THUNDER BAY – Mayor Keith Hobbs says, “The release of 2011 Census population data today is further evidence that Thunder Bay is on the right track with its approach to development and that the City must continue its concerted economic development efforts with the Region to bring more Federal and Provincial attention to the region”.
Mayor Hobbs offered the following comments on the news that the population in Thunder Bay and Thunder Bay District fell in the latest census: “I’m encouraged – the data is more clear evidence that we are resilient people. We have made strides in rebounding from the decline in forestry and the weak economy of previous years such as 2006, 2007″.
“My comments that the population data demonstrate the resilience of the people of Thunder Bay are echoed by Thunder Bay economist Livio di Matteo: ‘Employment and GDP in Thunder Bay shrank by about 10 per cent during the forest sector crisis and its population has been remarkably resilient given the decline…Employment numbers over the last year have been showing increases in Thunder Bay and the Northwest and these population results are hopefully a lagging indicator’”.
“The incremental efforts we’ve made in health care, research, manufacturing, the knowledge sector, mining, and regional service centre are paying off and will continue to build our City in a way that’s sustainable and, we hope, have benefits for the District and Region as well. This is important because the CMA fell more than the City. -1.1 vs – 0.7% in Thunder Bay and the population of the Northwestern Ontario overall declined 4.7%. That is further evidence that we must continue to pull together as a region to get the attention we need from the Province and the Government of Canada to foster development in Northwestern Ontario through policy and funding”.
Hobbs adds, “Just after I took office, in my inaugural address, I said, ‘Our people are incredibly resilient – determined to make Thunder Bay a better place. Here we are a year later, and the data shows the City’s population is pretty well stable – down slightly in 2011 and was up slightly in 2006. That plateau has been hard fought through innovative economic development efforts on many fronts”.
“Another positive is the recent net migration improvement figures, especially in under 25 year olds. This is encouraging because it’s part of the overall growth we need – more jobs and more young families to offset natural changes in population. Although our population is remarkably stable, we must continue to fight for every new job and economic development overall,” continued the Mayor.
“As well, the City of Thunder Bay is on the right track with efforts to invest more in the City’s infrastructure by looking at how it does business to find savings through programs like CityLean and the City Manager’s Core Business Review. Renewed infrastructure is critical to continuing the growth we can all feel around us as we drive around Thunder Bay.”
Mayor Hobbs will be speaking to the Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce on Thursday morning to share the State of the City Address.