Jeff Labine, tbnewswatch.com
Westfort Coun. Joe Virdiramo will be attending the Association of Municipalities Ontario conference.
Ring of Fire development, the event centre and RegenMed are all on the agenda for city officials heading to the Association of Municipalities Ontario conference.
City councillors Joe Virdiramo, Ken Boshcoff, Brian McKinnon, Mayor Keith Hobbs and City Manager Tim Commisso have all booked their tickets for Ottawa to attend the conference.
The four-day conference, which starts on Sunday, allows municipally officials a chance to have some face-to-face time with a number of provincial ministers.
McKinnon said they have already booked time to meet eight ministers. He added that they wanted to speak to Minister of Health and Long-Term Care Deb Matthews about RegenMed and Minister of Economic Development and Innovation Brad Duguid about the Ring of Fire development.
“We’re going with an agenda for each minister,” McKinnon said. “We’re really going to push the preparation for the Ring of Fire mining development. We’re creating our own plan here, which is what they told us to do. It’s called the Mining Readiness Strategy. We’re looking for some help from the province as we develop this mining readiness.”
The strategy developed by the city focused on specific areas such as creating a workforce, ensuring the mine has enough power and making sure Thunder Bay can handle the potential thousands of new residents, he said.
With that strategy in hand, McKinnon said he hopes the minister will come onboard and give more direction on how to prepare for the Ring of Fire development.
In regards to RegenMed, McKinnon said they want Matthews to support the company and give direction on how to manage it. Canadian Blood Services has wanted two or three tissue banks across the country and the city wants RegenMed to be one of those suppliers, he said.
But those items aren’t the only issues being brought up.
Virdiramo said they will also be talking about the proposed event centre and the city’s infrastructure.
He added they also want to know why the province hasn’t full filled its promise to place an Aboriginal Affairs office in Thunder Bay.
“We do have needs,” Virdiramo said.
“I know the economy isn’t in the best shape and there might not be much there. However, we want to keep them up-to-date to our needs. In the past, we have been very successful in getting what we have asked for. Not totally but we have made some inroads. It’s good to put a name to a face.”