Wednesday, February 12, 2014

First Nations Northern Housing Conference

Lisa McCormick
Two First Nations communities are being recognized at tonight's twelfth annual First Nations Northern Housing Conference at the Valhalla Inn. Batchewana and Constance Lake First Nation are receiving the 2014 Innovation Awards. Lisa McCormick is Tenant Liaison for the Batchewana First Nation and says that their community has involved residents when designing their homes. She adds that the goal is to have them feel an attachment to the home and treat it with care. Corrina Cheechoo is an assistant with the Housing Program Coordinator and says her community has taken a long term approach to create safe and affordable living.

Companies Fined For Illegal Camps

The Ministry of Natural Resources is fining two companies 27-thousand dollars for illegally building a mining camp in the Ring of Fire. Vancouver based Fancamp Explorations and Thunder Bay's Webequie Logistics were found guilty of carrying out construction work without the authority of a work permit. The cases were heard in the Ontario Court of Justice recently.

Police Search For South Side Scoundrel

Police are looking for your help in stopping a string of business break ins they believe are being committed by one person.   They say there have been 30 south side break in reports since the beginning of the year.   Police believe the person responsible travels on foot and will be carrying a back pack, shopping bag or messenger bag.  

Weldon Is Sochi Bound

Thunder Bay's Robbi Weldon is going to Sochi.    The athlete who has been called a paralympic powerhouse, is heading to the Paralympic Games next month.    She has been named to the Canadian team and will be heading to Sochi with the para-nordic squad. Weldon competed in London, England 4 years ago and won gold in tandem biking.

Hospital Grants Handed Out

The Thunder Bay Hospital is putting 65-thousand dollars in grants towards some home grown ideas from front line staff that they say will make patients more comfortable during their stay. Glenn Craig is President and CEO of the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation and says the Family CARE (Care Advancements Recommended by Employees ) Grant focuses on small steps the hospital can take in improving visits. Over 70 applications were made for the grant but funds will be spread among 43. Some initiatives chosen include bedside safety mats to prevent falls, specialized wheel chairs, improved vital sign monitors, translated consultation forms for aboriginal patients, and bedside exercise therapy.

Habitat For Humanity Doubles Store Size

Habitat for Humanity Thunder Bay is opening the doors to its newly expanded ReStore on Squier Street. Store Manager Tyson Neill says the store is now 6000 square feet which is double its old size. Neill adds that previous to the expansion donations were at times turned away because of a lack of space. Mayor Keith Hobbs was also at the opening and presented Neill with a certificate of appreciation on behalf of the city.

TBCC Unsatisfied With City Budget

The Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce isn't giving the city's budget full support.  President Charla Robinson commends council and the work its done in reviewing the  fiscal document line by line, but says it still falls short.  Robinson says even though the tax increase is below 2 per cent,  the chamber is disappointed not enough was done to control costs and that the operating budget continues to rise.  She believes councillors missed a number of opportunities to make cuts.

Auction Won't Cover Debt

Global Stick's debt won't be paid anytime soon.  Infinity Asset Solutions says Tuesday's auction of the company's assets won't cover its 15 million dollar debt.  VP Jason Hayne can't say how much was raised but notes most times an auction doesn't provide nearly enough to cover a company's debts.

Chamber Likes Fed's Budget

The Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce is taking a liking to the Harper government's budget.   President Charla Robinson says that there are numerous programs that the chamber is keen to support like money for an expanded apprenticeship program and the Canada Jobs Grant.  Robinson also points to expanded broadband internet service to remote communities and a new Building Canada fund.

Heart Of The Continent

A tourism partnership between Northwestern Ontario, Northern Minnesota and the National Geographic Society is now official. Together they will create an online regional geo-tourism initiative highlighting the region. The Heart of the Continent partnership means a new in-depth website and smartphone app that will be linked with existing National Geographic sites.

Rafferty Pans Budget

The federal budget is getting a solid thumbs down from Thunder Bay NDP MP John Rafferty.  Rafferty says it lives up to its name of a "do nothing budget".   He says there is nothing for northern Ontario noting that FedNor is not getting any new money and neither is the forestry sector.  Rafferty adds there is nothing in the budget that will help struggling families in the country.

Hyer Not Down With Budget

The federal budget is getting a mostly negative review from Thunder Bay Green Party MP Bruce Hyer.  He sees  a some positives but says they are few and far between.    He sites the continuing tax credit for mining exploration along with money for forestry marketing and apprenticeships. Otherwise, Hyer says he's disappointed that the government isn't going after the banks and larger corporations, and instead, keeping small businesses and average families overtaxed.

Tax Levy 1.69% Down From 2.1%

The City's 2014 tax levy is coming in at 1.69 percent.  That figure came about after days of reviewing the budget and cutting thousands of dollars off of the multi-million dollar fiscal document. Mayor Keith Hobbs says he's pleased since it's the lowest levy they've seen the last couple of years.  The public has one last chance to comment on the budget Wednesday night. The budget will then come up for a final vote on March 3rd.

35K Added To Budget

The City is adding 35-thousand dollars to the 2014 budget.  It's for the Shelter House Cold Weather Pilot Project.  City Councillor Andrew Foulds made the call for the cash saying it was badly needed for the important program.

City Golf Introduces New Packages

After several years of finishing in the red the City's Golf Division is shaking up its user fees in an attempt to get more people playing their courses. Director Tom Forsythe says they want to make it more affordable to golf at their courses with family and couples fees.  Forsythe says they saw a late start to the golfing season last year and that didn't help them any with their financial situation.