Civic Election 2022: The Economy: Candidate for Mayor Clinton Harris

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Clint Harris
Clint Harris

THUNDER BAY – THUNDER BAY VOTES – In our continuing civic election coverage NetNewsLedger sent questions to all the candidates running for Mayor.

Here is what was sent:

The economy impacts all aspects of our city’s potential.

Thunder Bay has fewer manufacturing jobs. The largest employer is the TBRHSC with 2,824 employees. That is followed by the Lakehead Board of Education, Lakehead University and the City of Thunder Bay.

Resolute is at 419 at the paper mill, and 223 at the saw mill.

Thunder Bay in perhaps one of the more telling statements from outgoing Mayor Bill Mauro, has been found by the national media.

Between scandals with the former Chief of Police and former Mayor in court, to the ongoing situation with the Thunder Bay Police Service and the Police Services Board, national coverage of Thunder Bay is often not the brightest picture that our city wants.

Questions:

  1. What as Mayor of Thunder Bay would you do to boost solid good paying jobs in our city?
  2. As Mayor how would you market our city to companies to attract them to Thunder Bay? What experience do you bring to the table in this area.
  3. Do you feel that “Legacy” projects like an Event Centre and an Indoor Turf Facility are major factors needed to bring in new companies to Thunder Bay? IF so why?
  4. Our city’s reputation due to national media coverage has struggled as what many see as the truth of the state of our city has been shared across the world. Being the “murder capital” and “overdose capital”
  5. Thunder Bay’s motto, “Superior by Nature”. In a world where diversity matters, some suggest this motto could be – based on some of the racist actions of Thunder Bay in the media – as saying “We are better than you”… Should it be changed?
  6. How would you as the Mayor make our economy stronger?

Here are Clinton Harris’s Answers

1. To boost employment you must first engage the youth and offer solutions with increasing pay and benefits.  Thunder Bay saw a decrease of 1 percent where cities like Sudbury has seen an increase of over 3 percent.  We need to bring new business to the city and attract them with the ease of starting a business.  Leverage municipal resources to support and grow local business. Inspire young entrepreneurs and support them with resources from Community Economic Development and reduce policies and regulations that impede business growth.
2. For business to grow we must remove barriers and make it easy with 4 stage Zoning laws, not 20 and show the benefits of living in a remote area.  My sales visits over twenty years visiting hundreds of national clients in Toronto and Montreal when I talked about ten minutes drive to work, owning affordable housing and cottages and having the best of the outdoors minutes away they were envious.  The cost advantages of moving a business here or starting a business here is an easy sell for those that pay enormous lease space in the metropolitan areas.  We need to sell on our ease of process, cost savings and building affordability and show the potential for revenue growth  on the cost savings alone and then add the quality of life and then the ability to spend more time with family due to proximity.
3. Legacy projects are never the reason businesses to come to a city.  Businesses look for potential in revenue growth and how they may fit in with a market and the affordability of doing business. These so called legacy projects certainly add attraction but with archaic zoning laws and challenges doing business here with numerous restrictions the potential for growth declines.
4. Superior by Nature is a broad term and we are certainly in what some may say in the most beautiful part of the country.  What needs to be changed is how we combat what causes the increase in homicides and drug addiction. We need services for those with mental health and addiction and resources to  help the agencies that protect our vulnerable.  When we are no longer the target of gangs and drug dealers because we have helped those that are struggling we can and will be Superior By Nature
 5. As mayor my main concentration would be archaic zoning laws that have impeded new business opportunities coming to Thunder Bay for years.  Innova Park has had many interested including Costco, Car dealerships and recently a few that could not maneuver process without frustration getting the best of them. We need to open up with simplicity of doing business as other cities have embarked on and have seen success.
Secondly we need to be attractive as a city that takes care of its vulnerable and change the current reputation of being open to gangs and drugs to being closed to those that wish terrorize our city with guns and lethal drugs.