Inaugural Meeting Sets Tone for Community Engagement
THUNDER BAY – NEWS – The newly formed committee tasked with examining the composition of Thunder Bay City Council held its first meeting, placing a strong emphasis on engaging with the public and studying models from other communities.
Diverse Committee Leadership and Members
The committee, comprised of six individuals, has elected two former city councillors to lead the team. Rebecca Johnson steps in as Chair, with Cody Fraser serving as Vice-Chair. The committee’s diverse lineup also includes Riley Burton, Wayne Bahlieda, Heather McLeod, and Carlos Santander-Maturana, bringing a mix of perspectives to the table.
Committee’s Initial Mandate and Timeline
Their primary objectives include developing a survey, facilitating public engagement initiatives, and preparing a comprehensive report for the City Council, with a deadline set for Spring 2024. This proactive approach is geared towards gathering insights and opinions that will shape the future composition of the City Council.
Chair Emphasizes Community Connection
Chair Rebecca Johnson highlighted the significant public interest in the committee’s work and the structure of the council. “We are eager to engage with the community to understand their views on how they connect with City Council and any potential changes they desire in the council’s size or structure,” Johnson stated, underscoring the committee’s commitment to public involvement.
Review of Ward System and Boundaries
A key focus for the committee will be evaluating the current ward system and considering adjustments to the ward boundaries. This examination aims to ensure effective and equitable representation across the city.
Current Council Structure Overview
Thunder Bay’s City Council consists of 12 councillors and a mayor. The councilors represent seven wards, with some serving as at-large councillors, responsible for the city as a whole rather than a specific ward.
Selection Process for Committee Members
Candidates for the committee were carefully chosen based on specific criteria, with recommendations made by the City Clerk and subsequent approval by the City Council. This selection process included appointees from the Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce and the Thunder Bay and District Labour Council, reflecting a broad range of community interests.
Anticipated Report Ahead of 2026 Elections
The committee is set to complete its final report on the council’s composition well in advance of the 2026 Municipal Election. This report is expected to provide critical insights and recommendations that could shape the future electoral landscape of Thunder Bay.