THUNDER BAY – Monday night’s City Council meeting has a number of important topics that were discussed. Our NNL Report covers in depth on the major issues dealt with at Council.
Randy Moore, on behalf of Age Friendly Thunder Bay offered a review of the past year’s activities of the group.
Age Friendly Thunder Bay
The Age Friendly Committee was formed in 2009. The committee was included in the strategic plan for the City. The Chair of the Committee is Rebecca Johnson. There are four key areas that the committee has done. They received a $75,000 Trillium Grant.
There are eight organizations that have endorsed the Senior’s Charter. The city has received recognition from the WHO Global Network of Age-Friendly Cities and Communities. Councillor Johnson shared how the committee is currently doing a city-wide audit to determine how best to gather resources.
Councillor Hebert commented “I really have a problem with ‘Age Friendly’ when it is really ‘Senior Friendly’.
The Committee responded that this was in keeping with the World Health Organization requirements.
Mayor Hobbs asked about the economic benefit of being an ‘Age Friendly City’. He was told by Randy Moore that there are huge opportunities in attracting a growing senior citizen population.
The Council was told that in endorsing the Charter the results will be good for the city. “Population ageing and urbanization are two global trends that together comprise major forces shaping the 21st century. At the same time as cities are growing, their share of residents aged 60 years and more is increasing. Older people are a resource for
their families, communities and economies in supportive and enabling living environments”.
“WHO regards active ageing as a lifelong process shaped by several factors that, alone and acting together, favour health, participation and security in older adult life”. (Source: World Health Organization)
Clean Green and Beautiful
A report presented for information on the Clean Green and Beautiful initiative was presented. Councillor McKinnon questioned why there has not been sufficient action in this area. Councillor Johnson outlined how planning is continuing.
Earth Care Community Environmental Action Plan
In 2012 the Committee updated the Emissions Inventory in 2012. They reported that there has been a 38% decrease in community emissions from 2005 to 2011.
Three factors drove this decline. Between 2005 and 2006 industrial activity dropped significantly.
The Council was told that alternative energy sources in the city also were significant and the goal of 35% has been met and exceeded.
Half of Thunder Bay’s greenhouse gas emissions were generated by burning of natural gas.
The Committee is expanding its plan, which is being drafted through 2013 and will be presented to Council in 2014 for ratification.
Paul Pugh seeking input on the numbers as to how the greenhouse gas emissions were calculated, was told that the figures were based on Ontario wide figures, and included the closure of coal fired generating stations.
Pugh stated, “If we are using the provincial figures, then the figures are not accurate to Thunder Bay as most of our power is generated by hydro power”.
Pugh and Council were told that by using the provincial figures, that it allowed the Committee to generate a baseline figure.
Councillor Foulds said, “The community is moving past the ‘low hanging fruit’ but to continue to make these kinds of gains we have to move forward.” Seeking input on how to reduce the city’s carbon footprint, Council was told that Land Use Planning would be critical. Using planning for flooding management, reducing crime, and storm water management would help achieve new goals. This would be aided by the new solid waste management program announced earlier today.
Councillor Hebert said, that the biggest drop in emissions was generated by the drop in the economy and the loss of jobs the reduced economic activity that resulted in the decline in emissions.
The discussion then moved to finding alternatives to CFL light bulbs, which Councillor Hebert stated are often thrown out by consumers. The Council was told there are alternatives, LED lights as an example, and that people are encouraged to re-cycle CFL lights.
For more information visit: www.thunderbay.ca/earthcare
All councillors voted to approve the motion brought before Council that Administration come to an agreement with the Thunder Bay Border Cats for a licencing agreement.
The move, in part will help keep the Border Cats Baseball team in Thunder Bay.
From the report: “The previous License Agreement with the Thunder Bay Border Cats expired on December 31, 2012 and the owner of the team, Mr. Brad Jorgenson, has expressed a desire to keep the team in Thunder Bay at the Port Arthur Stadium. Per game attendance has grown by 10% between 2011 and 2012, with a total attendance of over 28,000 in the 2012 season. Additionally the team holds charity draws on game nights and employs about 30 summer staff.
“The Border Cats has an outstanding balance of approximately $38,000.00 on its account including principal and interest. In view of this outstanding balance the organization would not be entitled to further credit or services according to the Corporate Credit and Collection Policy. Administration has been working with the Border Cats to establish a plan to address its arrears and has restructured the 2013 License Agreement to establish a financially viable arrangement for both parties this year. As such administration recommends that terms of the Corporate Credit and Collection Policy be waived for 2013 to allow sufficient time for a repayment plan to take effect”.
Eye in the Sky
Council received a report on the cameras across the city. The Crime Prevention Council originally received the report. Council was told that the ‘Eye Program’ is not preventing crime, but provides opportunity for EMS that it is helping.
Councillor Foulds commented that in the report it states that the cameras help police in fighting crime. The report however according to Foulds demonstrated an increase in suspicious activity.
The report demonstrated that the corner of Brodie Street and Victoria Avenue and the Water Street Terminal camera are the two areas with the greatest amount of suspicious activity.
Councillor Hebert was questioning when camera operators were on duty. He was told that information was not something that should be provided in open session. The committee did not want to make it known when cameras were not being watched.
Royal Edward Arms
Councillor Foulds reported to Council that when the report came forward, there were questions he wanted to ask that were not answered. “I have big concerns,” stated Foulds.
“We have a couple of years, it would be prudent for us to be proactive. We are going to be taking sixty homes out of the mix,” added Foulds. “We have a housing backlog of 1000 homes right now”.
Foulds is seeking that the building be returned to the city in a condition that it can be used.
The Current River Councillor is looking for proactive action from Council.
The Royal Edward Arms is a heritage building, and what Deputy Clerk Henndrick says is a reasonable request and does not overlap what the city can do.
Mayor Hobbs commented that “The South Core needs to be cleaned up, and we need a social readiness plan in place.” Hobbs moved an amendment to add senior housing to the motion.
Councillor Bentz questioned if the Council was asking Administration to overlap District Social Services (TBDSSAB) is doing.
Tim Commisso relayed that there should be a meeting of minds between DSSAB and the City. Mark Smith sought that Council and Administration along with DSSAB all be on the “Same Page”.
Smith commented that issues of housing in the city are “very complex”.
There is nothing in the lease, according to Administration to require the DSSAB to return the building with a condition assessment. “It is normal practice for a city owned building to be assessed every five years”, Council was told.
Councillor Pugh said “This is timely, and should be done before we get the building back”.
Councillor McKinnon questioned the need for the motion, saying that it is redundant.
Councillor Angus reported that the condition assessment that DSSAB has done is based on the needs of social housing, and that the assessment sought by Councillor Foulds is far different. “It allows for the strategic decision making by the City”, commented Angus.
Angus argued “If we don’t do it, at the end of the day, we are going to be stuck with an old building and we won’t know what to do with it in 2015”.
Councillor Bentz commented that once the lease is over, Administration would be looking for suitable tenants or uses for the building. Bentz questioned if there were possible plans to have divestiture of the building. Bentz asserted that all options should be on the table for Administration.
Bentz moved an amendment to the motion to include divestiture of the building, the motion was carried.
The motion was carried.