Tuesday, August 31, 2010

NAN still against far north act

The Nishnawbe Aski Nation plans to voice their concern about the far north act at Queen's Park this fall.  Grand Chief Stan Beardy says they'll be holding a rally once the legislature resumes.  Beardy notes they want to work these issues out with the Provincial Government.

Yogi Bear in Dryden

They say Yogi is smarter then the average bear but he may now have some competition.  A bear was seen this morning camped out near the Welcome to Dryden sign, on the east end of Town.  The Ministry of Natural Resources responded and set up a trap.  The curious bear decided to park himself by the trap and stare at it for roughly 45-mintues.  Apparently he was plotting a strategy.  The bear got up, circled the trap and then ran in and out while grabbing the food inside.  The proud bruin then walked into the bush, with food in mouth.

Michael Chan visits Thunder Bay

The Minister of Tourism says the naysayers who were against the province's new regional tourism zones are now on board. Michael Chan says he had a chance to dispell their fears during a recent visit to Thunder Bay. The funding is expected to be rolled out for the zones this fall.

Focus North held in Thunder Bay

Federal, provincial and territorial ministers are meeting in Thunder Bay today.  The Focus North forum will tackle the region's social, economic and fiscal issues.  Minister of Northern Development Michael Gravelle will be holding a wrap up session tomorrow at the Bestwestern Nor'Wester Hotel.

Small business community is unhappy with council

The small business community is apparently not happy with city council. A new survey by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business says businesses in Thunder Bay feel council isn't meeting their needs. Chamber of Commerce President Harold Wilson says he feels the survey isn't completely accurate but it is a very important issue.  Wilson says many of the questions in the statement were very open ended and could have been taken from a provincial or federal standpoint instead of municipal.

PC's attack Ontario Government's LHINS

The Progressive Conservatives are not a fan of the Ontario government's local health integration networks.  PC Democratic Reform Critic Steve Clark says so much money was wasted by the Northwest LHIN.  The Northwest LHIN spent 4.8 million dollars on administration costs and 1.5 million on consultants.  Clark feels the money could have been better spent providing front line medical care.

Waterfront project hits a snag

There are more pricing issues for the city's waterfront development project. The tenders for two landscaping projects came in over budget. The work on Pier three will be put off to next year after tenders came in over double the estimated cost. Work on the spirit garden will take place this year but a portion of Pier one was also dropped for this year.

Veterans honoured with new memorial in Thunder Bay

Second World War naval veterans were honoured yesterday with the reintroduction of Paterson park. The Paterson Sailors Memorial monument was unveiled at 1918 Yonge Street and honours 6 Paterson shipping vessels that were sunk during the second world war.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Public comment on comprehensive zoning by-law

Just one person made a deputation in favour of the city's comprehensive zoning by-law, while many were against it.  Peter Kuzak spoke against the proposed legislation that he calls a moving target.  Kuzak notes people need time to read the document and see how it will impact their land.  Councillor Rebecca Johnson says she's not ready to vote in favour of the comprehensive zoning by law and is worried they haven't consulted enough with the public.  Planning Division Manager Leslie McEachern reassured council they have spoke many times with the public.

Zoning by law has many sticking points

There seems to be one major sticking point in the proposed comprehensive zoning by-law. Councillor Larry Hebert says many people are concerned about the new enivronmental protection and overlay zones where people are not permitted to build. Planning Division Manager Leslie McEachern says the new zones point out where the city allows construction; but the Lakehead Region Conservation Authority does not. McEachern says the environmental protection zones identify boundaries of flood areas, wetlands and hazardous slopes. Some councillors were also concerned about a lack of legislation which would allow four plexes to be built on corner lots in areas with character homes. McEachern adds fourplexes will only be allowed in areas such as the east end.

Zoning by-law under construction

The City of Thunder Bay's new zoning by-law continues to be under construction. Administration provided an update to council on Monday night on the legislation in process. The new comprehensive zoning by-law offers simpler maps and less zones. The city has already held a number of public meetings on the proposed legislation.  The comprehensive zoning by law was approved in principal last night and will be sent back to council at a later meeting. The document will also be posted on the city's website for public consultation for four weeks.

Paterson Sailors Park

Thunder Bay has honored its sailing history. The former Paterson shipping company site has been renamed the Paterson Sailors Memorial Park. A monument was placed at the Yonge street site on Monday night.

Council allows day nursery on Glengary Dr.

City council tackled a number of zoning issues at Monday night's meeting.  The owner of a home based day care centre wants to expand her business.  The day care on Glengary Drive currently holds five kids, but the owner would like to expand that to 12.   Councillor Mark Bentz was concerned about the possibility of noise from children playing in the yard.  The business currently looks after toddlers and pre-schoolers.  Plenty of people came out to argue in support and against the daycare.  Despite the divide between councillors, the day care will be allowed to hold 12 kids.

More parking on the way

The City of Thunder Bay is rezoning a piece of property in the downtown area to allow for more parking. The property owners want to knock down a house on Marks Street South to expand the commercial parking lot that serves West Arthur Place. 15 percent of the lot must be used as a green space. Some area residents expressed concern over the rezoning, stating West Arthur Place doesn't need any more parking spaces.

Ice Edge meets with ECHL commissioner in Thunder Bay

Ice Edge Holdings is taking another step in their dream of bringing a professional hockey team to Thunder Bay. The groups top dogs were in the city to meet with City officials and the commissioner of the ECHL. CEO Keith McCullough says him and Anthony Leblanc both being from Thunder Bay, want to see a team come to the city and believe as long as a new arena is built, a team could be successful. Leblanc says a new arena needs to happen before a team could come to the city.

Whelan building is getting a new high tech tennant

The Medical industry in Thunder Bay is getting another heavy hitter. Tornado Medical Systems has chosen the city for its home and will set up shop in the historic Whelan building. TMS is a commercial medical imaging company and Michael Power says having a commercial company in the city will pay huge dividends for the city from research financing firms.   Power says when a research company can show they have an active partner in the commercial field more research funding will flow to the Regional Research Institute.  TMS could employ as many as 50 people with in the next 2-3 years.

RFDA announces 2nd annual Art of Giving fundraiser

The RFDA and Badanai Motors are once again joining forces to raise money for regional food banks. The car dealership will be hosting the 2nd annual Art of Giving auction. Chair Marilyn Chicoine says they hope to raise 30 thousand dollars.  The fundraiser takes place September 23rd at Badanai Motors starting at 7 o'clock.

No one was injured during armed robbery

Thunder Bay police are looking for one man after a north side gas bar was robbed at Knife point yesterday. Police say the robbery happened at 6:30 yesterday. The thief is described as 5 foot 11 and was dressed all in black. No one was hurt.

Thunder Bay police looking for missing woman

Thunder Bay police are looking to the public for help in locating a missing woman. Police say 42 year old Cindy Rose Forbister has been missing since Saturday night. Forbister is described as 5 foot 6, slim with brown hair and a skull tattoo on her forearm.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Union members 96% in favour of strike

Transit workers voted 96% in favour of strike action today at the CEP hall on Memorial Avenue. The vote was only see if workers are willing to strike; bus service will continue for the time being.

The Ministry of Labour will inform the union of the earliest date they are able to strike. Amalgamated Transit Union 966 president Charlie Brown says the union doesn't want to inconvenience the public and he hopes the city comes back to the table to negotiate.

Brown notes it was the largest turnout he'd ever personally seen with 90% of the workforce in attendance.

Some of the issues which concern the union are proposed changes to benefits, an increase in part time workers and how transit workers wages compare to those of other city employees.

Support for cats

The Thunder Bay Humane Society still has a lot of cats but community members have been a big help.

The organization has been receiving donations of supplies like food and litter as well as financial support.

Judy Decicco of the Humane Society says the public's response has been incredible and notes the organization receives no government funding.

No cats were abandoned last week and there were  nine adoptions.

 Decicco says the organization will continue to waive adoption fees for cats they've had over six months leaving only the $100 vet fee.

Robbery arrest

Thunder Bay police have arrested a man in connection with the August 23rd robbery of Mr. Sub on Red River.

The same man is also being charged with a mugging that happened last Friday on South May street.

Police took the 26 year old man into custody Saturday morning.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Neebing grow-op bust

Combined Forces Drug Enforcement Unit officers arrested two people and siezed 900 marijuana plants in Neebing Township yesterday.

In addition to the plants, five firearms and 565 grams of dried marijuana were also siezed.

The total street value of the of the drugs is estimated to be around 875,000 dollars.

Swim advisories lifted

There's good news if you want to take a dip to beat the heat this weekend.

The Health Unit has lifted swimming advisories for Lakeview and Sandycove beaches at Boulevard lake.

Sunnyside beach at Boulevard and Chippewa Park's Main Beach are still under advisory due to high levels of E. Coli bacteria.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Traffic Delays on Monday

Keep this in mind as you make your way to work on Monday.  If your travelling in the area where John Street becomes Oliver Road you can expect some traffic disruptions.  Thunder Bay Hydro is conducting work in that area around Algoma and High Street.  Crews will be working on hydro lines which will impact traffic flow from Banning Street, Ontario, and Second Street as well as cross traffic from intercity and the surrounding residential areas.  The closure will begin at 10 and continue through to 4 until the work is done.

Leon's store taking shape

Work continues on the new Leon's store in Thunder Bay. The building is taking shape, and crews are still working on the lot. City Council will be asked on Monday night to give Leon's some leeway on it's store front sign. It's requesting a variance to increase the size of it's wall sign.

Atikokan Generating Station gets green light to convert to biofuels

The Atikokan Generating Station jumped a big hurdle in switching to Biofuels. The Ontario government has announced that the plant has recieved provincial approval for the switch. MPP Bill Mauro says the next step is creation of a power purchase aggreement and then construction will take about three years. Mauro says he hopes that a wood pellet facility can be built in the Northwest to supply the station with fuel.

Late assignments could land students a zero this school year

Students will have to keep track of due dates on their assignments a little more closely this year. The ministry of education has put new regulations in place allowing teachers to give zero's for late assignments. Superintendant of education Sherri-Lynne Pharand says the local school board still has to create their own policy. Teachers will use their own judgement on weather or not they give students a zero for handing in late assignments.

Alzheimer Society gets money

The Alzheimer Society is on the receiving end of a 25-thousand dollar donation.  Doris Arnold provided the cash as a commitment as a Patron to the Society. Arnold first became a patron in 2007 in honour of her late husband who dies of Alzheimers.

Invasive Species in Thunder Bay

The Ministry of Natural Resources are on the look out for invasive species. The rusty crayfish was recently spotted in Cloud Lake. Rusty crayfish are highly aggressive and can consume twice as much food as native crayfish. Anyone who spots the larger than normal crayfish is asked to contact the MNR.

Kokocinski appointed NW LHIN CEO

A new person is in charge of the Northwest Local Health Integration Network.  The Board has appointed Laura Kokocinski as Chief Executive Officer effective September first.  She has worked with the LHIN as the Senior Director, Planning, Integration and Community Engagement since January 2006 and was appointed Interim CEO back in February.  Kokocinski is from Northwestern Ontario and has extensive health care experience in various communities including Sioux Lookout and Thunder Bay.  She was selected from a large Canada-wide pool.

Former Mayor not running in Municipal election

Former Thunder Bay Rainy River MP Ken Boshcoff has made it official; he's not running for the Mayor's seat in Thunder Bay.  Boshcoff says he doesn't have time to be mayor since his business advisory company has taken off.  The former Thunder Bay Mayor released the statement on Friday because he wanted to quell the rumour mill and clarify his intentions.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

New First Nation Mining Program

There are ten spots open in a new first nations mining course. The program is being offered through the Anishinabek Employment and Training Service and Spokesperson John DeGiacomo says the course will run for 20 weeks. The program is being funded by the provincial government, mining companies, and the Assembly of First Nations. The program starts September 20th.

ORNGE celebrates 1 year

Ornge air is celebrating its one year anniversary in Thunder Bay.  The organization is the region's medical transport service that flies patients to medical care.  Chief Operating Officer Rick Potter says they're currently remodeling their facilities to accomodate their services.  A grand opening will be held in October. In the last year, ORNGE has carried over 2 thousand patients over a half million miles for medical care.

Species at Risk get help

Three area Species at Risk projects are being supported by the Provincial Government. The Thunder Bay Field Naturalists will be keeping tabs on the common nighthawk at the Thunder Cape Bird Observatory. They'll also be monitoring Peregrine population. The Lakehead Region Conservation Authority will be looking at species at risk in the Watershed.

Cruisin for a Cause

You can grab a bite to eat and help out a good cause today from noon until 3.  Thunder Bay's two A&W resteraunts are taking part in Cruisin for a cause for the MS Society.  Arthur Street Manager Clint Shirk says a dollar from every teen burger sold today will go to support the MS Society.  Classic cars are also expected to come out to the Memorial Avenue A&W.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

OPP on highway 17 accident

Three people are in Kenora Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries following a two-vehicle collision near the Ontario-Manitoba boundary this morning. O-P-P say a pair of transports collided around 5 a-m. One of the rigs caught fire and was destroyed. The driver and passenger of the other transport had to be extricated by fire crews. Police say charges are pending.

Grassy Narrows blockade

Yet another blockade has gone up on the Grassy Narrows First Nation north of Kenora.  This time the blockade is aimed at the Ministry of Natural Resources.  Roberta Keesick is one of the people at the blockade and says it was started up on Friday after MNR officials tried to shut down repair work being done by community members on the Slant Lake Road.  Keesick says the MNR wants the community to get proper permits before its begins any roadwork in the community.  She says there are no plans to take down the blockade any time soon.

MNR monitor fire

A forest fire east of Pikangikum First Nation continues to burn out-of-control. The fire has grown to 178-hectares in size but is burning in an isolated area. The Ministry of Natural Resources has 48-firefighters battling the blaze. Meantime, 64-personnel left the Dryden Airport yesterday to help in the fire fight in B.C. 21-firefighters returned home.

Nuclear Waste could be kept in Ignace or Ear Falls

The Nuclear Waste Management Organization is combing the area looking for communities interested in information on a proposal to establish used nuclear fuel storage sites.  Ear Falls has started the process by initiating a feasibility study, while Ignace is looking for more details.  A spokesperson says if Ignace feels they want to pursue the project one step farther then they will work closely with Council and the Municipality.

First Nations receive funding

3-Northwestern Ontario First Nations have received funding to improve housing conditions on their reserve. Sandy Lake First Nation will use 2.9-million dollars to construct 10-new housing units. The community of Onigaming First Nation, near Nestor Falls, is welcoming nearly 63-thousand dollars to retrofit 5-existing units. Rainy-River is accepting nearly 21-grand to retrofit 2-units. The money is flowing through Canada's Economic Action Plan.

MacKenzie Forest Products Sawmill shut down

The MacKenzie Forest Products Sawmill in Hudson is shutting down once again.  About 65-employees will be out of work starting on Friday.  The announcement comes less than 3-months after the Mill opened after a lengthy closure.  Sagging lumber prices are to blame.  Buchanan Forest Products says it plans to look at reopening next Spring.

Matawa First Nation Chiefs set deadline

Chiefs with the Matawa First Nations aren't happy with the current 45 million dollars allocated for aboriginal skills training. They want the province to come up with more funds by September 15th. The Chiefs want the money to better prepare their communities for development in the ring of fire. The chiefs gave the deadline to the Ministers of Natural Resources, Northern Development, and Aboriginal Affairs.

Thunder Bay woman appointed to OHTB

There's a Thunder Bay woman on the Ontario Heritage Trust Board.  Donna Gilhooly was appointed recently to the group that identifies, preserves and protects Ontario's heritage.  Gilhooly led the preservation of the C.W. Parker Carousel at Chippewa Park.

LU gets new research chairs

Lakehead University has appointed two new research chairs.  Dr. Phil Fralick and Dr. Harvey Lemelin will be in charge of research dealing with Natural Sciences, Engineering, Social Sciences and Humanities.

PUSH wants investigation into wait lists

400 disabled Northwestern Ontario residents are on a wait list for accessible supportive community housing and home support care. That figure is from the group Persons United for Self Help. President Ron Ross says they want the Ontario Ombudsman to investigate. Some of the people on the list have been waiting for over 10 years.

240 youth take part in summer job program

240 local young people gained valuable work experience this summer through the Summer jobs for youth program.  Coordinator Sharon Smith Baxter says the program keeps getting bigger and better each year.  400 students applied for the 240 spots.  All of those students who were in the program found summer jobs either on their own or through the program.

NOMA happy with meetings

The Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association had the chance to speak with 8 provincial ministers recently. NOMA President Anne Krassilowski says they spoke with the several ministers about the Ontario Municipal Partnership Fund.

Northern Energy Credit applications available

Applications are being accepted for the Northern Energy Credit.  The new energy credit gives single northerners 130 dollars and 200 dollars for families.  Minister of Northern Development Michael Gravelle says low and middle income northerners are eligable.  Applications are available online, at any Service Ontario location, or by calling 1-866-305-1954.

OCP in favour of Long Gun Registry

The Ontario Chiefs of Police are supporting the long gun registry. President Bob Herman says he hopes the legislation aimed at scrapping the long gun registry is defeated. Herman says he understands that the issues is a touchy one in Northwestern Ontario but notes its for police officers safety.

Missing teen found

A missing 16 year old boy has been found by his family.  Thunder Bay Police cancelled a missing persons report for the youth that went missing on August 16th.  The youth was found today.