Curfew Debate is Positive

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chess not checkersTHUNDER BAY – City Council has referred the issue of a curfew to administration for study. This is a good step forward for an issue that has generated a great deal of discussion and interest in Thunder Bay. It is also perhaps a starting point for the Crime Prevention Council.

The issue of community safety is one that impacts many aspects of life in Thunder Bay.

Mayor Hobbs heard from many people at their doors that the issue of a curfew should be explored. Westfort Councillor Virdiramo brought that issue forward to Council on Monday night. This allows that exploration of the idea to start.

One of the keys in this process should be engaging both experts, and the general public.

What is positive from Council is that this kind of issue has already come forward early in the term of the new Council. It takes an issue that should be discussed, and moves it forward. It also means that Council is willing to admit there are areas where our city faces challenges.

Many people have commented on the curfew issue. They have put their opinions and views forward. Some have added facts to their arguments, and others have commented on the opinions that have been expressed. What that suggests is a growing engagement on issues within Thunder Bay.

One of the keys to success for Thunder Bay will be greater community engagement on the issues which people in our city and region see as important to everyone in our community.

It is, if you consider it, a hopeful sign that our citizens care passionately about issues like this, and are freely expressing their views. Without that kind of passion the solutions are far more likely to be simply put in place from a top-down rather than bottom up grassroots means.

Perhaps if you consider it, things in Thunder Bay are starting to change in terms of how political leaders are engaging our residents. At the federal level, Town Hall meetings have become the new political normal, as both Bruce Hyer and John Rafferty have been hosting them on an ongoing basis.

Thunder Bay’s new Mayor Keith Hobbs is open to discussion and debate on Facebook, and through his “Walkabout Wednesdays”.

The next provincial election will pit some of the old ways up against the new technology and the changes in public engagement, it will make for an interesting campaign.

The move toward greater engagement is a positive step for our city.

That is my view.

James Murray