THUNDER BAY – Mayor Keith Hobbs has kept his sights on the Thunder Bay Event Centre. At meetings with provincial leaders, a delegation including Mayor Keith Hobbs, Intergovernmental Affairs Committee Chair Councillor Joe Virdiramo and City Manager Norm Gale brought Thunder Bay’s key issues to the Association of Municipalities of Ontario Annual Conference (AMO) in Windsor last week.
Thunder Bay brought 13 priorities to the ears of Ministers during one-on-one meetings to lobby for action and/or funding for Thunder Bay.
“We walked away feeling this AMO conference was productive,” said Councillor Joe Virdiramo, Chair – Intergovernmental Affairs Committee. “We found that all of the Ministries were well-versed and engaged in Thunder Bay’s agenda, which tells us our persistent lobbying efforts, well-prepared briefs and the solid support and work of our Members of Legislature are making an impact.”
The Delegation secured meetings with nine Ministers along with presentations to New Democratic Leader MPP Andrea Horwath, Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown, and MPP Ernie Hardeman, Chair of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts.
Thunder Bay presented to Ministries on the following priorities, and on each request with local MPPs Ministers Michael Gravelle and Bill Mauro:
- Taxation & Revenue Sources – Heads and Beds, Unpaid Fines & Railway Taxation – Ministry of Finance, – Mr. Yvan Baker, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Finance
- Thunder Bay District Jail Facility – Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services, Hon. David Orazietti,
- Homelessness Prevention – Minister of Housing, Hon. Chris Ballard
- Proposed Thunder Bay Event & Convention Centre – Minister of Tourism Culture & Sport, Hon. Eleanor McMahon
- Shelter House’s Ongoing Managed Alcohol Program – Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care Parliamentary Assistant John Fraser,
- Climate Change Funding – Minister of Natural Resources & Forestry, Hon. Kathryn McGarry
- Energy Needs Presentation with NOMA and LUMCO, Minister of Energy, Hon. Glenn Thibeault
- The Mining Readiness Strategy Infrastructure & Energy – Minister of Infrastructure Hon. Bob Chiarelli, Michael Gravelle, Minister of Northern Development & Mines, RegenMed Sustainability vs. Southern Ontario Option – Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, Parliamentary Assistant John Fraser
- Non-Urgent Medical Transportation Reform – Minister of Transportation, Hon. Steven Del Duca
& Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, Parliamentary Assistant John Fraser
- Community Crisis Response Service – Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, Parliamentary Assistant John Fraser
- Facility Upgrades for World Junior Baseball Championships – Minister of Tourism Culture & Sport, Hon. Eleanor McMahon
- Emerald Ash Borer Eradication – Minister of Northern Development & Mines, Hon. Michael Gravelle
- Infrastructure – Minister of Transportation, Hon. Steven Del Duca
“Thunder Bay received positive feedback on the requests we brought forth,” said Mayor Keith Hobbs. “Our community’s issues are becoming well known at the Provincial level and we are hopeful for some announcements in the near future. Specifically around support for facility upgrades for the World Junior Baseball Championships, joint Federal and Provincial action on Homelessness, and Provincial support for the Thunder Bay Event & Convention Centre.”
The conference included sessions on: The Future Takes Centre Stage: Strong Sustainable Local Communities, Taking the Pulse of Ontarians, Safeguarding Your Municipality’s Future: The Quest for Financial Sustainability, Building Healthier Communities, Climate Change for Municipalities, Green Infrastructure, Municipal Lighting and SMART Cities, Designing the Built Environment: Improving Quality of Life, Water Solutions for the Future, and many more. The Thunder Bay delegation took part in workshops related to all.
The AMO Conference has become one of the largest municipal conferences in Canada, attracting over 1,900 municipal leaders from across Canada. The conference provides the opportunity for Municipalities to meet directly with Ontario Ministries on community specific issues.
“We took every opportunity to make Thunder Bay’s issues and priorities front and centre with key Ministries while at AMO,” said Councillor Virdiramo. “Our meetings were productive and positive which we feel will be important to building the partnerships needed to advance the City.”