Thunder Bay – Invest in the Future Now!

Thunder Bay is changing. Some are embracing change, others are fighting it.
Thunder Bay is changing. Some are embracing change, others are fighting it.

Heading into the budget deliberations, courage is needed to build for the future in Thunder Bay
Heading into the budget deliberations, courage is needed to build for the future in Thunder Bay

Thunder Bay Has Choices to Make

THUNDER BAY – Thunder Bay has no shortage of amazing ideas and plans. The announcement about a new Event Centre/Convention Centre bringing in world-class management along with the Winnipeg Jets AHL team offers the final pieces in the Waterfront District’s crown. A vision of the downtown Fort William Business District offered by Ahsanul Habib puts a positive prospective on the downtown south.

Add in the planning for a main Youth Centre run by the Indian Friendship Centre and satellite youth centres in the downtown Fort William BIA and perhaps Current River, and it appears there is a plan coming together.

Thunder Bay has a Choice

Thunder Bay has many choices we can make in our city’s path forward.

One view would be to say simply that we can not afford to spend the money. That view is one held by a small but very vocal segment of our population.

The other view and one that will certainly cost money, is to build for the future.

Thunder Bay in facing those choices is doing so at a time when the City Council has been investing in infrastructure. Some might call the current City Council “The Infrastructure Council”. After many years of letting many of the city’s roads wear down, we are now forced to pay the tab left in the past with investments in better roads and pathways.

Building for the future is expensive. Not building for the future is even more expensive.

It would certainly be easier to not spend the money building for the future. That of course would send the message to potential businesses and to investors that skipping over Thunder Bay is the option. Our city can not afford to do that. We must become fully open to business.

Thunder Bay has amazing opportunities, all we have to do is become open to the opportunities before us.

There are areas that City Administration can save money, and those should be examined. There is certainly fat in the budget, and trimming that fat in an election year is going to take political courage. It is always easier to take the safer political road. However stepping up and leading would make a difference that courage always demonstrates.

Courage has Rewards

Courage in politics is needed to make tough decisions.

Right now in Thunder Bay millions of dollars in repairing infrastructure are needed to be invested to keep up our roads and sewers. Choices in the past, in some cases to put those decisions off into the future have put the situation into a more expensive cost today.

Putting off the future puts the problems onto tomorrow, and that cost is far too high for our city.

Some of the major problems of today, especially those with crime and addiction issues have come because action was not taken when it could have been taken. Some of those actions include sufficient treatment beds for addiction. Others include more active engagement in dealing with poverty in Northwestern Ontario.

Some might wonder how the Marina, the Event Centre, and some of the major project will help combat those issues. It is actually simple, having an open and engaged prosperous Thunder Bay, with our eyes focused on the future will bring in business, tax dollars from those businesses, along with the jobs and the opportunities that will make our city successful.

Focus on the Future

Some in Thunder Bay remain far too focused on the past and dreaming of a return to the boom years of forestry, and the years when a job at one of the grain elevators was a ticket to prosperity. Hard reality is those days are not coming back.

Investments in education, mining, tourism, and the knowledge-based economy will build our future.

Our future does not lie in our past. Focused efforts on our future will make sure that our community and region’s brightest days are ahead of us.

James Murray