Let Us All Make a Difference in 2011

I Heart TBay
Katie Ball Shares her Love of Thunder Bay - Photo by Foster Gauley

THUNDER BAY – As we bid farewell to the year 2010, from across the region people are looking forward to positive news. The signs are gathering together to make the coming decade one where Thunder Bay and the region emerge into a new era of economic prosperity.

Part of the promise is the “Ring of Fire”. The mining world has been focusing on the western region of Ontario with great interest. The “Ring of Fire” is located in the James Bay Lowlands. The region is centred on McFaulds Lake in the Kenora District, approximately 500 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay, about 70 km east of Webequie and due west of the Victor Diamond Mine which is near the Attawapiskat River west of James Bay.

Over the coming decade as discoveries in this region move toward a working mine, it is hoped by many that the next economic boom in the region will be in mining.

Looking forward however, what I see as the greatest development in the entire Thunder Bay Region is the “re-discovery” of the entire area by former residents.

The Thunder Bay Region is emerging into a great place for professionals who grew up here, and have returned home. The benefits to our region from these new professionals coming “home” are likely longer lasting than the “Ring of Fire”.

That is not to put down the mining exploration or its impact on the economy, but as Dofasco Steel used to say, “Our product is steel, our strength is people”.

For the Thunder Bay region, our strength is the people who choose to make their lives here. The emergence of our city into the place that we all want to live in and call home will come together as we work toward a better region.

Some of the real pluses in our region will come with the growth in the relationships with all our residents. Our First Nations residents represent a growing segment of our population in the City of Thunder Bay. In terms of economic power, the Aboriginal residents in our region present enormous opportunity for businesses willing to reach out.

Some of the keys for building our future include making sure that Aboriginal youth make a smooth transition to living in Thunder Bay. This is starting to happen now as Lakehead University’s President Stevenson has made this a priority.

In his first speech to Lakehead University, “We Can Change This World” Stevenson asked, “How can the University engage Aboriginal communities in supporting their economic development, in securing their cultural and linguistic heritage, and in improving the quality of life of their people?”

The Lakehead University President is moving forward to make sure that one of the focuses of the university is to make that difference.

There are many people in our community working hard to make a real difference. Over the past four years, NetNewsledger.com has endeavored to bring you their stories.

Moving forward into the new decade, we will endeavor to bring you even more positive reports of how the Thunder Bay Region is emerging into an ever more special place.

Happy New Year! May 2011 be the year that we all, together, strive to make a real difference in our Thunder Bay!

James Murray

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