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2012-07-23 at 10:28

Whalen building, deer feeding on council’s agenda

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The price tag to retrofit Thunder Bay's historic Whalen Building is going up.

That's due, in part, to a lightning strike back in May that destroyed one of the ornamental lanterns on the roof.
The century-old building is undergoing repairs to its classic terra cotta exterior. The first phase cost about $1.2 million, and city council is being asked to approve $1.3 million during Monday’s council meeting for Phase 2 of the project.

That money includes an additional $170,000 to replace the damaged lantern. The lightning strike sent debris falling from the eighth storey down onto the street below.

Council is also being asked to approve the purchase of three new city buses at a total cost of $1.2 million.

And council will be debating a motion from Coun. Larry Hebert to amend the city's ban of feeding wild deer.

Hebert wants to make Mission and McKellar Islands exempt from the bylaw.

He said the deer in those areas could be used as a tourist attraction, as many people enjoy going there to feed the animals.

(Thunder Bay Television)

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We've improved our comment system.
passlake says:
fix the building.

why do we need the buses? Or rather, could we get away with smaller buses and use them offpeak times and routes (or at any time of day on the neebing route)

and no. the deer already rely on humans too much for food in that area. let's not make it worse. overpopulation isn't a concern for anyone?
7/23/2012 10:51:04 AM
tsb says:
Smaller buses don't cost significantly less to operate than larger ones. The motor is only a little bit more efficient in terms of gas; the bus itself only costs a little bit less; the driver costs the same.

Thunder Bay's current transit system basically has just four very complex routes (1, 2/7/12, 3, and 8/9/11; 4/6 is a low service route serving rural areas), and each one has a "choke point" where passenger loads exceed passenger capacity. We would have to nearly double the number of buses running between the terminals and between the Waterfront and LU to accommodate smaller buses, or simply not use smaller buses on those routes; but because those routes are basically the entire system, we'd be unable to actually use them, unless we abandoned interlining.

So you're arguing to buy a different model of bus from a different company (requiring training and parts stock for them) either to use on just one route, or to use for just 30% of the day. What a waste of money!
7/23/2012 7:11:07 PM
Juno999 says:
I totally agree with passlake. Do people actually take the bus anymore?

Also-STOP FEEDING THE DEER!!! Overpopulation IS a problem.
7/23/2012 11:40:31 AM
Glyder says:
wow, are you really that ignorant? Do people take the bus? wow, what a stupid comment. Why don't you come off your high horse, and look around, and you will see that MANY people take buses.
7/23/2012 2:15:57 PM
tsb says:
Thunder Bay Transit has 12,000 daily passenger boardings (on average) and ridership is increasing. Just because every bus isn't always full doesn't mean no one uses the system. May Street isn't always busy, does that mean it should be a two lane road?
7/23/2012 7:12:43 PM
Sui Generis says:
Those areas absolutely ARE tourist attractions, and the exemption makes sense. When my family came down to Thunder Bay, one of the first things I showed them is how you can feed the deer right from your hands. My Dad is an avid hunter, and yet even he was awed by how tame and friendly the deer were.

Fully agree with the exemption. There is no concern about the deer from Mission Marsh entering the city, so there 'shouldn't' be any reason to complain. Although, they will anyhow.
7/23/2012 12:38:20 PM
passlake says:
wait until overpopulation kicks in and deer start starving and dying. then you can show your out of town guests the piles of dead deer because people in this city decided to break a cardinal rule of the forest "Don't feed the wildlife".
7/23/2012 3:01:07 PM
SomeGuy says:
How is feeding deer a tourist attraction?

A tame and friendly deer is not a good thing they lead to accidents, and over population will hurt the herd. There a wild animal and not a pet.

As for the buses it probably makes more sense from a maintenance standpoint that your fleet is uniform as possible, it also give them flexibility when scheduling also that you are not limited to certain times because of the capacity.

And for the person who said do people even take buses nearly every morning they are packed with people heading to work some of them are standing room only.
7/23/2012 3:43:15 PM
wayne says:
Phase 2 of any City project always costs more than Phase 1.
7/23/2012 4:12:41 PM
ringettemom says:
Jeeeez. STILL wasting time and money on the already-settled deer issue.
This is getting embarrassing.
They're WILD animals!!! They aren't meant to be fed by humans, with human food for crying out loud!

This city already has so many issues plaguing it, real issues, yet this silly one keeps coming up. It's getting almost ignorant.
7/23/2012 6:15:12 PM
Meta says:
More buses! Sure thing

We spent millions on poorly thought and dangerous bike lanes that many cyclist refuse to tempt fate and their lives traveling on so the bus is the safest alternative!

7/23/2012 7:13:27 PM
tsb says:
BTW: The province pays for the buses, not the city. The city is simply awarding the contract using money the province gave them specifically to purchase buses.
7/23/2012 7:13:53 PM
wayne says:
why is it that some people do not understand that Mission Island is not a deer-petting zoo? does the resident Mission Island 'deer whisperer' (you all know who I am talking about) who feeds 80+ deer per day look after their well-being and health 24x7x365? Come on people, these are wild animals that look after themselves. And don't confuse Mission Island Marsh Conservation area with the whole Mission Island. An exemption would send a confusing message to citizens of Thunder Bay.
7/23/2012 8:43:36 PM
hoboBOB says:
Sui Generis, do you really think they don't pose a threat? How can you be so silly? You know the river freezes in the winter, right? How about that? Here come the over populated deer, over the frozen river looking for handouts! Smash ans crash... Deer on the city streets. Which, they are in the city... I've stopped in the middle of memorial because they run across.

Oh, and who the hell wants to feed a dirty deer?
7/23/2012 8:53:32 PM
millie brendza says:
hobo BOB.THE deer are a beautiful animal.They are not filthy.Maybe as your name states you need a cleanup.This city has alot more filthy issues they should be dealing with.Man destroys more than the deer ever will.
7/23/2012 10:18:35 PM
stuck? says:
Sure they are beautiful to look at...but they can also bring disease and destruction.

Deer ticks, eating people's gardens and plants, running into Memorial Avenue (and other streets) narrowly missing oncoming traffic.

Will I be able to lay blame on the people feeding the deer at Mission Marsh and/or everywhere else because I hit a deer in the city and it caused me bodily harm?

Or is it my fault because I'm a bad driver and I don't pay attention to the road?

There are a lot of "filthy" issues in the city, and yes this is one of them. Not hoboBOB's personal bathing habits.
7/25/2012 10:57:07 AM
wayne says:
tsb, and how is it that the city can just buy three more buses without getting approval from the province? does the province pay for their maintenance, operation? No, we as City taxpayers are on the hook for that, and most of us don't ride the bus.
7/23/2012 10:42:53 PM
tsb says:
"how is it that the city can just buy three more buses without getting approval from the province?"

No, the province explicitly gave the city that money and said "this is your bus-buying-budget". It's listed in the city's budget under "transit".

"does the province pay for their maintenance, operation?"

We do, and new buses cost less to operate on a yearly basis than old ones.

"No, we as City taxpayers are on the hook for that, and most of us don't ride the bus."

So? Most of us don't use the golf courses or the pools or 99% of the streets but we pay for all of those?
7/24/2012 4:08:58 PM
wayne says:
tsb, the de facto standard bus is so underutilized during off-peak hours. a smaller bus to handle the lesser ridership other times would be more efficient and cost-effective. i don't ride the bus, but i have driven by many that had just two or less riders.
7/23/2012 11:51:50 PM
tsb says:
"a smaller bus to handle the lesser ridership other times would be more efficient and cost-effective."

No. It wouldn't. Most of the cost of operating a bus is the driver's wage, and that wouldn't change. But we would have to spend millions procuring those new buses, and expand the fleet (and the garage on Fort William Road) to accommodate them in addition to the existing buses.

Where, exactly, are the savings?
7/24/2012 4:10:27 PM
eddylives says:
I will agree with the deer feeding petting zoo when the city takes responsibility of damage done , containing them and supplying proper health care for them.
Otherwise it is not acceptable to keep these animals.
Time to make room in the freezer hehe.
7/24/2012 5:21:41 PM
hopper says:
Go to a petting zoo if you wish to feed animals. These animals are WILD and feeding them is ignorant.

As it happens, I've lived close to this area for over 25 years and this is the first year I have ever seen a wolf over here (about 2 weeks ago).
7/24/2012 6:26:54 PM
wayne says:
tsb, fuel is the greatest expense, NOT transit operator wages. a shorter, lighter bus for off-peak hours would use less fuel, cost less to buy, and take up less room in the garage. i did some math, but won't do all of your homework for you:

let's assume ALL transit operators are working full-time and are at the top of their payscale which is $22.72/hr. factor in benefits, they cost $24.24/hr

assume all buses are the efficient Nova Bus LFS series, which has a fuel economy of 1Km/litre (not including idling time, all those stops etc.)

the City buys fuel in bulk, but the lowest cost for diesel in the City is $1.18 per litre. let's assume that the City buys it at $1/litre

i know, you will say they are buying biodiesel for the new buses because it is clean and green. but guess what, biodiesel increases fuel consumption by 3 to 5%.

now you can do the rest of the homework and determine for yourself if transit operator wages are the most expensive cost.
7/24/2012 10:54:06 PM
tsb says:
Personnel Services, which includes driver's salaries and benefits, is $9,671,600 of transit's budget. Materials, which includes gas, is $3,234,100. But it is growing faster, so I'll give you that.

You still don't tell us how you will find the capital costs to buy a bunch of small buses in addition to the larger ones that we already have and need. We have a budget of 1.2 million a year from the province to buy buses. We NEED to replace aging 40 foot buses. Where do we squeeze in the 30 foot buses? If we reduce the portion of that purchase to only two 40 foot buses, we'd only have enough to get one 30 foot bus per year. What is the point?
7/25/2012 8:06:24 PM
wayne says:
What is the demographic and household income of those who ride the bus? students, seniors, those living at or below poverty level? do people who earn a high wage/salary ride the bus or ride bicycles to and from work because they want to feel all warm and fuzzy about going greener even though it takes longer to get to and from work? will those people carry groceries and frozen foods on their bicycles (in all weather) or the bus while their business attire is crumpled in a back pack?

if the high-paid consulting firm says the new master transit plan will increase ridership by one million, that's a sad commentary on our future in terms of income levels given the fact that our population is stagnant or decreasing.
7/24/2012 11:50:34 PM
RicknB says:
Why the heck are we paying for the Whalen Building to be fixed, when it is owned privately?

Stop feeding the deer!
Wait till someone gets out of their car and gets injured. Then who is responsible if the city allows this to happen.

Dam stupidness everywhere!
7/25/2012 10:40:03 AM
ringettemom says:
Not everyone in the city drives, wayne.
7/25/2012 4:17:55 PM
stuck? says:
The world is turning into the movie Idiocracy more and more each day. It's true.

Soon we will be water our lawns with Gatorade because it has Electrolytes! It's what plants crave!
7/26/2012 9:48:07 AM
maggie says:
Was out at Mission Marsh a couple weeks ago. Such a beautiful sight. Mother and 2 little fawns. People taking pictures. Leave the deer alone. All these complainers. How would you like to live at a location for years and because you are having so many kids someone comes in and shoots you. This is their home and they feel safe there, that is why they are not afraid. If this man wants to continue what he has been doing for years leave him alone too. This is great for visitors to the city. Of coarse if it is great for the city there will always be complainers who want to stay back in the stone age. Thunder Bay needs to advance with the times if they want to be acknowleged, instead of being by passed at nearly everything that comes or wants to come here.
7/26/2012 12:47:27 PM
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