Tuesday, February 22, 2011

City looks into low-income tax & water rebates

City council is looking for ways to help residents with low incomes. Council asked for a report last night to see if a program to provide tax and water rebates to low income residents would be a good fit for the city. The report should be completed by June.

New budget passed

The city's new budget has passed. Council voted largely in favour of the budget after some last minute attempts to make cuts fell flat during Tuesday’s council meeting.

Mayor Keith Hobbs voted against his first budget as mayor and says the 1.27% tax hike is a deal-breaker. Hobbs says that the process has been a learning experience.

Councilor Larry Hebert voted against the budget as well; the rest of council voted in favour.

Northwood Councillor Mark Betnz voted for the budget. While Bentz doesn't think the tax increase is unreasonable he wants leaders to keep the city's financial health in mind all year long and not just when it comes time to make a budget. Bentz says that given the circumstances, he feels City Manager Tim Commisso did a good job of keeping costs down.

The budget still needs to be ratified in March before it's official. 

Brown questions legislation

The McGuinty government plans to declare public transit workers in Toronto an essential service.   Thunder Bay Transit Union president Charlie Brown says apart from opposing the idea, he wonders why other parts of the province aren't included in the new legislation. It was an election promise by new Mayor Rob Ford and city council  has requested T-T-C workers be banned from striking.  The NDP is hinting it may delay the legislation.

Commisso says growth is growth

The Conference Board of Canada may not have confidence in the Thunder Bay economy, but our city manager does.  Tim Commisso says the boards prediction of slow economic growth for the city isn't the end of the world.  He says the economy of the city is growing at a stable and steady pace and is diversifying.  The board ranked the city last in it's survey of 27 Canadian cities.

NAN talks economy

The Nishnawbe Aski Nation is holding it's first ever economic summit in the city.  Deputy Grand Chief Les Louttit wants First Nations leaders to form a single voice on things like taking minerals from the ground in the Ring of Fire mining development. Louttit hopes different strategies will be developed over the course of the week.

Investigation into Beardmore blast underway

It could take weeks before the cause of the Beardmore Pipeline explosion to be known. Trans-Canada Corporation spokesperson James Millar says its a very remote area and will take a while to survey because the site is only accessible by snowmobile. Millar says two similar incidents happened in Ontario in 2009.

Libyan situation continues to escalate

It looks like the end of the line is nearing for the Libyan government. LU's Political Science Expert Laure Paquette says the escalating situation in Libya is showing no signs of stopping meaning Moammar Gadhafi has very little choice other than to resign from power. However Paquette says if it happens it is still a very long road to democracy.  Paquette says Libya's situation is making Egypt look like a cake walk.

Spring is still playing hard to get

It may seem warmer over the next couple of days but spring is still a ways away. Our Meteorologist Bill Laidlaw says some warmer air is moving into the area and will bring about 2 to 4 centimetres tomorrow but will drop again by the weekend.  Laidlaw says it'll likely be next month sometime before we see this weather pattern break.

Hundreds join Wabasse Facebook page

The search for Jordan Wabasse has made it to Facebook.  Friends and family of the missing Webequie teen have set up the page called "Help Find Jordan".   On the site, a person who identifies herself has his grandmother,  says the search will continue until Jordan is found "even if I'm the only one left."   The site has attracted over 24 hundred people.

Still no sign of Wabasse

Another weekend of searching and still no sign of Jordon Wabasse.  An Aerial search of the Kam River was conducted yesterday and it turned up nothing.  Today a meeting will be held where Thunder Bay Police will decide the next step in the search.

Fatal collision closes Trans Canada

A 51 year old Marathon man is dead after a fatal collision on Highway 17.  The collision happened Sunday morning just east of Marathon when a transport truck lost control and hit an SUV head on.  The driver of the transport has been charged with dangerous driving causing death.