Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Energy Task Force Video Sent To Province

The region's energy task force is spreading their message through a new online video.  Members of the group delivered a copy of the 16 minute video to members of the Provincial Government.  The video outlines Northwestern Ontario's electrical system and the role that the Thunder Bay Generating Station plays in the region.

Northwestern Ontario - A Place to Grow Electrically from Generator on Vimeo.

Horizon Wind Releases Statement On Meeting

Horizon Wind isn't giving much credence to word they walked out of a meeting with Fort William First Nation Tuesday.  The company released a statement about the meeting and said it was clear the community wanted to speak to the Province about its perspectives on the wind farm project and clarify the process. They say they are still willing to speak with the First Nation and carry out any on-going discussion. The release goes on further to say they are actively looking for participation on a Community Liason Committee that will allow for two way communication and  make sure problems that come up are raised and addressed. The company adds they welcome further conversation with members of the Fort William First Nation.

Marathon OPP Report Incidents

Marathon OPP are reporting several collisions on Highway 17 recently. Police dealt with transports hitting rock cuts, a truck hitting a guide post, and a cattle vehicle hitting a rock cut on Monday. The OPP are encouraging drivers to drive at appropriate speeds considering road conditions, visibility and driver experience. Meanwhile, OPP are also reporting a pick up truck hit a woman as she was walking across the road in the Pic Mobert First Nation. The incident happened early Tuesday morning and EMS brought the injured woman to the Wilson Memorial Hospital. Police have interviewed the driver and will be following up with further interviews of people on the scene.

Horizon Walks Out Of Talks With FWFN

Horizon Wind isn't commenting on why it walked out of a meeting that included Fort William First Nations Chief Georjann Morriseau.    Morriseau says the meeting was called to discuss treaty rights with Horizon and the Ministry of Environment  before any decisions are made  on the company's proposed wind farm on the Nor' wester Escarpment.  She says that shortly after the meeting began company officials walked out without giving a reason.  Morriseau considers the consultation process with Horizon to have broken down.

Casino Staff Vote To Join USW

Office staff at the OLG Casino want to join the United Steelworkers Union.  In a certification vote on Monday, staff voted 83 percent in favour of joining the USW.  The administration staff vote comes after the casino's gaming floor employees voted to join the union as well. The union now represents 210 casino employees.

Mazza Hiring Creates Political Storm

The Wynne government is getting hammered over the decision by the Health Science's Centre in Thunder Bay to hire former Ornge CEO Chris Mazza for work in the ER.   Progressive Conservative Frank Klees is especially critical of the move  since Mazza had such a tainted past with the provincial air ambulance service.  Klees calls the hiring of Mazza a complete disrespect for the taxpayers of the province. Health Minister Deb Matthews says the decision to hire Mazza was a local one.

Horizon Wind Meeting Held Today

The Fort William First Nation, Horizon Wind and the Ministries of Environment & Natural Resources are meeting in Thunder Bay today.  They're discussing the planned wind farm on the Norwester Mountains. Escarpment Committee Spokesperson John Beals says they held a rally outside the meeting this morning to support the First Nation. The Ministry of Environment is currently reviewing Horizon Wind's renewable energy application.

Matthews Questioned Over Hospital Crisis

The provincial government is under pressure to ease the gridlock situation at the Health Science's Centre in Thunder Bay.   Health Minister Deb Matthews, under questioning at Queen's Park, says the government is trying to make sure the health authority is very focused on finding ways to resolve the overcrowding problem and calls it  a top priority

Rafferty Weighs In On By-Elections

Thunder Bay Rainy River MPP John Rafferty is weighing in on the results of last night's Federal By-elections. The Liberals retook Toronto Centre and the Montreal riding of Bourassa while the Conservatives reclaimed two Manitoba ridings. Rafferty says the NDP have no regrets. Rafferty notes it's too soon to say if last night's election results will be an indicator of how the next Federal Election will go.

City Plans Out Appeal Strategy

City Manager Tim Commisso is playing his cards close to his chest.    City councillors held a closed door meeting last night with Commisso and the city lawyer about the Resolute Forest Products tax assessment appeal.  And while councillors approved a course of action for administration to take,  Commisso won't say what that is. Commisso says we will likely find out the city's position when the appeal hearings continue in the Thunder Bay next year.

Councillor Wants City Logo Changed

Councillor Aldo Ruberto thinks the city logo should be changed to include the sleeping giant.  He made his pitch to fellow councillors at City Hall last night.  While some like Iain Angus and Rebecca Johnson think it's a waste of time there were others supporting the idea like councillor Brian McKinnon. City administration is now going to look at the proposal and will come up with a recommendation in September of next year.

Friendship Centre Pleads For Support

The head of the Indian Friendship Centre plans to tackle opposition to a proposed youth centre on High Street head on.  Bernice Dubec told councillors she doesn't believe there will be an increase in vandalism in the neighbourhood as a result of the new facility.   Meantime the councillor for the area, Paul Pugh, came out in full support of the project saying it will be a community building in a residential area.  
Officials are asking city councillors to support the proposed 9.8 million dollar centre.  The issue will be back before councillors in the new year.

Sally Ann Will Not Change Sobriety Policy

L to R Patty Hajdu, Rob Kerr
The Salvation Army admits a proposed Cold Weather Plan may conflict with its no drunks policy.   The plan is being set up by Shelter House to get the homeless off the street during the winter months. Rob Kerr of the Salvation Army says they will not change the sobriety rule as part of the plan. He says it's because many of those people who come to their shelter are trying to get away from those influences.  Organizers of the pilot project are asking the city for 35 thousand dollars

Campbell Wants Stories

Local residents are being urged to speak up about the state of road conditions in northwestern Ontario.  Kenora-Rainy River MPP Sarah Campbell is taking to social media to bring our concerns to Queens Park.  Campbell has put out a Facebook message asking constituents to share their stories about the state of local highways.  She's responding to Transportation Minister Glen Murray's promise to come to northwestern Ontario and talk to local road maintenance contractors if the situation doesn't improve.

Liberals Meet In T.Bay Discuss Issues

Liberals appear to be getting ideas from northern Ontario.  Party members gathered in Thunder Bay on the weekend to discuss the regional response to Premier Kathleen Wynne's Common Ground initiative.  Regional Vice-president Anthony Leek says some key issues have emerged.  The Liberals are giving the public an extra week to submit ideas and vote for they review the suggestions.