Thunder Bay – Our city is not dying…it is changing

Letters to the Editor

Letters to the EditorTHUNDER BAY – OPINION – One of the arguments I heard from someone opposed to the new event centre, was that our airport was not big enough to handle more people coming here for events, (along those lines) which made me roll my eyes.

Airports, as well as other public infrastructure, will expand their operations to accommodate growth. Growth brings with it a snowball effect, and contribute to other sector growth, ie: construction, housing, etc, which all translate into new jobs.
Thunder Bay will become the bedroom community for all the future miners, who will use our airport to get to and from work. They will work on a rotational basis, and they and their families will call Thunder Bay home.

Thunder Bay is fast becoming a regional Service and Supply centre for all the mining activity taking place throughout Northwestern Ontario. Our city is in the direct centre of all of this activity. When the Ring Of Fire takes off, and make no mistake…it will take off, Thunder Bay will see even more activity.

Our local construction industry has for the past several years, seen a major increase in projects, We have seen companies from other cities across Canada, move into town because of all the activity. Our construction industry has been experiencing a worker shortage. There are not enough workers to build these new hotels and condos as it is. We have to start marketing Thunder Bay to attract and “steal” other talent from other communities. It is a very competitive market. Thunder Bay has to attract immigrants from other countries to help “build” our city. This is another competitive market. In order for our city to compete, we have to build some things to attract workers and immigrants here.

Our waterfront development was designed to do just that. The city’s investment in the knowledge sector, the health and research related activity was designed to do just that. The proposed event centre is designed to do just that. It is what will lure young professionals to our city. It is what will help retain our youth, and bring other youth home. I’m sure most of us take note of all the activity taking place across our city. All one has to do is drive around town and it’s not hard to notice all the construction.

And there is more coming. This summer should be very busy and exciting. We will have the Hampton Inn and the Delta Inn begin construction. A new strip mall on Memorial Ave in the Intercity area. A new Tim Horton’s on May St. The new Carpenter’s Union Hall and Training Centre will start construction this summer in Innova. There is wide speculation that Costco is preparing a site in Innova as well. There are 3 twelve plexes to go up this summer on Algoma and a new mental health wing will begin construction at St. Joes on Algoma as well.

Still on the radar for our city; 2 fifteen story tall residential towers for the corner of Balmoral and Beverly. Designs of the towers should be released sometime this year. The city is working on a location for the Centralized Transit Passenger Terminal in the Intercity area, and Wacky Wings is coming,

Our city is not dying…it is changing, it is transforming. We need to recognize this. Outsiders to our city see the potential. My brother Jason and I have friends who have left to find work. Each time one of them comes back to Thunder Bay, they go through a pleasant shock because they notice what most of us don’t. The city is changing. Never before, have we seen this much change. A few of those friends are now making plans to come home, and with them come their new families. This also has a ripple effect in growing our city.

Negativity breeds negativity, it spreads rapidly and does not make our city look good. We have to be positive and be proactive. We have a bright future ahead of us. It’s time to embrace change and work together to build our city and prepare for positive growth. It’s time to start joining in, and share your ideas to help our city transition into the place we will be proud to call home and market to the world.

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