Monday, February 10, 2014

Businesses Hurt Over Bridge Loss

Fort William First Nation businesses are losing money every day the James Street Swing Bridge remains closed.  A public meeting on how the closure is impacting both the City and First Nation brought out around 100 people Monday night.  Jessie Bannon is the owner of Bannon's Gas Bar and says they've lost about 50 percent of their customers.  Bannon says no one wants to travel the extra distance to the community and notes many feel the road isn't very safe.  Chief Georjann Morriseau says they've waited long enough and they want the bridge open now.  The concerns collected from Monday night's meeting will be sent to both levels of government and CN Rail.

Bio-Mess: City Turns Up The Heat On Chiarelli

The political battle continues between the city and the province's energy minister over the amount of biomass that will be needed to fuel the Thunder Bay Generating Station.   Mayor Keith Hobbs says both sides remain far apart on how much advanced biomass will be needed once the station is converted.  He says the next move is a meeting with Bob Chiarelli at the Ontario Good Roads convention at the end of the month.  Hobbs says if there is no change in the government's position the city will make the the problem an election issue.

Gambee Charged With Fraud

A shocker from city police.   The former chair of the Christmas Cheer Fund is facing a fraud charge.   Police say it's alleged that 60 year old Linda Gambee had defrauded the Christmas Cheer Fund of approximately 22 thousand dollars  while she was the Chairperson of the local charity. Police say their investigation began after the Christmas Cheers Fund committee made a complaint of financial concerns.
She will be appearing in court March 4th.

NAN Disappointed With New Act

NAN Grand Chief
Harvey Yesno
The Nishnawbe Aski Nation is  complaining about the Harper government's proposed changes to the First Nations Education Act.   The act would give them control over student schooling and sink almost 2 billion  dollars into infrastructure and education. NAN Grand Chief Harvey Yesno is saying, among other things, he's disappointed they have to wait for the education funding.   Ontario Regional Chief Stan Beardy is cautious about the federal government's announcement calling it slim on details.

New CFO @ Tbaytel

There's a new chief financial officer at Tbaytel.    Michael Coffey is responsible for leading the city run phone company's financial and accounting divisions.   He comes to the utility after holding similar positions in the private sector.

Housing Starts Slow

The new construction season for houses is off to a sluggish start with only 2 new homes started in the city last month.  While January is normally a slower month for house building in the city last month was a drop from the 4 starts recorded in January of 2013.   The figures come from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.  

South Side Fire

There were no injuries after firefighters battled a stubborn blaze on Vanguard Avenue off of Arthur Street last night.  Just after 8 o'clock crews arrived and found a shed on fire in the back of the property. Three pumper trucks and a total of 14 firefighters helped bring the fire under control quickly and the cause is still under investigation.  

Thief Caught In Act

City Police say a man faces several charges including breach of probation after he was caught red handed during a break in.  A passerby noticed a man inside the Esso Station on Simpson Street just before 8 o'clock last night and called Police.  When the man failed to come out of the building, officers went in and made the arrest.

Kozorys Gets NDP Nod

The NDP are going with a familiar face to challenge Thunder Bay-Atikokan MPP Bill Mauro if a provincial election were to happen.  After two days of voting Mary Kozorys was elected as the NDP's candidate for the riding. Kozorys ran against Mauro in the last election and lost by under five-hundred votes.  Provincial NDP Leader Andrea Horwath was also in attendance.

Courthouse Operational In April

The new consolidated courthouse in Thunder Bay is just weeks away from opening. A spokesperson for the Attorney General's office says the new facility on Miles Street is substantially completed and it will be operational in April.   The new 250 million dollar 7 story building will include 15 courtrooms and an Aboriginal Settlement Suite, the first of its kind in Ontario.