THUNDER BAY – Monday Night in Thunder Bay is City Council. The first deputation for Council came as a crew in bright ‘ten mile’ orange showed up to share some performances with Council. 9th Annual “Random Acts of Poetry: Thunder Bay Performance Project” was entertaining Council with poems, music and their colourful attire.
Council then got down to business. Accepting reports. The issue of hospital beds was raised under the Intergovernmental Affairs Committee.
Resolution: The City provide a one-time grant to the Thunder Bay Indian Friendship Centre (TBIFC) not to exceed $57,421, $39,265 to be recoverable on the sale of the property, to facilitate its potential purchase of 540 High Street South.
This is an issue that came forward at the start of the summer as the Indian Friendship Centre is looking to put a youth centre at the property. The resolution passed.
City Council has a pilot project ongoing with the Youth Centre partnership with the City of Thunder Bay, Wasaya Group, and Youth Centres Thunder Bay.
Crime Prevention Council
The Crime Prevention Council made a presentation at Council. The Crime Prevention Council states that the crime rate is declining, and that residents are feeling safer in Thunder Bay. Community members make up the Crime Prevention Council. The strategic plan was approved two years ago.
The Crime Prevention Council is presenting their action plan, and their ongoing successes. Council was told that one of the key components is building partnerships in the neighbourhoods. Jane’s Walk, summer barbecues, and discussion, and the Community Action Group in the Windsor, Junot and Picton neighbourhoods.
The CPC also shared how City Hall Sounds helped in the downtown Fort William neighbourhood.
Council was also told of the ongoing respect campaign, that the City has adopted from Confederation College.
The Crime Prevention Council reported on the $900,000 Public Safety grant received to make their work happen.
The report was received without any questions from Council.
Smokin’ at the Hospital
The Council moved on to receive information on the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre on smoking. Councillor Foulds then sought to ask some questions of the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre.
Councillor Foulds wanted clarification on why the TBRHSC had not considered a gazebo or other means for a designated smoking area.
Council was told that as a result of the engagement with internal and external stakeholders. The concept of a smoking area had been considered, but the stakeholders insisted a 100% smoke free designation be implemented.
Foulds said that “Smoking is not good for you, we all know that”. Foulds questioned why an all out ban was being implemented when all out bans have rarely worked in the past.
Tracie Smith from the TBRHSC also told Council that nicotine replacement therapy is available.
Foulds remained focused on the issue – asking why the all out ban was implemented, and how other large institutes in the community had looked at the issue. Fould concluded commenting that he remains very uncomfortable with the ban.
Councillor Mckinnon then commented that “I am very comfortable with the complete ban on smoking”.
Councillor Ruberto simply stated, “Thank-you! Thank-you! Thank-you!”.
Mayor Hobbs said, “Of all places this is a place where there should be a ban on smoking”.
Councillor Boshcoff commented that he would appreciate answers that he could provide people who might complain that would “stop them dead, in their tracks”.
Councillor Bentz stated he will not be supporting the resolution. Councillor Giertuga agreed with Mr. Bentz and stated he will not support the resolution.
Debate continued. Mayor Hobbs then shared to Council that the resolution is a part of the city’s strategic plan to be a healthy community.
Offering some grand-standing, Councillor Giertuga started suggesting if the idea is a healthy city, then smoking should be banned on all city properties.
Councillor Ruberto started asking a question, to be once again have the Chair, Mr. Bentz interrupt the Councillor. “In this day and age, we have spent an hour and a half talking about smoking?”
“Let’s get proactive, not reactive,” said Ruberto.
Councillor Virdiramo sought for the question to be called.
On the main motion, Councillor Giertuga then sought to amend the resolution have a report back from administration in three months, on how many tickets were issued. The Councillor brought the amendment forward seconded by Councillor Virdiramo.
Again to the main motion, stepping away from his earlier move to speed up the motion, attempted to move a motion. Councillor Giertuga then sought to call the question.
The resolution passed.