Wednesday, April 30, 2014

EcoSuperior Launches Cycling Programs

Safe Cycling Thunder Bay is offering new cycling education programs.Spokesperson Raphael Shay says one of them is a series of discovery rides in area neighbourhoods. They will also offer an online education course that you can tailor to your questions and concerns about cycling.

NOMA Approves Of Energy East

Despite some opposition, the Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association is endorsing the Energy East pipeline project. A resolution supporting Energy East has been approved.  President Dave Canfield says it comes down to protecting our water resources and the environment. Canfield says we aren't going to stop burning oil any time soon and notes the project makes sense.

Fatal On Highway 527

OPP say a man is dead after an early morning collision on Highway 527 this morning.  The road washed out as a driver was driving past the area.  A second vehicle following close by drove into the wash out and the vehicle caught fire.  The man in the second vehicle succumbed to his injuries. Police say they believe he is from the area and are withholding his name until his family is contacted.  Highway 527 remains closed 20 kms south of Gull Bay First Nation, as well as closed at Highway 811 approximately 160 kms north of Highway 11/17.

Section Of Onion Lake Road Closed

Onion Lake Road 15 kilometres from Wardrope Avenue is closed because of a washout.  Work is underway to fix about a 20 metre  section  of the gravel road that has been worn away by running water.   It's not known how long it will be before the road is completely repaired.

Road Closure In Shuniah

Shuniah is letting drivers know that Lakeshore Drive is shut down just west of Charles Road between 634 and 636 Lakeshore Drive.  The closure was caused by a culvert that damaged the roadway and crews will continue to work to repair it. The road isn't passable and will be closed for eight hours starting at 2 today.

Washout Closes 527

The Ministry of Transportation is warning residents about a washout on Highway 527. They say the roadway is closed south of Armstrong.  Conditions are currently being assessed and additional details on estimated time for opening of the highway will be provided when they become available.

Owen Sound Move Complete

It's official! The Dryden Police Service has finally received approval to transfer dispatch service to the Owen Sound Police Service. The Board has been waiting roughly 6-weeks for the O.K. from the Ontario Civilian Police Commission. The Dryden dispatch centre will close May 27th. The decision was made last October due to costs and the current financial situation in the community. The move will result in the loss of 9 full time and 4 part time positions.

Battle Of The Atlantic

Elymer Auld and Tal Morgan  
The local naval community are paying tribute to those who fought in the Battle of the Atlantic during the Second World War. Thunder Bay Naval Association Spokesperson Rob Cutbush says it's important to remember those who served. The Battle of the Atlantic was the longest continuous military campaign in World War II.  A service will be held at the HMCS Griffon Sunday at 2.

First Saltie In Port

Another landmark day for the new shipping season in the port.   The first ocean going ship, or saltie, is in port now taking a load of grain from the Richardson elevator in Current River. The captain of the Federal Elbe will be presented with a top hat at a ceremony taking place this afternoon.  After that he will be taking the ship and its cargo to Casablanca, Morocco.

Spring Bear Hunt A Go

No delays now that a judge has sided with the provincial government on the spring bear hunt.    A request to have the hunt delayed pending a judicial review has been thrown out of court.   The hunt will now go ahead as scheduled starting tomorrow.  The Ontario Federation Of Anglers and Hunters says it's pleased the court application by Zoocheck Canada and Animal Alliance of Canada has been dismissed and the federation looks forward to a safe and successful hunt.

LRCA Monitors Potential For Flood

The Lakehead Region Conservation Authority continues to monitor area waterways for potential flooding. They are urging caution to local home owners saying that 9 to 17 millimetres of rain has been recorded and more is expected.  The Neebing-McIntyre Floodway which provides flood protection to the lower Neebing River and the Intercity area has begun diverting water and will continue to do so over the next few days.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Grain Cars Derail

The CN tracks on Maureen Street on the city's north side are operational again after a minor train derailment.   A spokesperson says that two grain cars slipped off the tracks at around 10:30 Tuesday morning.  No one was injured and crews managed to put the cars back on track.   They remained upright the entire time.

City Unveils Bike Repair Station

A new community bicycle repair station is now available on at the Mary J-L Black Library.   City spokesperson Adam Krupper  says it allows people to fix up their bike and have the tools available to do so.   Krupper hopes more will can be constructed at other city locations.  The repair station cost 1 thousand dollars build.

Rickford Responds?

The federal Minister responsible for the Ring of Fire says the Harper government remains committed to the massive mining project. Premier Kathleen Wynne and Northern Development and Mines Minister Michael Gravelle are both challenging the feds to match the province's 1 billion dollar promise for infrastructure needs. But Greg Rickford refused to say if the government would come up with any extra funding saying  they've always been at the table. Rickford says he has a good working relationship with Gravelle and looks forward to further talks to move the Ring of Fire forward.

Pilot ProjectHailed A Success

The executive director of the city's homeless shelter can hardly contain her enthusiasm over the success of their cold weather pilot project.   That's where the shelter teamed up with the Salvation Army to drive around on cold nights and get homeless people off the street.  Patty Hajdu of Shelter House hopes the program can be revived with the community coming forward to pay the 225 thousand dollar cost to run the project. Hajdu says businesses, the hospital and police were all very supportive of the program.

Hike For Hospice Sunday

Hospice Northwest is holding its annual fundraiser at Boulevard Lake on Sunday.  About 250 people are expected to take part in Hike For Hospice.  Organizer Kathleen Buso says many hikers have had friends or family stay at the facility and will be there to support it.  When they cross the Black Bay Bridge, they will throw a flower into the river to commemorate their loved ones.  The event begins at 9:30 in the morning and runs until 1 pm.

Local Man Finds Lost Ring In Maine

Paul Marshall 
A city man will be getting his ring back after it ended up in York, Maine. Paul Marshall says he lost the ring while at work, but learned that it was found by contractors in Maine after they purchased a box of screws from Marshall's workplace, GRK Fasteners. Marshall says he thought the ring was gone forever. Marshall adds that the ring is in the mail on its way back to Thunder Bay.

Eco-Friendly Transit Hub Open

EcoSuperior and Thunder Bay Transit have officially opened their eco-friendly and cyclist-friendly transit hub. The new transit shelter has a covered area with benches and lighting for city transit passengers, and another shelter for cyclists who want to lock up their bikes, or pump air into their tires. The eco-friendly hub is the first of its kind in the city.

Conference Costs 30K

The City needs to spend 30-thousand dollars to host an upcoming conference.  Thunder Bay is holding the upcoming Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities meeting in June.  Council decided to apply to the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund for 15-thousand dollars to offset their expenses.

Condo Project Still Viable

Developmental Services Manager Mark Smith feels the Thunder Bay Country Club's condo project is still viable. Smith made the remarks at last night's Council meeting and says they haven't heard anything to suggest the 109 condo units won't go through.  The discussion stemmed from a report looking at the City's residential lot inventory and housing development report.

Council Round Up

Here's a look at the various decisions made at Monday night's City Council meeting.   The City is approving 900-thousand dollars to repair the Whalen Building's parapet.  The money will be used to rebuild the old parapet and replace it with a new one that reflects the historical significance of the building.  Meanwhile, The City is spending 1.2 million dollars to upgrade the Churchill Pool's mechanical system. City lawmakers are also giving permission to the local police force to upgrade their current 911 provider.  Over 178-thousand dollars will be used to upgrade the tech that dispatchers use to take calls from the public.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Debt Reduction Approved

The City is taking steps to make up their 5.7 million dollar deficit in the 2014 budget.  They approved a 2.49 million dollar debt reduction strategy Monday night.  Extra spending was required for snow removal, legal services, police and several other areas.  Council voted down increasing the tax levy to cover the cost over run and instead will take 1.6 million dollars out of a reserve fund.

CEDC Speaks To Council

The head of the Community Economic Development Commission is promoting his group's recent efforts. CEO Doug Murray spoke to City Council Monday night and says Thunder Bay's economy is becoming more diverse.  Murray adds according to reports our economy is more varied than Sudbury.

Wilks Sentenced To 30 Months

A former military medic, convicted of sexually assaulting 16 women during breast exams is going to jail for 30 months.   James Wilks was sentenced in military court Monday in connection with Canadian Forces medical exams he conducted in Thunder Bay and London,  Ontario between 2003 and 2009.  Phillip Millar is the lawyer for some of the victims and says they're satisfied but says he and his clients thought the jail time might be longer.

Police Looking For Suspect

Thunder Bay Police are asking for the public's assistance to identify the woman responsible for a robbery at a north side Safeway. Police say the woman entered the Court Street Safeway on the evening of April 24th. When she was confronted by a security guard, she pulled a knife on the guard, and fled the store. Officials say the woman was last seen heading towards Cumberland Street.

Fair Elections Act Under Scrutiny

Bruce Hyer
There's nothing fair about the Fair Elections Act according to Green Party MP Bruce Hyer. Hyer says that the piece of proposed federal legislation is flawed in many ways. Hyer suggests that Canada needs an electoral system known as proportional representation. According to Hyer, with proportional representation, the number of seats won by a political party is proportionate to the number of votes received. Hyer says that if 20% of people voted for a particular party, that party would represent 20% of seats in the House of Commons. Hyer adds that the entire electoral system needs to be reformed.

Edgar Laprade Dead At 94

Edgar Laprade
A family friend confirms Port Arthur native and Hockey Hall of Famer Edgar Laprade is dead at the age of 94. Laprade was inducted into the Northwestern Ontario Sports Hall of Fame in 1982, and the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1993. Laprade played his entire ten year NHL career with the New York Rangers. He played 500 games scored 108 goals and had 172 assists.

Nipigon Fire Department Receives Funding

The Nipigon Fire Department is receiving some new equipment. Union Gas is helping the fire department with a $3000 grant to purchase a new hydraulic rescue tool. Nipigon Mayor Richard Harvey says finding funding is often difficult, and they are thankful for the cash.

Province Commits Cash To ROF

The provincial government is committing one billion dollars towards the Ring of Fire infrastructure development. The announcement was made in Thunder Bay this morning by Mines Minister Michael Gravelle.
Gravelle challenges the federal government to do the same. The promise will be included in this weeks provincial budget which would require NDP support in order to pass.

TB Chamber Weighs In On Budget Overage

A potential tax levy increase to balance the city budget overage is not sitting well with the Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce. Chamber President Charla Robinson is urging city council to explore cost saving options rather than a tax levy increase. Robinson adds that they support city council in finding a solution.

Four Arrested In Drug Busts

Nearly $12,000 dollars in drugs have been seized from two south side homes. OPP say marijuana and cocaine were found at residences on Home Avenue and Brock Street last week. Officials say four people have been charged with drug related offences.

Busy Weekend For Police

A 33-year old Thunder Bay man is in hospital suffering from stab wounds following an assault in the 400 block of George Street.  City Police say the incident occurred around 8:30 Saturday night.  A 23-year old man from Weagamow Lake was arrested near the scene and is charged with aggravated assault.  He'll appear in court today.

City Police investigating an overnight break-in at County Fair Plaza.  Just after 1:30 this morning, three people set off the alarm in the mall but managed to bust into the lottery store and stole an undisclosed amount of lottery tickets and cigarettes.  The thieves were last seen running behind the Landmark Hotel.  No one was injured and no arrests have been made.

Police are requesting the public's assistance in locating a missing person.  54-year old Wayne MacDonald was last seen leaving his home on April 25th.  He may have been spotted a couple of days later in the area of West Arthur Street and Highway 61. MacDonald is described as caucasian - 6-foot, 180 pounds - with dark/grey hair and blue eyes. He was last seen wearing a beige hooded jacket.  Anyone with information is asked to contact City Police.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Potential For Televising Ontario Courts

Madeleine Meilleur 
Ontario Attorney General Madeleine Meilleur isn't sure if she wants to follow in her predecessor's footsteps when it comes to televising Ontario court cases. Speaking in Thunder Bay last week she says she'll have to bring herself up to speed on the subject. In 2007, former Attorney General Chris Bentley started a pilot project that temporarily put cameras in Ontario’s Court of Appeal.

Local Man Gets On Reality TV

A Thunder Bay man is set to appear on a reality television series to compete to own his own franchise. Aaron Gillingham will participate in the W Network TV show Be the Boss Canada, representing Joey's Restaurants. Gillingham says he already knows the outcome of the show, but is sworn to secrecy. The network will air his episode at 8:00 p.m. on Thursday, May 1st.

Canada Games Complex Evacuated

No one is seriously injured after a chemical spill at the Canada Games Complex. Fire officials say they found undiluted Javex in a water line in the hot tub area yesterday, which produced dangerous fumes. Complex workers evacuated the building as a result.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Horwath Aims To Improve Highways

Provincial NDP leader Andrea Horwath has announced her plan for improving area highways. Speaking in Thunder Bay today, Horwath said the NDP plan to make northern highways safer by putting 200 new pieces of snow removal equipment on the roads. Horwath says the northern Ontario highways are a lifeline for northern residents, as people rely on the highways to get from smaller towns to bigger cities. Horwath is aiming to have the plan in place by next winter.

NAPS Adds New Officers

Six new officers are joining the ranks to serve the Nishnawbe-Aski Nation. Two of the officers are from northwestern Ontario. Constable John Conrad is from Thunder Bay and has over 10 years' experience with the Canadian Forces. Constable Steven Hookimaw hails from Attawapiskat and is a former Nishnawbe-Aski Police Service Auxiliary Constable. The other officers are from Sault Ste. Marie, Sudbury, Wallaceburg and Collingwood. They will be stationed in the communities of Sandy Lake, Attawapiskat, Poplar Hill, Kingfisher Lake and Moose Cree for their initial training period.

Slow Month For Pigeon River

The Canada Border Services Agency is reporting a decrease in the amount of action at the Pigeon River Border Crossing. The CBSA says they processed nearly 40,000 travellers throughout March, a 13 percent decrease from March 2013. The CBSA adds that they conducted close to 3,000 secondary examinations.

Some Hydro Issues Unresolved

Most power outages as a result of the spring snow storm have been resolved. Thunder Bay Hydro is reporting that crews finished up their maintenance just after midnight. Meanwhile, many Hydro One customers are still without power. Communications Officer Nancy Shaddick says close to three thousand customers don't have any power. Shaddick says many people have been without power since Friday morning.

NAPS Seizes Drugs

The Nishnawbe-Aski Police have seized drugs from the Attawapiskat First Nation. Officials say marijuana, Oxycodone, and just over $7500 worth of alcohol was seized, while $7500 in cash was also found. A 25-year-old woman and 33-year-old woman have been charged and will appear in court in August.

Rafferty Pleased With Court Ruling

A Supreme Court ruling is boding well for NDP MP John Rafferty. The Supreme Court ruled on Friday that the Harper government could not make any changes to Canada's Senate without consultation from other provinces and territories. Rafferty says the highest court in Canada gave the answer everyone was expecting. Rafferty adds that the Senate will never be reformed under the Harper government.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Scary Incident During Wasaya Flight

The Chief of Sachigo Lake First Nation is confirming an incident involving a Wasaya Airways plane. Alvin Beardy says the community is in shock after the door of a Wasaya Airways plane flew open shortly after take-off yesterday. Beardy says the aircraft had finished dropping off passengers when it took off. The aircraft came back to the airport and landed safely. Beardy says the door above the propellor had opened during mid-flight. He says it was a full load with members of his community as well as others. He stresses the incident needs to be looked at seriously. The Transportation Safety Board is looking into the incident.

Harsh Winters Cause Cost Overruns

A harsh winter is causing the City to go over it's 2014 operating budget. City Treasurer Carol Pollard says two bad winters back to back has wreaked havoc with their finances.  The City is looking at an anticipated $5.73 million dollar year end deficit. Staff want City Council to implement a deficit management plan along with an increase to the budget to help address cost overruns.

Man Faces Child Porn Charges

A 41 year old man is charged with possessing and distributing child porn.  A police investigation from January lead to a recent search of an East Arthur Street home where a USB stick, SD photo card and CD's were seized.  Geoffrey Filmore will be in court on May 20th.

Tina's False Alarm

False alarm this afternoon at Tina's Restaurant.  Fire crews check out a call for a roof on fire while staff wait outside.  A mechanical issue to one of the building's heating units caused smoke.  No one was injured.

LRCA Warns About Flood

The Lakehead Region Conservation Authority is warning about potential flooding.  The significant amount of snow received overnight, accompanied with rising temperatures could cause flooding in the area. The LRCA is urging people to use caution around area waterways.

Power Outages Impact Almost 6-Thousand

City Fire fighters and Hydro crews dealing with several downed power lines and hydro poles on fire this morning.  Hydro One says around 44-hundred customers are without power and Thunder Bay Hydro has another 25-hundred customers without power.  Additional crews have been brought in and are out working on the outages.   Hydro One is hopeful to have its customers back on-line by this afternoon.   Meanwhile, Holy Cross School is closed today because of a power outage.  Almost 350 students students have already been picked up.

Another 5 CM Coming

20 centimetres of wet slushy snow fell on our City overnight. Environment Canada Meteorologist Peter Kimbell says another 5 centimetres of snow is going to fall today.  Kimbell says the weather will clear up for the weekend but temperatures will remain cool. 250 cm of snow fell in Thunder Bay this winter.

Slippery Driving Conditions

Thunder Bay police are advising drivers to take notice of the slick road conditions.  The recent blast of snow is making driving difficult today. Police are asking that drivers reduce speed and adjust following distance as the wind has reduced visibility and could cause problems for motorists.


The Municipal Property Assessment Corporation is acknowledging a need to improve. The agency determining property values outlined some of the things its working on to delegates attending the Northwestern Ontario Municipal Conference.  Spokesperson Arthur Anderson says it includes getting its assessment work - out - sooner.  Anderson says it may also reduce appeals and maintain stability.

No Buses And Rural Schools Closed

Today's snowstorm leading to the cancellation of all school buses for both rural and city students.  As well, all rural schools are closed including Crestview, Five Mile, Gorham and Ware, Kakabeka Falls, McKenzie, Nor'Wester View, Valley Central, and Whitefish Valley. The Thunder Bay Christian School is also closed today.  City Schools are open, but with no busing.