Five things that would make Thunder Bay a better place

Thunder Bay looking eastward over Lake Superior
Thunder Bay looking eastward over Lake Superior

THUNDER BAY – If there were a top five list of things that would improve Thunder Bay, what should they be?

Here is a short list of items that I suggest would help make our city a better place.

  1. Open up downtown Fort William. The downtown of the south side of Thunder Bay has been divided up by the Victoriaville Centre.

Taking down the walls and roof at Victoriaville and allowing traffic to flow again would make a major difference to the downtown. It is interesting in the aging structure that maintenance workers know where to put the pails to catch the leaks from the roof but the roof never gets fixed. Opening up Victoria Avenue would go a long way to opening up downtown Fort William.

A look down the walkway at Victoriaville, quiet isn't even close to describing it.
A look down the walkway at Victoriaville, quiet isn’t even close to describing it.

It would send the message that we are open for business and would encourage more businesses to open in the area.

  1. Thunder Bay should have a transportation commission.
Thunder Bay Transit
Thunder Bay Transit

A body that would oversee bus and taxi service in our city. Transit service has improved with the latest service route changes, but could still do much better. An analysis of the number of passengers served per hour would be a good way of determining the timing of bus routes.

Often in the evenings, especially on the major routes, buses are full. Yet during the day when service is far more frequent there are fewer riders.

It would also help if some of the major routes ran later in the evening, and on weekends earlier in the mornings.

For Taxi Service, Thunder Bay should be opening up the process for greater competition and looking seriously at the rates which are charged. The number of people talking about the high cost of taxi service in our city, when compared to other cities is a growing and large group of people.

It is very likely that Thunder Bay has not prepared a strategy for Uber cab service, and it is very likely that once that service arrives in the city, the marketplace will embrace it and City Council will be left in the position of making decisions that will only anger and frustrate residents.

  1. Thunder Bay needs to develop a strategy to reach out past our city limits. Often it seems news about our city that reaches the outside world is mostly the bad news.

Being the murder capital of Canada in 2014 is a message that is going to register for a long time across Canada. Our city needs a solid strategy to reach out to share the good things about our city. There are many.

Name a major city in Canada that has the outdoor recreation, cultural and social opportunities that Thunder Bay has? There really are not that many which can match us in natural beauty, outdoor recreation, and in our growing innovative social opportunities.

  1. Thunder Bay needs to accelerate the adoption of innovation and new ideas. A mid-sized city needs to be more innovative and work to be ahead of the curve more in order to compete with larger communities.
Lakehead University Research
Research and Innovation Week is in March at Lakehead University.

For Thunder Bay, perhaps the adoption of a 2100 Committee that looks to where the economy and were the world is going to go in the next twenty, thirty and forty plus years would be a good start.

Far too often it appears Thunder Bay looks to the “glories” of the past when paper mills and grain elevators were the dominate employers. Looking to the future we need to adapt and plan for the future.

  1. Finally, it is time that Thunder Bay took real action to become a more inclusive and accepting city. The racism that all of us see in our city paints us as a place that people from the modern and progressive world have already rejected.
Thunder Bay Liberal candidates standing on the Liberal platform
Thunder Bay Liberal MPS Patricia Hajdu and Don Rusnak ran on a platform including stepping up help for First Nations.

It is not as wide-spread, the racism in our city as some might like to think. All one has to do is look at the federal election results for evidence of that statement.

Justin Trudeau and the federal Liberals ran on a platform that included all of the efforts to make our Indigenous population in Canada better positioned to share in the bounty that is Canada. Thunder Bay voted overwhelmingly for the Liberal candidates.

Justin Trudeau ran on a platform of bringing refugees to Canada, 25,000 people who are fleeing the ravages of war in Syria. Thunder Bay again voted overwhelmingly for the Liberals.

Making our city a better place to live in many ways starts with each one of us each and every day stepping up our personal game to say hello to each other, to respect each other, and to try to learn something new each day.

I think we can do that, and more. Do you?

James Murray


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