SAULT STE. MARIE -- The mayors of northern Ontario’s largest cities are concerned about funding for FedNor, as well as a pre-pandemic proposal to reduce the number of health units in the province.

A letter written by Sault Ste Marie Mayor Christian Provenzano on behalf of the Northern Ontario Large Urban Mayors -- or NOLUM -- calls on the federal government to put more money into FedNor.

“FedNor’s standing and FedNor’s funding to the other federal economic development agencies, it really pales in comparison,” said Provenzano. “The federal government right now is putting a lot of money on the table to help us all collectively work together to build back our economy when we come out of this pandemic.”

NOLUM is made up of the mayors of Sault Ste Marie, Sudbury, North Bay, Timmins and Thunder Bay. Sault Ste Marie MP Terry Sheehan, who is also Parliamentary Secretary to FedNor, has read the correspondence.

“We are always looking at ways to adapt our regional economic support to better serve communities and businesses,” said Sheehan. “I remain engaged and in communication with the mayors, businesses and organizations throughout northern Ontario.”

In a separate letter from NOLUM, Provenzano shifted his focus to the Ontario government, asking it to reconsider its pre-pandemic healthcare modernization plan.

“We don’t want to see the number of public health units reduced so that there are less across the province, and frankly less in northern Ontario,” he said. “What we also don’t want to see happen is the cost of public health to be shifted from the province into the municipal levy.”