Mayor Keith Hobbs spoke to the Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce Wednesday morning.
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THUNDER BAY -- Mayor Keith Hobbs says the city is in transition and the local Chamber of Commerce agrees.
Hobbs read his annual state of the city address, a speech first given to city council last December, to a sold-out Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce crowd at the Prince Arthur Waterfront Hotel and Suites Wednesday morning.
New housing starts, new development in the private and public sectors and new retailers moving in are all signs that the city is improving.
“We have a lot of areas to work on though social issues, crime issues so it’s not all rosy but from an economic standpoint, a lot of businesses are seeing growth in the city,” Hobbs said.
With more than a dozen proposed mines popping up in the region, the city already sees about $700 million from the sector. It’s a far cry from the $5 billion Sudbury gets, but Hobbs wants to see Thunder Bay at that number one day.
There are 130 value-added companies and 40 mining exploration companies in Thunder Bay.
“We’re already seeing it,” he said.
Chamber president Harold Wilson said the speech shows the city is getting ready. Evidence of development is everywhere.
“I get excited every time I see the cranes,” he said.
A lot of development mentioned by Hobbs comes from the public sector. But Wilson said government is the first in on investment. Eventually the private sector follows, which is starting to happen as the city transforms.
“This is an opportunity for the private sector to really get there as long as the capital is there,” he said.
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