Monday, March 5, 2012

Council is looking at a Master Transit plan

The city has a new Master Transit Plan in the proves. Council approved in principal the 3-5 year plan that calls for a major transit terminal in the intercity area that comes with a price tag of around 7 million dollars. The plan also will keep using the Water Street terminal unless future development forces the closure of that terminal. There will also be 3 major transfer points in the south core, Lakehead University and Confederation College. The consulting firm who helped develop the plan, predicts a 25 percent increase in ridership over the next 5 years. The plan will also call for the end of HAGI transit and instead it would become part of City Transit. It will come back to council June 4th.

The city will be holding onto the Whalen Building

Our Municipal Leaders have decided to hold onto and improve the Whalen building.  Council voted in favour of a recommendation that will see the city spend over 9 million dollars over the next 20 years in capital improvements to the building.  Councillor Rebecca Johnson voted against the plan saying that money could be better spent on other projects instead of propping up a 100 year old building.  Administration predicts that keeping the building will bring profits to the city through taxes and leasing out office space. 

Council approves changes to waterfront deal

Despite a deputation speaking out against the proposed changes, City Council has approved the changes to the waterfront deal with the developers. One woman spoke out against the deal saying council is treating the developers differently than others in town. She referenced the proposed Marriott Hotel near the Superstore which will pay for its own parking lot while the waterfront hotel will now see the city pave the parking lot there and then lease it to the developer. Administration said the difference is the Marriott is on private land while the waterfront is on city owned land.

City hands out Green Awards

The City handed out the municipal Green Awards at Monday night's meeting. The awards were handed out to the Regional Health Sciences Centre, Superior Collegiate, Ecole Catholique Franco Superieur and the OLG Casino. The winners were recognized for successful waste reduction and other environmental successes.

Clement makes funding announcements

FedNor Minister Tony Clement is rolling out funding for Tornado Medical Systems.  Clement was in the City today and provided over 363 thousand dollars towards a device that will analyze breast tumor tissue.  Clement also announced over 300-thousand towards Lakehead University's North American DNA database project.

Rescue on the harbour

Two people are safe after they were spotted on the breakwall Monday afternoon. Thunder Bay Fire and Rescue took their air boat out to the site after they were spotted walking on the rocks. It turns out it was a couple of tourists from Quebec who were sight seeing and didn't realize it was against the law to be out on the harbour ice.  They were not charged.

Another bizarre court appearance for Barry McQuaker.

Barry McQuaker remains in the legal system as he looks to gain his freedom.  The 55 year old McQuaker is serving a short sentence for threatening and assault and was in court today to deal with a peace bond which would put extended restrictions on who he is allowed to see and where he can go. As was the case with his last court appearance in February, McQuaker didn't have a lawyer and displayed an erratic behavior. He came precariously close to justice Dino DiGuiseppe finding him in contempt of court. McQuaker is due back in court April 20th. He spent time in jail in the 1990's after admiting to cremating and buring the remains of his 12 year old son Jason.

Public school board pans rankings

The Lakehead Public School Board is less than thrilled with the latest Fraser Institute rankings of elementary schools.  Director of Education Cathy Seminieuk says they're not investing in the ranking system.  Seimieuk takes issue with the fact that the Fraser Institute didn't include all of their elementary schools in their rankings.

Mathieu Da Costa exhibit on now

City hall just got more colourful.  The Mathieu Da Costa Exhibit is on now and the 16 works of art were created by youth from across the country.  The City is one of 8 in Canada that were selected to host the art exhibit.  The free exhibit will be in the City Hall lobby until Friday.

Fire at Vickers Street North home

Fire officials will be investigating the cause of a 2 storey house fire on Vickers Street.  Crews were called to the home last night and District Chief Jon Swaggert says thankfully no one was home at the time of the fire.  The fire was contained to the back of the home on the first floor.

Ignace gets Mayor back

Ignace Council is going back to a familiar face as Mayor.  Council has agreed to appoint Lee Kennard as Mayor, citing the significant cost of a by-election as one of the reasons behind the decision.  A delegation asked Council to put Kennard back in the top position, citing his huge electoral win last October and his strong performance as Mayor.  Kennard resigned on January 27th, but had a change of heart 5-days later. Council legally deemed the position open, prompting a debate on what should happen next.  He will be sworn back in as Mayor on March 13th.

Arctic air above Thunder Bay

Arctic air is settling over Thunder Bay today causing the cold temperatures.  Our Meteorologist Bill Laidlaw says the cold air will eventually let up bringing warmer weather.  Laidlaw says it's not unusual for temperatures to be minus 20 one day and in the plus temperatures the next.

Province withdraws land near KI

The Provincial Government is keeping some land around the Big Trout Lake First Nation off limits from mining projects.  The First Nation had asked for a moratorium on mineral exploration and development.  God's Lake Resources holds a mining lease and mining claim in the area of Big Trout Lake but their existing leases and claims are not affected by the withdrawal.

LU Basketball team gets wildcard spot

The Lakehead Thunderwolves are off to Halifax after receiving a wild card spot in the Men's Basketball CIS championships. Lakehead received the at-large berth following a vote by a committee of CIS coaches. The Thunderwolves finished atop the OUA West standings with a 20-2 record before being upset by Ryerson, 86-70, in the conference semifinals.

Local Canspell winner Jacklyn Spithoff

Crestview Public School student Jacklyn Spithoff is off to the Canspell National Finals in Toronto.  She won the local spelling bee over the weekend and will represent Thunder Bay and District in Toronto at the end of March.

Woman in hospital after accident

A 25 year old woman is in hospital after she was hit by a vehicle on Saturday.  Police were called to the intersection of Red River Road and Highway 11/17 for an auto pedestrian collision around 9:30 Saturday night.  The woman was sent to the hospital with serious injuries and is said to be doing better.  Charges are pending and the investigation is continuing.