“Its in the last place you left it”…


Thunder Bay Police Service
Police Officers at City Hall - photo by Derek Silver
THUNDER BAY – Over the years, whenever I couldn’t find something, my mom always said, “Its in the last place you left it”. That advice, while accurate, also is somewhat frustrating. If I remembered where I left it, I wouldn’t be looking for it.

However often simple solutions and sayings have a lot more common sense behind them.

In Thunder Bay, our city has some problems to solve. Committees have been formed, some costing hundreds of thousands of dollars, to seek solutions.

However for our city, the solutions are “in the last place we left them”.

Have you ever over-studied something? Sometimes the simple solution is the one that has been tried and used forever. Yet often today it seems,
especially for governments, that simple and proven method is often over-looked. Too often it seems solutions are found by studying an issue, and often hiring a consultant to offer a report.

Take the issue, of how Thunder Bay often seems to seek solutions. It could be called the “MacKenzie King Solution”. Instead of moving into action a study is determined to be the best route forward.

On September 11, 1998, in a report in the Chronicle Journal, Phil Andrews reported on how a Thunder Bay Housing Project had, with the assistance of residents cleaned up the problems, and was set to celebrate the positive changes in their neighbourhood. Then Mayor Boshcoff and MPP Michael Gravelle were set to join the residents to celebrate the improvements that they had helped bring about.

Today, the same housing project is struggling with the same problems they have before solving them in 1998. The good works of 1998 have been left, sadly, and wrongly in the dust-bin of history. It is almost as if there is a lack of institutional memory in our city. If you look at the situation, all of the efforts that helped have, over the past twelve years, been dropped.

Have we as a city, and those elected to lead, forgotten where we left them?

In the Windsor project, there used to be a converted three story home that included a youth centre, a community kitchen, a clothing depot, a neighbourhood police office, and other services.

Now, in 2011, it is long gone, and seemingly forgotten. Today there are no celebrations marking the solutions. Today we are witnessing a neighbourhood where despite good efforts, things are not as they could be, and not even as they once where.

Maybe all that is needed is for some in our community, to have the common sense to “look in the last place they left them”?

James Murray

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