Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Staffing Concerns At Nipigon Hospital

The Ontario Nurses Association is concerned about the staffing levels at the Nipigon District Memorial Hospital.  They feel workloads are unsafe and have compromised patient safety. Nurses have called for an independent assessment committee to examine their work issues. The review will be held from today until Thursday.

OEB Holding Meetings

The Ontario Energy Board is releasing information about it's next steps in consultation with Ontarians regarding the proposed Energy East Pipeline.  The $12 billion project will transport crude oil from from Western Canada through Northern Ontario to Quebec and New Brunswick.  The board will hold a series of public meetings to discuss the proposed pipeline route. They will be Thunder Bay on March 26th.  Separate meetings will be held during the same period  with First Nation's and Metis communities to seek their views on the project.

Six Dogs Put Down

Animal Services is temporarily suspending any dog adoptions for the time being after a Parvo Virus outbreak at their centre.  Supervisor Jody Kondrat says six dogs had to be put down.  Five were puppies and one was an older dog who was too weak for the treatment.  Six dogs who are not vaccinated will stay at the New Hope Dog Rescue, while six healthy vaccinated dogs will stay at the animal services shelter.

Grace Remus Ending June 30th

The city is putting an end to the Grace Remus Evening Program pilot project as of June 30th.  Councillor Ken Boshcoff says it will save the city money without leaving parents scrambling to find a program to watch over their children.  The city would have been on the hook for 100-thousand dollars a year in costs if the program was picked up permanently.

Budget Ratified

City council is officially ratifying the 2014 budget. There was some opposition to the budget felt at council last night that was already approved in principal in February. The tax levy is set at 1.69 percent.

Commisso Brings MPAC Report

The city is responding to a provincial report that would change the assessment of grain elevators in the city. City Manager Tim Commisso says any change would result in significant financial losses for the city. The city will submit their own report in response to the Special Purpose Business Property Assessment Review to the Minister of Finance.

Construction Set For Court St. Bridge

The city is approving funding for the reconstruction of the Court Street Bridge over McVicar Creek.  The city will put 238-thousand dollars towards the project while asking for an additional 2-million from the province.

Golf Links Work Cost Overruns

The contract for phase one of the Golf Links/Junot Road corridor is exceeding original estimates by nearly 1-million dollars. Underestimates for material are being blamed for the overage. Councillor Andrew Foulds says the 980-thousand dollar difference is simply unacceptable. The city will use over 500-thousand dollars from its Renew fund to pay for two resurfacing projects that would have been postponed because of the overage.

Council Passes Design Policy

Council is passing a facility design standard policy that will make buildings more environmentally friendly. Manager of Construction Services Gerry Broere says the city can make some significant savings by making its building more efficient.  A 2012 report found that municipal buildings in Thunder Bay were responsible for nearly half of all greenhouse gasses emitted from local government buildings.

T.Bay A Blue Community?

Council is considering having the city deemed a Blue Community which would carry with it three resolutions to show its commitment proper water treatment.  One of those commitments would be phasing out the sale of single use water bottles in their buildings, something Blue Planet Chair Ann McGoey says will save people money. McGoey adds that less than fifty percent of plastic water bottles are recycled after their first use.

Water Problems At New Courthouse

Officials are still trying to tally the damages at the new courthouse building on Miles Street following a wet weekend.   The Attorney General's Ministry says that on Friday evening a main floor water pipe burst in the southeast corner of the building.  They say there's damage to two offices and an elevator shaft.    The cause of the leak  hasn't been determined.  Plans are for the courthouse to be fully operational in mid-April.

First Nations Sign On For Land Agreement

Nearly twenty first nations communities across the country, including three in Ontario are joining the First Nations Land Management Regime today. Minister of Aboriginal Affairs Bernard Valcourt says the program opens doors for communities.  Valcourt says they now have over one hundred communities under the First Nations Land Management Regime. Long Lake 58 First Nation signed on to the agreement on Monday.

OPP Charge Drunk Drivers

OPP are charging two people with drinking and driving related offences. It stems from two incidents on Sunday. One incident involved a woman driving her vehicle into a snowbank near the Highway 11/17 and Hodder Avenue ramp. Another involved a tip from the public about a man driving a vehicle out of a business on the Fort William First Nation.

More Emergency Care Needed

The Northern Ontario School of Medicine is releasing its Community Based Emergency Care report that recommends having local health care training programs in place in remote First Nations.  Nishnawbe Aski Nation Deputy Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler says having local health workers would improve the health and safety of those living in these communities. Nearly thirty First Nations in Northern Ontario are without access to 911 or paramedic services.

Rickford Makes Mining Announcement

FedNor Minister Greg Rickford is announcing an investment for Northern Ontario firm Penguin Automated Systems.  The investment will help develop robotics technology to be used in underground mines. During development the firm expects to hire thirty engineers and technical workers.