THUNDER BAY – During the past five weeks I’ve had the chance to knock on over two thousand doors in the city and talk to people about what concerns they’d like to see City Hall deal with.
Let’s start with crime. In some neighbourhoods it was not a big priority but in others in was at the top of the list. The last few days I have been in the Rupert, Winnipeg, and Hill Street area. People there are concerned about crime.
I met one man at his home on Winnipeg Avenue who still had a bruise on his head from a fight he’d had with someone trying to break into his car. He was able to hold the man until police arrived.
Others in the area also reported thefts from their cars and break-ins as well. All acknowledged that simply hiring more police officers was not the answer but wanted something done.
Many wanted to know what happened to community policing and why we couldn’t revisit the idea. Others wanted support from city council for Neighbourhood Watch programs. Programs had folded in the past because volunteers burned out. I think both ideas are good ones that City Council should consider.
I am encouraged by the creation of the Crime Prevention Council and its potential. We need a long term plan to deal with the roots of crime. (poverty, drugs, alcohol, family breakup, racism) The city has to work with neighbourhood groups already reaching out to young people at risk.
We need provincial help in getting more detox beds for the city and not clogging up the Emergency ward at the hospital.
I have seen a shift in opinions about the proposed wind farm in the past couple of weeks as well. I think many more residents are aware of the situation and feel like me that the city rushed into the deal (with all good intent) without thinking about the consequences.
What they are hoping for now is a compromise or solution before litigation starts. What makes people angry is that there may well be a lawsuit from either Horizon Wind if the city pulls out or a lawsuit from the opponents if the project goes ahead.
Guess who pays the bill for any lawsuit? Taxpayers.
The last thing we need is a city council sidelined by lawsuits. We’ve been down that dark road before.
Most people I’ve talked to are for the most part in favour of waterfront development. Who will buy the condos and the amount of public space left when the project is done were the two main objections.
It’s my understanding there will just as much public space if not more when the project is complete. I have talked to a number of people who are working on the project or have family members employed there and are happy with the work.
I am in favour of the Marina Park Development and am anxious to see it finished. I think it will only add to the quality of life we all enjoy in our city.
Holding the line on taxes came through loud and clear as well. I talked to a number of home owners living on a fixed income who are barely able to pay there residential taxes now. You can be sure I will take that message to city council if elected.
That’s the Word from the Street for now. Thanks for your time.
Gerald Graham running for Councillor at Large.