THUNDER BAY – Civic Politics – I attended my first Thunder Bay City Council meeting as an official candidate for Councillor of McIntyre Ward Monday night and it definitely didn’t disappoint. A few pretty big topics were discussed, the most contentious issue being the Indian Friendship Centre’s proposed new Youth Centre.
This topic in particular left me very disappointed. First off let me say the idea behind this project is, without at doubt, greatly needed in the city. The Indian Friendship Centre wants to open a Youth Centre that will not only give First Nations Youth a safe place to hang out, but will be open to non First Nations too. This will help bridge the culture gap between our communities and help us grow closer together. Anyone who knows me will say that this is exactly the kind of community building I believe in. That being said I do feel that this decision was rushed and due diligence was not done. Regardless of the merits of an idea, its council’s duty to look at every option before making a decision. For many this decision is being made based on culture and that is a very sad thing. Culture should never enter into a city decision, only facts, numbers and longer term benefits should be used to make a decision. In this case council doesn’t have all the answers which is why I do not support this decision at this time.
After around 2 hours of discussion the big question I have was never fully addressed. What other options have been looked at? This project will come at a price tag for tax payers of 2.5 million dollars and an additional 300 thousand dollars per year in annual operating costs. That is a tough pill to swallow when you consider how out of control our taxes are already. Is there a better way to spend this money and get better returns? The Boys and Girls Club of Thunder Bay is an absolutely amazing facility that offers terrific services for all kids in the city. Have they been asked what they could do with an additional 2.5 million dollars? Do they have room to grow in their current Windsor Street location? Is it possible to build an addition to their facility to include a First Nations wing? Could there even be potential to bring the private sector on board to help fund the project to save even more tax dollars? From everything I heard Monday night, these possibilities have not been looked at.
I see a tremendous opportunity to not only help a great organization like the Boys and Girls Club but also meet the needs of the Indian Friendship Centre and potentially save tax payers a lot of money. Unfortunately these questions don’t seem to matter to this council. Too often our decision makers are voting on what they see as publicly pleasing and refuse to look at all the options. Maybe this proposal is whats best for the city, but without looking at ALL the options we can’t know that for certain.
This project won’t happen with out both the Federal and Provincial government funds so there is still time to look at other options, but one thing we can say with pretty good certainty is this council isn’t going to bother looking for other options.
Have a great week and I can’t wait till Saturday for more Canvasing!!
Candidate – MacIntyre Ward
NetNewsLedger has offered editorial space to all registered Civic Election 2014 candidates to share, with you our readers, their views on issues of the day. We view this as a key means of citizens in the City of Thunder Bay and communities across Northwestern Ontario to find out what the people seeking to be their voices and representatives in civic government are all about.
Each Candidate’s Ledger is published as received by NetNewsLedger from the candidates. NetNewsLedger.com publishes each column based on our Terms and Conditions.
If you are a registered candidate, and wish to participate; Contact NetNewsLedger.
Discuss the Thunder Bay 2014 Civic Election on Facebook.