Monday, November 1, 2010

Hobbs weighs in on Take a Hike moving

The soon to be Mayor is weighing in on one south side businesses decision to move out of that neighbourhood.  The owner of Take a Hike has said that she's moving her business from Fort William to the Bay and Algoma area because of the crime in the City's South core.  Keith Hobbs says the area will be much safer for businesses once they embark on new crime programs.  Hobbs says he really feels for Take a Hike and notes he spoke to the owner last week on his walk about.

3 Q's rule is now municipal law

Thunder Bay City Councillors will only be allowed to ask three questions a round at their meetings.  The 3 question rule was made into law last night after a trial basis ended.  Councillor Trevor Giertuga voted in favour of the rule and says it's made people more aware of the questions they are asking.  Councillors Mark Bentz, and Andrew Foulds voted against the rule because it's too difficult for the Chair to keep track.

Changes made to Hydro Board

Changes are being made to the Thunder Bay Hydro Board. The City of Thunder Bay is increasing the size of the Board from five members to seven. Council can only have one representative on the board, and will compete in the open process. The City Manager will also sit on the board but will be an unpaid member who does not have voting power. Each member of the board will also see an increase in their yearly stipend from 5-thousand to 6 thousand. Board members will also be paid a 100 dollars per meeting, and Chairs of the board will be paid an extra 1 thousand 500 dollars. Many councillors felt the increase in cash reimbursement will attract top notch candidates to the board.

City gets a peak at what future holds

The City of Thunder Bay got a sneak peak at its future tax levies.  It was part of the City Managers Strategic Plan update.  Tim Commisso says these figures are not set in stone and are managable.  The report shows a 1 to 3 percent increase over the next few years.  The Strategic Plan also shows a 1 percent increase in Gross Expenditures, and 1 percent increases in the tax levy and property tax assesment.  As part of his presentation to council, Commisso recommends the city embark on a corporate review process to see where there could be potential savings.

Council receives financial update

Administration is reporting positive financial figures in its latest update to City Council.  The City is taking in more money in property taxes to the tune of almost 203 thousand dollars.  Solid Waste is showing a 127 thousand dollar surplus.  The City is seeing some areas of trouble, the Waterworks department is reporting a 656 thousand dollar deficit and a million dollar deficit in Wastewater.

Badanai Motors could be moving

The President of Badanai Motors wants to buy an extension of court street that's located near his property.  George Badanai told council last night that he's tired of renting the piece of property from the City.  Badanai says if he can't buy the property he will pick up his business and move it to a new location.  Administration is concerned about selling the land because it could impact their underground infrastructure.  Council wants administration to come back with a report on the property.

Counselling Centre helps train service providers

Thunder Bay's Counselling Centre is now a provincial training site. The centre is now one of 15 sites that will take part in a financial literacy program funded by the Ontario Trillium Foundation. The training is being provided to 11 local service providers who work with low income families in Thunder Bay and the region. Local staff will learn how to deliver a financial literacy curriculum that covers subjects from Investing Basics and Income Tax to Debt and Savings.  Training is taking place Monday and Tuesday.

Old school may see new life

There may be life left in the old Hillcrest School after all. Local business consultant Sandi Boucher says she and developer Robert Zanette have plans to turn the vacant school into place to bring businesses together.   She says they are looking at a shared spaces concept.  Boucher says the building has a lot of amazing assets that shouldn't be wasted.

Jordan's return stalled by new injury

It looks like more injury woes for Thunder Bay's Jordan Staal.   Reports say the Pittsburgh Penguins Centre left practice on Monday with an injured hand.  Staal was on the ice for 30 minutes before he exited.  This could be a bad blow to Pittsburgh, as Staal was projected to make his season debut on Wednesday, after recovering from a foot infection, and now his return status is not clear.

Fire season ends with a wimper

The forest fire season is officially over.   The Ministry of Natural Resources says there were 370 fires in Northwestern Ontario this year compared to just under 200 last year.    However there were over 3 thousand fewer hectares that were burned this year .

Bring on the Parade of Lights

The Parade of Lights fundraiser for children's charities is all set for Saturday, December 4th. Greg Stephenson of the Thunder Bay Police Association says this year there are 4 charities which will be vying for a portion of the money raised including the new one this year, the Special Olympics of Ontario. The goal is to raise 20 thousand dollars.

Remains Identified

A body found on Highway 17 near Ignace this summer by blueberry pickers has been identified. The remains of 55 year old Steven Raycroft were identified recently through the use of medical records. Raycroft is described as a transient person who frequently travelled across Canada. Police are ruling out foul play.

Thunder Bay Soldier receives award

A Thunder Bay soldier is receiving an award from the Governor General today.  Major Geoffrey Arthur Abthorpe is set to receive the Meritorious Service Medal.  The award recognizes a military deed that was performed in a highly professional manner.

Mace defends political spending

The president of Thunder Bay Hydro says the city run utility doesn't donate to political parties.  The NDP claims that the utility donated 330 dollars to the Liberal Party of Ontario.  Hydro's Rob Mace says that was likely a luncheon that featured the Energy Minister as the guest speaker.   He says they look at it as an opportunity to spend one on one time with the minister to discuss energy policy as it relates to Northwester Ontario.  NDP leader Andrea Horwath says it shouldn't be necessary for the head of Hydro to spend money in order to see a cabinet minister.

Police say very little about bridge death

Police aren't releasing more information on the death of a  Lake Helen man on the Nipigon River Bridge Sunday morning.   OPP Sgt. Ken Mantey says they are treating the case as a hit and run.  A post mortem has been conducted at the Health Sciences Centre. 

Accident probe ongoing

The investigation continues into Friday's accident involving a transit bus on Red River Road. Transit Manager Brad Loroff says they still don't know the extent of any damages. That's being determined by the experts in the Fleet Maintenance department.   The driver was treated and released from hospital.

Flu clinics underway

The Health Unit is expecting to give out 15 thousand flu shots in the city this year. The series of clinics are continuing all this month and into December. Spokesperson Darlene Binette says the current vaccine protects against 3 flu strains, including last years H1N1 bug.   Binette hopes it will help to lighten the load at the E-R

Man held at gun point this morning

No one was hurt after a man held another man at gun point this morning.  City Police say they were called to a residence on Cummings street just after 4:30 this morning with reports of a man with a gun.  When police arrived they spotted the man through a window, pointing a handgun at another man.  After a short negotiation police arrested the 23 year old.