Tuesday, October 29, 2013

James Street Bridge Catches Fire

Officials are assessing the damage following a fire on the James Street Swing Bridge tonight.   Chief John Hay says firefighters were called to the scene around 7 o'clock and found smoke and flames coming from the structure.  He says it proved to be a very stubborn blaze because of the creosote on the train tracks.  Hay adds it's too early to say what caused the blaze and says the bridge will be closed to vehicle and train traffic until it's deemed safe.

Hydro Out For 24 Tbay Hydro Customers

24 customers are without electricity in the James Street and Thistle Crescent area.  Thunder Bay Hydro crews are en route and will be working to find out what happened and restore power.

Police Search For Hit And Run Driver

City police are looking for a hit and run driver after a muli-vehicle accident on the city's south side Tuesday afternoon. They say three vehicles collided at Simpson Street and Southern Avenue. Witnesses tell police that the driver of the offending vehicle took off after the accident. There are no injuries to report.

Open Roads Program

The City is teaming up with EcoSuperior and 8-80 Cities to begin planning an Open Streets Program.  Open Streets programs are events where streets are open to people and closed to cars as the roadway becomes a paved park where people can access safe, fun and free recreation. An open house on the idea is going to be held on Tuesday, November 5th at the Italian Cultural Centre.

Fire Service Lays Charges

The City Fire Service is charging the owners of a Balsam Street residence with failing to maintain smoke alarms in operating condition.  The occupants were alerted to the October 5th fire by a passerby. An order has also been served requiring owner Beendigen Incorporated to provide a written plan to address a systemic lack of smoke alarm maintenance procedures.

Hyer & May Team Up Over Motions

Independent MP Bruce Hyer is hopping mad with the Conservative Government's recent motions dealing with independent and small party MPs.  Hyer says the motion is to have those MPs submit their amendments directly to committees.  Hyer held a press conference with Green Party Leader Elizabeth May who both feel the move will take away MPs rights to move, vote on or even speak to their amendments.

Immigration Portal Upgraded

The Multicultural Association's Immigration Portal is getting an upgrade.  Executive Director Cathy Woodbeck says new features on the site include a career directory, businesses for sale directory and an interactive map. Woodbeck says since the portal's inception in 2010 they've seen several newcomers relocate in the North.

Con College Boasts Experts

Confederation College is taking part in a new online tool produced by the Province's 24 public colleges.  It's called The College Book of Experts and it lists staff with various expertise that can speak as experts on specific topics.  Our College has nine faculty listed in the data base.

Canada Games Flag Raised

The Northwestern Ontario Sports Hall of Fame is raising the Canada Games Flag to celebrate the achievements of local wrestlers Ron Bingham and Marco Palermo.  They earned gold medals in the 2013 Canada Summer Games in Quebec.

Ward Councillor Issue Coming Up

City Councillor Ken Boshcoff is asking Council to consider putting a question to the voting public in the next municipal election. Boshcoff is requesting a question be crafted that asks the public if they would support all Councillors being elected at large. The issue will come up at next week's Council meeting.

Council Round Up

The City is applying for 2 million dollars in provincial government funds for the Court Street Bridge. They've sent in an application for the small, rural, and northern municipal infrastructure fund. The application says the bridge that was built in 1906 is in bad shape and doesn't meet certain design codes. Meanwhile, City Councillor Joe Virdiramo wants to see the Provincial Government bring back the spring bear hunt. Virdiramo asked his fellow members to support Thunder Bay MPP Bill Mauro's private member's bill that looks at reinstating the hunt. Council will send a letter of support to the Minister of Natural Resources. City Council is also approving its staff's budget directions for 2014. Councillor Rebecca Johnson says they have a lot of things to consider.

Walk A Mile Gibbon's Property

The City is ensuring the intellectual property of former Aboriginal Liaison Officer Anna Gibbon is preserved. Gibbon created an education board game that trained staff about aboriginal culture. The City wants to expand the use of the game and is ensuring Gibbon's rights our protected and that she receive a small sum for her work in creating the game. Gibbon won't receive money for the game while she's still a sitting Justice of the Peace.

Some City Departments In The Red

A number of City departments are reporting cost over runs. At the end of September, the City was a million dollars over its 2013 budget projections. The Golf Division was over 200-thousand dollars in the red because of a late start to the golf season and poor weather. Meanwhile, Municipal Child Care is also over 200-thousand dollars because some of their kids are taking part in the Provincial Government's new full day kindergarten program. The City is putting off filling vacant positions until 2014 and staff are vowing to keep an eye on their budget targets.

Infrastructure Priorities Approved

City Council is approving its staff infrastructure priorities plan for the next three years. It was approved at Monday night's meeting as was a three year contract for a Corporate Project Manager. Councillor Ken Boshcoff feels it's a good move and says the position will pay for itself. The City is hoping to have someone in the position by January 1st.