From the left, clockwise: City councillors Rebecca Johnson, Andrew Foulds, Paul Pugh and Iain Angus.
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THUNDER BAY -- City councillors ranked the May floods as the most significant event of the year.
A number of major topics were brought up throughout the year at council from the closures of the Municipal Golf Course and the Conservatory, and the location of the proposed event centre. Although most councillors agreed, the disaster that impacted thousands in May was the most significant event.
Current River Coun. Andrew Foulds, who also said the original decision to close Municipal was one of his biggest regrets of the year, said he believed the May 28 disaster also showed the emergence of heroes and was the city’s biggest success story because of that.
“I suspect the largest story of the year was the flood on May 28,” he said. “One of the greatest successes out of that unprecedented event, that tragedy, was the emergence of heroes. I think that is our greatest success out of the year.”
Foulds remembered how he went to the Atlantic Avenue Sewage Treatment Plant and saw the aftermath of the floods.
He added that he saw how exhausted the staff was and had asked the manager if they were letting him go to get some rest. The manager replied that they wouldn’t leave.
Foulds said besides city staff and the workers, the other heroes that emerged from the flooding disaster were residents themselves. He praised the community’s generosity and wiliness to help each other during that time of need.
At-Large Coun. Iain Angus agreed with Foulds calling the city’s reaction and willingness to help one another “overwhelming”.
“All of the volunteers that came out to help people in need was spectacular and shows that we are indeed a community with a 'giant heart’,” he said.
Angus believed the city’s Mining Readiness Strategy would be the key goal for 2013 as it is expected to be completed by January or February.
McKellar Coun. Paul Pugh also ranked the floods and praised the community’s response.
“Obviously, we don't want any similar event to pull everyone together soon, but the response was impressive,” Pugh said.
“Another, less dramatic but very important event was the second Thunder Bay - Fort William First Nation joint council meeting as well as the continuing building of ties. It is people that count most, whether in pulling together in the face of an emergency, or strengthening relations with our neighbours.”
At-Large Coun. Rebecca Johnson had a different view than her fellow councillors.
She believes the city’s biggest success story was the various projects that went ahead.
Those projects included Prince Arthur’s Landing, the new consolidated courthouse, the new law school, the new Superior North EMS station on Junot Avenue and the opening of the first Youth Centre.
In stark contrast to Foulds, Rebecca said her only regret this year was council’s decision to keep Municipal open for another year.
“I was most disappointed to have the Municipal golf course decision reversed,” she said in an email response to tbnewswatch.com.
“Also the decision on the conservatory is a backward decision in that the costs to have the present venue upgraded are going to be excessive. The feedback from the constituents who have communicated with me identify a similar message, ‘This Council does flip-flops - what will be next?’.”
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