Sunday, June 30, 2013

Dryden Opposes Domtar Assessment

A major setback for Dryden. The City has failed in its first attempt to overturn the property assessment of the Domtar Mill. Mayor Craig Nuttall says they aren't giving up the fight. Nuttall says the City can't afford to repay Domtar 5.4-million dollars and notes he wants to wait and see what happens with the appeal.

MNR Gives Canada Day Safety Tips

You can never be too safe. That's why the Ministry of Natural Resources is out with some reminders this Canada Day long weekend. Spokesperson Deb Mclean says if you're lighting fireworks, do them in a safe location. McLean says the wet weather should help the fire hazard, but it doesn't change the fact that people have to be responsible in how they handle their outdoor fires.

Keeping Canada Day Safe

City police say they're going to make sure everyone who attends tomorrow nights Canada Day activities at Marina Park is safe.  Glenn Porter of the city police says there will be lots of officers on duty to keep things under control. Porter says there will be an alcohol ban at the park and bags will be checked.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Rickford Comments On Spending Scandal

Kenora MP Greg Rickford says spending rules for Senators and MP's need to be fixed. Rickford says the recent spending scandal shows that there are gaps in the system. Rickford says he wants people to have a clear understanding on how their tax dollars are being spent.

Fireworks Safety

City officials are preaching fireworks safety this Canada Day long weekend.   Anthony Stokaluk of Thunder Bay Fire and Rescue says it's important that the rules are followed in private fireworks displays. Stokaluk says only low hazard fireworks are allowed in private displays.

OPP Looking For Bad Drivers

The long weekend is here. Sergeant Shelley Garr of the OPP Northwest division says officers will be out looking for aggressive driving. Garr says that means they'll be looking for bad driving habits in motor vehicles, boats and all terrain vehicles.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Shuniah Facing Million Dollar Suit

The Municipality of Shuniah is staring at a 1 million dollar lawsuit.   The legal action's been filed by a group of Shuniah property owners at O'Conner Point lead by Greg Birston.  They're saying they can't enjoy their lakefront cottage because of some rowdy behavior that is allowed on neighbouring land.   They say that their enjoyment of O'Conner Point is being spoiled by among other things drunk lewd and obscene behavior and that years of pleading with the municipality has done nothing to solve the problem.  None of the claims have been proven in court and neither the municipality or Birston's lawyer will comment.

It's Back To Work For Scott Potts

The Regional Hospital's loss is St. Joseph's gain. Scott Potts is one of two recent senior managers to resign from the Health Sciences Centre under a cloud of controversy.  However, it didn't take him long to find another job.   St. Joseph's Care Group CEO Tracey Buckler says Potts is one of two vice presidents she has just hired for the health care organization.  The other is Myrna Holman who comes to the city from B.C. 

Police Looking For Robbery Suspect

Thunder Bay Police are looking for a 40 year old man who they say robbed another man earlier this morning near an ATM machine at the North Superior Credit Union on Syndicate.  A man holding a knife demanded money from the victim and took off running towards Victoria Avenue.  The suspect is described as bald, wearing a white t-shirt over a red shirt and blue jeans.

Next Phase Of Event Centre Started

Event Centre Open House
The City is looking for interested potential Event Centre partners.  Potential partners could help in the operation, programming or financing of the facility including the spectator arena and convention centre components.  Part of the third phase of the project includes funding applications to the Provincial and Federal Governments.

County Park Splash Pad Open Soon

The County Park Splash Pad is finally opening!  City Spokesperson Werner Schwar says the project faced over a years worth of delays and will officially be unveiled Friday, July 5th.  Final construction work is currently underway and is expected to be completed this weekend.  Three extra days are required to test the water quality at the splash pad.

Illegal Visitor

A change for Dryden Police, someone who's actually cooperative!  A 20-year-old man came into the station on Wednesday morning, saying he was from Wisconsin and came into the country illegally.  He told police that he had jumped on a train Sunday morning with the intention of going to California, but the train stopped in Winnipeg and he decided to head back home.  Police turned the man over to the Canada Border Services Agency in Ignace.

CEP Takes Aim At Rickford

The Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union is taking aim at Kenora MP Greg Rickford.  Local representative Stephen Boon says they are upset with Rickford for supporting Bill C-377.  Boon says the bill singles out unions as some of the only organizations in Canada that would be required to publicly disclose all details of every single purchase made over 5-thousand dollars.  Boon is hoping Rickford will stand-up for the local union movement at that time.

Art Gallery Gets Award

The Provincial Government is giving props to Thunder Bay's Definitely Superior Art Gallery.  The Premier's Awards for Excellence in the Arts was held last night with Definitely Superior taking home the Arts Organization Award.

S&P Give City Good Rating

A financial institution is giving the City a good credit ranking.  Standard & Poor’s has raised the City’s credit rating from A plus to double A.  City officials say it reflects that we have a healthy and sustainable community.

LU Researchers Report On Farmers Markets

A new report suggests a need for enhanced regional partnerships in northern Ontario's agri-food sector.  The report by two Lakehead University researchers was done as part of a greater effort looking at farmers’ markets, co-ops and other sustainable food systems province wide.  Co-author Mirella Stroink says greater collaboration would strengthen those groups.  The researchers found many groups now struggle with trying to access funding, marketing and administrative support.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Busy Weekend Expected At The Border

The Canada Border Services Agency expects a busy Canada Day long weekend at the Pigeon River border crossing.   Spokesperson Tracey Gagnon says it's good to be prepared when you come back from the States. She says you can speed up the process by having proper I.D. and all your shopping receipts handy. Gagnon adds the most traffic is expected Sunday between 4 and 7 pm and again on Monday between 11 am and 6 pm.

Mac's VP Defends Alcohol Request

A top official with Mac's Convenience Stores says Thunder Bay residents should not be concerned if alcohol is sold at its stores here. While the stores have been robbery prone, company vice president Tom Moher says alcohol sales would not increase the frequency of hold ups.  He says they have operated two LCBO outlet stores in the province and there has been no increase in robberies at either location.  The company is asking the province to allow alcohol sales at all its Mac's stores in the province.

New Cancer Screening Bus

The new Regional Cancer Centre screening bus hits the road in northwestern Ontario next month.  Spokesperson Allison McMullen says along with a flashy new one and a half million dollar coach,  is some new equipment as well.  She points to a new mammography unit.   The bus will be heading to Dryden, Ear Falls and Red Lake starting July 15th.

Mayor Wants Vacant Buildings Assessed

The mayor says it may be time to look at the status of vacant buildings in the city.  Following this week's wall collapse at the abandoned Empire Hotel Keith Hobbs is concerned there may be more danger lurking around other such buildings, so they should be assessed.   He calls it a concern that requires proactive measures.  The city will be demolishing the rest of the Empire this weekend.  

Fire Hazard Low To Moderate

The Far north continues to be the hot spot for forest fires.  The Ministry of Natural Resources is monitoring several lightning-caused fires burning in remote locations.  The MNR is also looking at possible new starts in the southern portion of the region due to recent lightning.  The fire hazard remains low to moderate across the region.

Fatality In Falcon Lake

One person is dead and another has been taken to hospital following a bizarre incident at the Falcon Lake Campground in eastern Manitoba.  The RCMP say a 45-year-old Quebec man was early this morning after a tree fell on a tent.  Corporal Miles Hiebert says severe weather is likely to blame.  The Mounties says a 44 year old woman has been taken to hospital for treatment of minor injuries.  The name of the person who was killed is not going to be released by police.

TBRRI New Board Chair

The Regional Research Institute is getting a new Board Chair.  Dr. Gary Polonsky was the founding director of the organization and will be back at the helm.  Polonsky is replacing Keith Jobbitt.

Empire Hotel Gets The Wrecking Ball

The City is hiring a contractor to demolish the Empire Hotel.  It's being torn down later this week after a wall collapsed on Tuesday night.  The cost of the demolition will be the building owner's responsibility.

Mac's Robbery

Thunder Bay Police are looking for a suspect in an early morning robbery of the Oliver Road Mac's Convenience Store. The man got away with cash and merchandise. No one was hurt. Police are describing the suspect as tall with a heavy build. He was wearing a red ball cap and a long sleeved green shirt. Police say he was last seen heading north bound on Oliver towards Ontario Street.

Shelter House Wants CPC Support

Shelter House is looking for the Crime Prevention Council's support in getting the City to sell them the old EMS building on Donald Street.  Executive Director Patty Hajdu says any support will help them with their cause.  Shelter House has asked the Crime Prevention Council to write a letter in support of the managed alcohol program.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Second Hospital VP Resigns

The president of the  Regional Health Sciences Centre is confirming a second senior executive has resigned   Andree Robichaud says that Lori Marshall is no longer working at the hospital.   She joins senior vice president Scott Potts who have both recently left under a cloud of community suspicion. .  Robichaud says she doesn't want to taint their legacy with rumours and allegations.   Robichaud says she is confident patient care will not be affected by the recent resignations of both senior staff and doctors.

Mauro Appeal Denied

It appears to be the end of the line for Jim Mauro.   The city police sergeant's appeal of his demotion to constable for one year has been turned down by the provinces Civilian Police commission.   Mauro had been found guilty of discreditable conduct in connection to a letter he presented at a labour hearing.  No reason was given for the dismissal.

Empire Hotel Wall Collapses

The City will be investigating the collapse of a wall at the Empire Hotel on Simpson Street.   The wall came down last night and Licensing and Enforcement Manager Ron Bourret says they've had their eye on the vacant building for sometime.  Bourret says they'll be getting an engineers report on the structure of the building.

OPP Report Body Found

OPP say they have found the body of 26 year old cliff diver Larry Larivee.  Police were called to the McKenzie River last night after someone said they found a body.  The cause of death at this time is unknown and a post mortem has been ordered.

Outlive Yourself Campaign Coming To T.Bay

Now that summer is here, more and more people are either biking or running across the country for a cause. Cayse Ruiter cycled into Kenora recently as part of his Outlive yourself campaign to raise awareness about organ donation.  Ruiter is continuing his journey and hopes to be in Thunder Bay today.

Provincial Education Awards

A provincial school association is honouring two Thunder Bay residents.  Laura Sylvestre and Carolos Santander-Maturana received the Ontario Public School Board Association's achievement awards at last night's school board meeting.  The awards recognize their outstanding efforts in public education.

Public School Board Budget Passes

The Lakehead Public School Board's 132 million dollar budget is in the books.  The 2013-2014 budget puts money towards full day Kindergarten and information technology.  Other spending highlights include a mental health and addictions strategy and a promise to provide social workers in schools.  The school board now has to present their budget to the Provincial Government's Ministry of Education.

C of C Prez Like Report

The president of the Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce appears encouraged by the latest economic report from Lakehead University.   Charla Robinson says the study results will be useful in helping move forward and is encouraged by its recommendations. Among the recommendations Robinson is happy with is the establishment of a mining supply association and is impressed that the report shows the Aboriginal population is critical to the city's economic future and requires more study.

Study Makes Economic Recommendations

A Lakehead University study  is making several recommendations to help the city's economy move forward.  It was done for Thunder Bay Ventures and manager Royden Potvin says it lays out a blueprint which he hopes is taken seriously by the movers and shakers in the community.  He says strategies are needed to attract private business.  Among the recommendations is one which says we should increase the availability of professionals and skilled labour and another calling for more study into the economic contributions of the Aboriginal population.

Hobbs Not Down With Potvin Comment

 The mayor isn't liking recent comments by the manager of Thunder Bay Ventures.  Royden Potvin says the latest Small Business Survey shows almost 60 per cent of those questioned say city council is not doing a good job representing their business.  Potvin says that city council has an image problem.  But Mayor Keith Hobbs says he doesn't know what image problem Potvin is talking about. Hobbs is especially miffed at Potvin' s comments since the latest report to the community shows the city running efficiently on all cylinders saying " maybe he needs to come and talk to us".

City Ready To Host Canada Day Party

 Canada Day is quickly approaching and the city is ready to throw another party at Marina Park.   City Events Coordinator Doug Henry says it will again be the biggest mass gathering of people in the city all year, with up to 20 thousand people expected to attend.  The parade will be returning, but it will be held within the friendly confines of Prince Arthur's Landing at Marina Park.   As always, a fireworks display will wrap up the day's  festivities.  

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Council Doesn't Meet Small Business Needs: Survey

The latest survey from Thunder Bay Ventures should be a concern to city councillors.    Manager Royden Potvin says the study indicates the city should pay attention to the needs of small business and that city council has an image problem. The survey indicates council is not meeting the needs of business. On a positive note half the  businesses questioned expect to hire more employees in the next year and that overall, there are more positive responses to questions this year than in some previous years.  

Greenstone Finalizes Budget

Greenstone is finalizing its 2013 budget.  There won't be an increase in the total taxes raised from 2012 to this year.  Officials say it was hard to keep the taxes down with the increased costs in utilities, policing, & water and sewer.

Shuniah Looks Into Merger

Shuniah Town Council is getting their staff to look into the possibility of merging with Dorion.  CAO Eric Collingwood says they've asked staff to report back with the feasibility at a future meeting.

City Hall Says No To Internet Voting

City Council is saying no to offering internet voting in the next municipal election.  It was quashed in a late night meeting that ended at 1:30 in the morning.  Some Councillors were concerned about the security of the new system.

Art Gallery Location Undecided

The future location of the art gallery is still up in the air.  Art Gallery reps asked City Council for 25 million dollars to help build a new building on the waterfront.  Councillor Ken Boshcoff says they have some time to mull the proposal over before it comes back in the fall.  The art gallery is currently housed on the Confederation College campus.

CMHC Releases Resale Report

Canada Mortgage and Housing is out with their resale market report.  The outlook says the price of a house in the City will rise 6.4 percent.  The report also shows that the amount of homes for resale are on the decline.

Enough Is Enough Ride In Town

A mental illness cross Canada bike tour is stopping in Thunder Bay today.  The Enough is Enough ride will be at the Memorial Avenue Walmart around the lunch hour today.
Money raised goes toward the Kelty Foundation.

Police Looking For Suspects

Thunder Bay Police are looking for two men in their 20s who they believe tried to rob a woman as she walked home on the path behind Walmart on Dawson Road.  Two men dressed in dark clothes pushed a 22 year old woman to the ground and demanded money or her iPhone.  She was able to get up, run away and call police.  If anyone has information contact Police or Crimestoppers.

Councillors Approve New Bike Lanes

The person responsible for the bike lane system in Thunder Bay says statistics prove they are safe.   In his presentation to city councillors Active Transportation Coordinator Adam Krupper said  the numbers show that streets are safer where bike lanes exist.  He says there's been a 70 per cent decrease in bike collisions and a 22 per cent decrease in motorist collisions after the lanes have been introduced. The latest changes will see 120 kilometres of new bike and pedestrian routes to the city.

Bay Street Area Residents Complain

Not everyone is in favour of an added system of bike lanes for the city.  Speaking at City Hall last night,  Bay Street resident Robert Brown  said  the stop sign changes in that area, to accommodate bike travel,  is a dangerous idea.  Brown was one of several people who presented their concerns and support for the bike lanes to city councillors.

Financial Position Strong: Commisso

Several city councillors are getting props from City Manager Tim Commisso.   It comes following the city's latest Report to the Community which Commisso says shows our financial position is strong and improving.  He sites Councillors Mark Bentz and Linda Rydholm for their committee work which he says has guided the city to an "enveable position."   Commisso says we've made great strides in updating our roads and sewer systems.            

City Involved In Human Rights Training

The City is getting involved in human rights training.    A two day session is planned for September on a variety of themes including Aboriginal issues, housing, disability and gender identity.   Sandy Boucher of the city's Anti-Racism task force says it's all about educating anyone who's interested including the business community, municipal officials and human resource professionals.  The event will include presentations and discussions.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Divers End Search For Local Man

The active search for 26 year old Larry Larivee of Thunder Bay is over for the moment.  Police say OPP divers were unable to find any sign of Larivee at the McKenzie River falls location where witnesses say he disappeared last week after he dove in off a cliff.  Police say some areas of the river are just too dangerous to search and will be reassessed once water levels are lower.