THUNDER BAY – On Thursday, September 30 as Acting Mayor, Iain Angus welcomed the Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association delegates to Thunder Bay. The following are his remarks to his fellow council members from Kenora to White River.
Welcome back to Thunder Bay.
I am pleased to see so many of you here today….either you are all acclaimed, not running or really, really confident!
If you read the front page of our paper you would think that Thunder Bay is going down the tubes.
Or, if you listen to some of those running for Council we have failed miserably in managing our community and our economy – and there is no cause for hope.
Yet Thunder Bay is in a remarkable position with great things happening here.
As our neighbours and friends I believe it is important that you have a sense of how this community is reinventing itself – in part because of our proximity to you, our municipal partners, and in part because Council and Administration understand what the word LEADERSHIP really means.
Thunder Bay has established itself as a research and innovation centre of the Northwest. The City’s $5 million dollar investment in the Thunder Bay Regional Research Institute has resulted in an additional $50 million investment that is leading to 200 direct and between 400 and 500 indirect well paying professional jobs by 2013.
Tornado Medical Systems has chosen to make Thunder Bay its home – taking imaging concepts developed by the Regional Research Institute and creating medical devices to be built and sold. They expect to grow 200 jobs by 2013.
Lakehead University, Confederation College and the Medical School insert hundreds of millions of dollars into the local economy. The Centre for Research and Innovation in the Bio-Economy along with Lakehead University’s bio-refining research institute position Thunder Bay well to be the leader in the creation of the next generation of renewable forestry bio-products.
Thunder Bay has quietly become a mining service centre. There are 1600 full time mining related jobs in the city today and that will only increase over time. The Mining Task Force created by the Community Economic Development Commission, which includes representatives from the Municipality of Greenstone will ensure that Thunder Bay and the immediate area will benefit, not only from the development of the Ring of Fire but from a range of mining potential throughout the Northwest.
We remain a manufacturing facility of some note. The Bombardier plant has solid contract for years to come and will only see their employment levels increase over the next few years. The Thunder Bay Metal Fabricators Association (formerly the Oil Sands Consortium) has brought together a number of competitors who collectively have attracted millions of dollars of work from Alberta and Saskatchewan to Thunder Bay. Keeping our workers employed here, rather than being forced to commute to the prairies.
And we have Global Sticks in Oliver Paipoonge gearing up to open and serve the world.
On the construction side, our staff reported last week that we have received building permit applications worth $100 million so far this year, and that 70% of them are for private sector projects. Projects include the Seniors Centre of Excellence, the McKellar Hospital Conversion, expansion at Thunder Bay Regional Health Science Centre, private housing growth and a new methane gas generator at our landfill site. And of course our $120 million public/private investment in our waterfront is significant.
Yet to come is the new court house, new TBDSSAB building (which I am happy to report came in under budget) and a number of private housing developments on vacant school properties and vacant lands.
Not included in this list, but equally important to Thunder Bay are all of the provincial highway twinning projects in and around the City – with investments in the hundreds of millions.
But we know we have more to do.
That’s why we have created the position of Aboriginal Liaison – to help us work with the hundreds of Aboriginals who move to our community each year. By the way, 80% of the Aboriginals living in Thunder Bay are gainfully employed!
That’s why we have created a crime prevention council to focus on the roots of criminal activity
That’s why we have created Renew Thunder Bay – using $10 million of Provincial dollars to lever future contributions from other orders of Government for strategic capital projects.
That’s just a snapshot of what we have going for us.
It wasn’t easy!
It didn’t happen overnight!
But it is happening!
And it took leadership!
And it took partnering!
Thunder Bay is not an island. It is part of the community we call Northwestern Ontario. We survive and thrive together!
Please enjoy your stay in Thunder Bay.