Concerned Citizens Open Forum Report on First Meeting

Thunder BayTHUNDER BAY – The following is the report from the Concerned Citizens Open Forum which was held on November 29, 2011, at the Mary J.L. Black Library.

One of the group facilitators, Andy Wolff has submitted this report:

The following are issues discussed from the first meeting including all comments, concerns and suggestions from the general public that attended:

TOPICS DISCUSSED

About Concerned Citizens Of Thunder Bay

The organizers of this group are the following people:
Angela Beaucage
Barb Fraser
Scott Hobbs
Tracy L. Hurlbert
Fran Loney
Serafina Mauro
Holly Turunen-Allen
Andy Wolff

Suggestions:

Develop a constitution that…

  • Upholds the best interests for the people of Thunder Bay.
  • Defines our mandate and set goals.
  • Defines a structure to this group (perhaps an elected committee).
  • Defines what our focus will be to start the change.
  • Develop solutions to the challenges our city faces by seeking input from residents.
  • Stay away from politics and make the main concern the people of Thunder Bay.
  • Sell memberships to people so we can have solid numbers to go forward to council.
  • Our meetings should be open to the general public and allow them to voice their concerns.

Once the group has more structure, entice lobbyists to hop onboard and speakers can come from Ottawa and Queen’s Park.

  • A website should be created to promote education to the public.
  • There are a lot of social issues and a group like this can bring groups together and access knowledge.

City Council and other local organizations

Concerns:

  • Negative feelings towards city council
  • We have taken too many people (governments) at face value and we have been deceived.
  • Our city’s problems are based on ignorance, apathy and they are systemic.
  • Things are not getting better, they are getting worse.
  • People really want to make a difference but they have lost that and they don’t know where to go.
  • How come a little city like this has so much debt in comparison to bigger cities?

Suggestions:

  • Build on the positives that are already happening in the city.
  • Find out what organizations are doing to address citizens concerns.
  • Acknowledge what is already being done.
  • Tap into the grassroots groups and organizations of this city such as Hillcrest and Centre for Change

Become an advocacy group on behalf of the citizens of Thunder Bay and educate the public.

Work with city council to find common ground.

Hold our city government accountable for mistakes regarding overspending.

Keep inviting the councillors to come out to future public meetings.

Crime and Addictions

Concerns:

Crime and severe addictions are plaguing this city

Things are moving very slow in this city towards solutions

The only solution is jail.

Some of the issues are provincial and federal issues so therefore we get ignored.

Youth discipline needs to be upgraded substantially. What can we do to hold the parents accountable for their actions?”

No one is making a demand to close the Macs stores after 11. Why are they open past 11 and providing a venue for crime to happen?

Certain people do not have the structure they need and they make bad choices

Suggestions:

We need education for the children perhaps starting in the elementary schools.

We need to look at strategies that we can control and help with.”

Personal responsibility must be emphasized and we need to hold people accountable for their actions.

Mental Illness

Concerns:

  • Mental illness is being looked at as insignificant.
  • People with mental illness are on the streets and they run into drugs and crime.
  • Hospitals are full, wait times are long. Patients are being turned away and waiting lists for treatment are long.
  • People with mental illness have nowhere to go.
  • We get no backing from Ottawa.
  • We have become misinformed and taking in information from those who do not have our best interests at heart.”
  • “50% of the mentally ill are still not getting treatment. When we don’t treat

Suggestions:

  • People have to tell the politicians that we have a problem.
  • Advocacy means an equal playing field between mental health and physical health.
  • Create a Facebook page about Mental Illness
  • Educate and inform citizens.
  • Provide links for people to go to for help or information

There needs to be services in place to help people from outlying communities with substance abuse.

Youth and Education

Concerns:

Intercity mall is full of youth during the day during school hours. Why are they here and why are they not in school and what are their parents doing to ensure that they are in school?

Suggestions:

The fault is on the school board and the parents. We need to hold the parents’ accountable.”

Education and advocacy is important to our group and should be the basis to this group.

We have non profit groups that would love to share with this group. Invite them to come and share their ideas and what they are working on.

NetNewLedger is a free service and we can use it whenever we want. James Murray (from Net New Ledger) had a beautiful drop in centre and when the children came the parents came and it turned into a community feeling.

We have a library and it’s vacant. These children have no place to go. Open up the library and let them have a place to go.

We need to protect our children and give them a place to be and give them security.

For more information visit the group online on Facebook.

 

photo courtesy Scott Hobbs