2014 Council Predictions

Mayor: K. Hobbs (I)

– Mayor Keith Hobbs has been very important to the City of Thunder Bay when it comes to a number of difficult topics. Aboriginal relations, infrastructure and the event center. With a growing First Nation population in the city; Keith Hobbs has been at the forefront to attempting to make ammends for past government mistakes and inaction. This has created the foundation of which the City, Fort William First Nation and other First Nations can work together on different issues. Infrastructure has also been a major improvement under this council which has been allowed to falter under others. A 1.5% annually tax increase dedicated strictly to infrastructure has helped to reduce the deficit and the long term costs to the city. The Event Center has also been a important topic for the city and this is one where Mr. Hobbs has taken a stand. I agree with his stance of pro-event center with the declaration of additions funds from provincial and federal governments. While we may need to look at toning down the size of the building, the pro stance sits well with me.

At Large: R. Johnston (I)
Rebecca Johnston has been a powerful voice overshadowed in the need to curtain the spending of council but also spending the money to add culture to our city. While I may not agree with all the decisions made by council to add ‘culture’ to our city this is important to the city’s beauty. Rebecca has also be a strong voice in attempting to cut city services that were once able to be carried by the taxbase but no long can be. In a council with more pro-business and tax conscience minds around her we should see a change in how council operates. I also like her as a mentor to the new young minds on council as someone who can mold and drive these individuals.

B. Streib
Barry Steib has a strong reputation within the local business community and a strong push to do things in the community. A partner in helping to create one of Thunder Bay’s best annual events in the Blues Fest these types of ideas are just what we need. A strong business background will also help get the city’s books in order and make sure that the money we are spending is going back in the best possible options. I also like that he isn’t a council veteran so not tied up into the politics but a man with a lot of experience. He can help to guide the city to a better fiscal position and make sure our financial situation is good going forward.

A. Roberto (I)
Aldo is a firecracker and I like that about his personality. He isn’t afraid to show up to council with his ideas and bring forward new ways of doing business. I like Aldo as a moderate on council which will help to facilitate a council which has a lot of right leaning individuals then we are traditionally used to. Many times before Aldo has brought forward the idea of changing the way the city runs it venues and the number of spaces we have. This is the type of thinking we need to make sure that the fields and arenas are safe for users, efficient and reduce the amount of money the average taxpayer pays.

R. Rikards
Rikards is a strong blue collar worker Councillor who brings the perspective of the middle of society to council. I like his ideas to help rejuvenate the downtown Fort William core and he will help to balance out a council which should be business oriented. His service in the military will help him to lead his ideas through the bureaucracy of council and administration. He will help to provide that incite into the needs of the average person and their voice on council. He is also new which means that he doesn’t have an prior affiliations and is coming in with a new set of ideals and views.

F. Pullia
Mr. Pullia took a 4 year break from council and I think that this could help him to bring new ideas to the council table. He has that financial management background that could help to get the city a good deal with regards to the event center and help to find those budgetary cuts the city has been tip toeing around the past 10 years. I like the vision Mr. Pullia has and his background on council can help to mold and guide the new people on council into the future. As part of a business friendly council I can see us pushing through the changes we need to make in order to make our city venues top notch and sustainable through the future.

Neebing: G. Abthorpe

McIntyre: L. Ollivier
Mr. Ollivier brings in a new vision to city council with the eagerness of his youth to back it up. I like his platform and I like the way he conducts himself on a personal level. Being a business owner on a business friendly council he will be able to help push through changes for not only McIntyre but the city in general. Being from outside of the city he has no long term connections to old Thunder Bay values and ways that have kept the city in the 70-80’s for too long. He will have a good chance to assert himself in this campaign and this term of council.

Current River: A. Foulds (I)

Northwood: S. Ch’ng

Mckellar: K. Kuznak

Red River: D.G. Noonan

Westfort: J. Virdiramo (I)

The reviews behind the individual people are those people who I have the intention of voting for on this upcoming election. This are simply predictions and my thoughts on these individuals. I want to thank everyone running in this campaign as it takes a lot of work, money and time to campaign and then to sit in public office. I believe the current council has done a good job but it is time for a change and new ideas in this city. It will be an exciting race and there are a number of people that were close contenders to those who I have on this list.

What I want from the 2014-2018 Council

The election is coming up quick and the politicians are making their promises. Many are offering to open up city hall and be as transparent as a ghost; others are claiming to reduce the amount the average person pays in taxes. All of these promises have been made before but many people have yet to provide the content to their plans on what they want to do in order to grow the city. Below are some of the things that I want to see the city do in order to make Thunder Bay into a progressive and growing community. I understand that a single council cannot and will not change the direction of a city on its own but it can help to steer the city.

Infrastructure:
– Continue the EIRP Program. The annual 1.5% tax increase dedicated to infrastructure is important for ‘fixing the roads’ as so many on council have commented about.
– Focus on green infrastructure (parks, natural habitat and alternative ways of dealing with storm water)
– Invest in active transportation (additional bike lanes, protected bike lanes and paths)
– Tender contracts much faster so all projects can be green lit to start in May or early June.
– Focus on quality in contracts/time to complete more then cheapness.
– Work on the image routes where applicable

Waterfront
– Continue to work with private partners finishing phase 1
– Find private partners to work on developing phase 2 of the marina development
– Work with private businesses to set up in industrial areas
– Work with private businesses to create a plan to return the land to its original state when done with the property.
– Clean up different parts of the waterfront and create a plan for the land use

Transit
– Work to find a suitable place for a new transit terminal
– Continue to expand service on main routes
– Continue to invest in new buses to reduce greenhouse gases/costs
– Work to increase the 30% return per dollar invested to roughly 50% by 2018
– Extend hours on weekends

Operations
– Find savings in city operations to the tune of $1 million per year
– Sell the daycare businesses, printing business and certain seasonal businesses (Trowbridge)
– Hire staff to fill out front line service positions
– Reduce middle management positions
– Return golf division to the parks division and reduce the management positions
– Work with city departments to keep wage increases to 2% or less
– Invest in better communication technologies to make work flow better between departments
– Hire more engineers, permit workers to help businesses

Facilities
– Look at creating new bigger sports sites and eliminating individual sites
– Shut down Stanley Arena and Grandview arena and replace them with a second pad at Port Arthur/ Delaney
– Create a master plan to refurbish, replace, sell all city sporting venues
– Create plans to replace all city owned facilities and business plans behind their replacement
– Look at a plan to downsize the Canada Games complex to a more manageable facility
– Invest in parks and green spaces

Taxes
– Create a tax incentive zone to build industrial/ commercial within the Port of Thunder Bay Lands.
– Work to stabilize taxes and then reduce them by 2018
– Create roaming development zones which give businesses a tax break for a 1 year period to invest in their business
– Create a suburban tax which will be used on homes outside of the main city areas. (3%)
– Work with MPAC and Resolute to protect the jobs in Thunder Bay
– Create a industrial zone around Bombardier and Resolute to create investment by these companies
– Reduce the dependance on Tbaytel dividend and Thunder Bay Hydro dividend
– Find alternative ways to raise money rather then user fees increases

Emergency services
– Reduce starting wages by 10% for Police and Fire
– Invest in technology so officers aren’t articulating notes for hours and spend more time on the road
– Partner with EMS and Fire to share stations and resources
– Find ways for Fire/Police to bring in additional revenue
– Create a master plan to replace/refurbish all stations/buildings. Making sure the offices are appropriate for their use.
– Find ways to put more civilians into positions where officers/cadets are currently
– Work with associations to keep wage increases to 1.5% annually
– Hire more EMS teams to reduce strain on existing teams

Economic Development
– Increase the budget for the CEDC
– Create a loan program to invest in businesses CEDC has brought to Thunder Bay
– Make it easier for businesses to get permits, engineering work done
– Work with businesses to plan future commercial zones, industrial zones and their needs
– Work to bring a refinery to Thunder Bay with the Energy East Pipeline
– Work to make Thunder Bay the service hub of the Ring of Fire/Mining Operations
– Work to bring in mining related jobs (ex. Vale Plant)
– Work with Lakehead University and Confederation College to increase the student population and investment into their campuses
– Work with Thunder Bay Regional to integrate with the post-secondary education institutions for more seemly demands and asks

Capital Projects
– Make Memorial Avenue – Thunder Bay’s first Bus Lane (Bike Lane) oriented street. (Blog Post to come)
– Develop the Event Center (with provincial and federal help)
– Develop an official plan for waterfront phase 2
– Start or Finish the ReNew Thunder Bay list of projects