Clean Green and Beautiful – Thunder Bay

Clean Green and Beautiful
Clean, Green and Beautiful is the goal. At City Hall, recycling bins are in place.
Clean Green and Beautiful
Clean, Green and Beautiful is the goal. At City Hall, recycling bins are in place.

THUNDER BAY – Clean, Green and Beautiful. Today in Thunder Bay a group of dedicated residents, local business owners, and maybe some of the City Managers and Councillors will come by, as the process of making sure Clean, Green and Beautiful happens.

The “Global Litter Cleanup in Thunder Bay” gets going at 1PMEDT starting at the old Imperial Bank of Commerce. Everyone is welcome! 

Far too often as winter’s blanket of white rolls back, and Thunder Bay wakes up from a long winter’s nap, the mess left by residents who carelessly toss litter all over the place.

Thunder Bay needs embrace Clean Green and Beautiful 

There are dangers under the snow too. Needles tossed by addicts are often found in back lanes across the city. The evidence that not enough work, and not enough effort is being applied to the issues of addiction can be found as the snow melts. 

City Hall Sidewalk
The cleanest, greenest and most beautiful part of Thunder Bay is arguably City Hall.

The area around Thunder Bay City Hall is kept in pristine condition.

That is a positive.

However only a few steps away from those pristine steps: The ‘real’ Thunder Bay shows up. Needles, pigeon droppings, and mess greet the local residents and tourists.

Needle in snowbank
As the snow melts, the signs of addiction issues show up. This image is a block from City Hall.

Thunder Bay faces a huge and growing issue with addiction. At the risk of drawing fire, similar to Justin Trudeau, the root causes of addiction must be addressed. The root causes of poverty, homelessness, and hopelessness once addressed can allow all our residents and our visitors to enjoy the beauty of our city.

Solving the issue
When someone is down and out, a few moments with anything to feel better is a good idea to an addict. It is not a solution. Image taken April 27 2013 – A block and a half from City Hall.

Often perhaps, at the political level, funding addiction programs, and treatment beds attracts ire from many taxpayers. The attitude that somehow a person facing addictions only needs to ‘smarten up’ or ‘quit it’ prevails.

Results based efforts needed

More enlightened thought suggests that offering hope, and education in addition to treatment support is the answer.

Take the time to listen, and the solutions are known by some of those people who are closest to the problem. When Thunder Bay ships a person who has finally made the decision to seek help, out of the city. They return without the needed support network. People seeking to make a positive change in their lives need to not only change their perspective, but they will need hands up for the months following the release from treatment.


Early morning on the downtown streets of the Fort William Business District.

We live in a community that has a giant heart. So many of our fellow residents reach out to offer positive change and pitch in to make our Thunder Bay a better place.

Those efforts need the full and dedicated support from all levels of government, and a full all hands on deck approach. Over the past weeks, as the snow has melted, then fallen again, there is one constant. It increasingly appears that many of the small things are being overlooked.

Thunder Bay needs a New York Approach

At the Victoriaville Parkade, a block west of City Hall, pigeon droppings have been allowed to gather for years. This small thing is being missed. Maybe City Managers and Councillors need to focus boots on the ground toward solving little things, rather than looking to big expensive projects to make our city better?

Victoriaville Parkade
Missing the little things. A block from City Hall, the Clean Green and Beautiful campaign could be called a myth.

Take care of the small things!

In Thunder Bay often it seems the approach is that somehow everything will be solved by offering big projects.

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani came to office in 1993, his campaign focusing on quality of life, crime, business and education made him the 107th Mayor of the City of New York. In 1997 he was re-elected by a wide margin, carrying four out of New York City’s five boroughs.

“As Mayor, Rudy Giuliani has returned accountability to City government and improved the quality of life for all New Yorkers. Under his leadership, overall crime is down 57%, murder has been reduced 65%, and New York City – once infamous around the world for its dangerous streets – has been recognized by the F.B.I. as the safest large city in America for the past five years”.

New York has established itself as the City others look toward when they want to study the most innovative strategies for reducing crime, reforming welfare, encouraging economic growth, and improving the overall quality of life. (Source:

The problems faced by Thunder Bay echo some of the same problems that New York faced when they chose Mayor Giuliani to lead the “Big Apple”.

Today, New York under Mayor Bloomberg is continuing to grow, prosper and lead the world.

Thunder Bay is not New York. However the lessons of New York can certainly be applied in Thunder Bay.

Today, the Global Clean up in the downtown Fort William Business District is offering a great start.

James Murray

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