Brigade Group will form 33 Territorial Battalion Group, including soldiers from the region deploying to the North Bay and Mattawa areas in a realistic emergency response scenario.

Military members and assets will respond to a simulated flooding emergency that devastated the town’s infrastructure and citizens.

The crew will prepare a unified response with local, regional and other partners in the community.

Brig.-Gen. Joshua Major, commander of 4th Division and Joint Task Force, is overseeing the operation. He actually grew up in Mattawa.

“When the call comes for us to participate in a situation, we have to be ready to step up immediately,” Major told reporters.

“The leadership was keen on having us present. So we chose that community because of some of those factors. We're doing this exercise approximately about across seven or eight communities across Ontario.”

The exercise will include various RCAF aircraft landing, including CH-147 Chinook helicopters that will deliver cargo in the heart of Mattawa on Saturday afternoon, and then conduct troop transports around the area.

Waterborne assets, including those from the Naval Reserve, will also participate in the joint exercise.

Activities will also include the participation of other government departments and first responders including police and fire services, Emergency Management Ontario, local governments and others.

The arena complex will serve as a headquarters and will house nearly 150 soldiers during the exercise. The Mike Rodden Arena, located at 450 Hurdman St. in Mattawa, will be inaccessible during the exercise.

Mattawa Mayor Raymond Belanger recalled the 2019 floods in the community and said the town and its citizens can use this opportunity as a chance to learn.

“We suffered a lot of infrastructure damage. We are trying to get better in case, you know, that we have to meet another flood of that of that size,” Belanger said.

Mattawa will host a Meet-a-Soldier event on Saturday from 1-4 p.m. Military, police, fire and other first responders will attend with vehicles and displays for all ages. The event will take place at the Mattawa Museum parking lot, 285 First St. 

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