THUNDER BAY – POLITICS –The next four years will be critical for our new mayor and council. Thunder Bay is at a crossroads requiring a leadership team that works together to chart a path addressing our social and economic issues. As a candidate for the Westfort Ward, I bring a diverse background of experience and a strong skill set that identifies solutions and delivers results.
I’m sure we can all agree, addressing crime and social issues are needed. While Thunder Bay is not the only city impacted by drugs, gangs and crime, we can set ourselves apart and be a leader in tackling this problem. This is a complex issue that will not be wiped out in four years but I believe we can lay the groundwork to deal with this. The new council must work collectively with the Police Services Board and identify needed resources to address the criminal activity. We need to enhance programming for at-risk youth to make drug dealing and the gang lifestyle unappealing. Most importantly, advocating the provincial and federal governments to build programming that deals with addictions and mental health is vital to our community.
Taking a proactive approach to addressing our social issues is needed in order to attract investment and development to Thunder Bay. Developers need to have confidence that investing in our community is the right thing to do. With stagnant population growth, we need to set ourselves apart and create a plan to prosperity. The good news is, with an ageing population, we have many opportunities for our youth to find employment. Baby boomers are retiring from their professional careers making room for a new generation of workers.
Unfortunately, there is some doom and gloom on the horizon. We are in desperate need to increase our population. In an effort to retain the jobs currently available, we need to attract 2,000 people annually to Thunder Bay. When we factor in the census data that accounts for all people that are of working age, we come up short, really short. A strong leadership team will be needed to identify how we manage this. Again, Thunder Bay is not alone on this issue as it is a national problem. People are moving to larger cities because of the quality of life and amenities available. Fortunately for us, we do have a few things that most cities don’t – the ability to purchase a home and have income left over. Not to mention, the natural landscape of Thunder Bay is amazing. The lifestyle available here, especially for those who enjoy the outdoors, works in our favour.
Thunder Bay will have some major challenges to overcome in the next few years. It is imperative that our next council have the ability to navigate through the issues and find real solutions. I want to be part of this team. As a mother of two young sons, I want them along with your children and grandchildren, to have every opportunity to make a life in this city. Most importantly, I want you to feel that your thoughts and ideas matter. As a relationship builder, I pledge to be accessible and work with you for a better community. On October 22, vote Kristen Oliver for Westfort.