Signature Ad

Signature - McCullough

Marlin Travel

Skyscraper Ad

Big Box - East Bay Suites

Click here to see more
Community Calendar
Click here for full listings.
Do you make an effort to buy locally produced food?

Total Votes: 241
View Results Past Polls
User Submitted Photo Gallery
Submit Your Own Photos
2013-12-16 at 21:53

A transformation

By Jamie Smith,
Be Bob's Friend: Join our FacebookEverything is COZIER, WARMER, SEXIER, with a fireplace. Stylish Luxury meets functional heating at Bob's Intelligent Heating DecorClick Here

The city's social and physical infrastructure is shaping up the mayor says.

Keith Hobbs dubbed this term of council the "infrastructure council" during his final State of the City address for this term Monday night. He pointed out that tax-supported spending on infrastructure has doubled in the past four years and should close the gap by 2017.

"After that we will be addressing the backlog. The good news is we won't be falling further behind," he said.

Along with major roadwork, like the four-laning of Golf Links Road, construction valued at $210 million in 2013 shows that the city continues to build Hobbs said. 

On the social side Hobbs highlighted everything from the waterfront to the drug strategy as successes. The strategy played a key role in launching a pilot program at the Balmoral Centre that added 24-hour nursing to the centre.

"It's no secret that substance use is a major issues for Thunder Bay. The enhancement of services at Balmoral Centre does not wholly address that issue, but it is a big step forward," he said.

The Shelter House's alcohol management program was also highlighted as a way to get pressure off of emergency services. Hobbs said recently he was told by Thunder Bay Police Service chief J.P. Levesque that there was a 24-hour period where no one was in a jail cell at the police station. Hobbs, a former officer himself, said in his opinion that's a record.

Those initiatives, along with expanding the 52 kilometres of waterfront to building a new youth centre to a new art gallery, are improving social infrastructure in the city he said.

"Cities need people to thrive and people need more than roads to build a life," Hobbs said. "They need opportunities, hope."

The 33 minute speech also focused on a critical affordable housing shortage. The cold weather makes it even more important to find a permanent solution. Hobbs said lobbing senior levels of government and forming partnerships with community groups needs to continue.

"We cannot, and will not, let this matter fall by the wayside," he said.

Hobbs also took the time to address the racist comments and jokes made by some in the city after a fire on the James Street swing bridge last month. While those people are in the minority, he said the issue showed there's still work to be done.

"Despite their attitudes," he said of those who made jokes. "Our city's relationship with Fort William First Nation remains strong. We must continue to foster that relationship through building partnerships and focusing on respect. Doing so will make both of our communities stronger."

On mining Hobbs said development in the region is more than just one company after Cliffs Natural Resources' decision to suspend operations in the Ring of Fire. He still sees the city becoming a regional mining centre.

Click here to submit a letter to the editor.

Click here to report a typo or error



We've improved our comment system.
Was this meant to be serious or just a long draw out joke that wasn't funny?
12/16/2013 9:58:17 PM
progress now says:
And the election has begun...
12/16/2013 10:58:05 PM
young&concerned says:
Hey Tbnewswatch posting police!
I wasn't to far off on my version of the speech I submitted for posting and of course wasn't

This guy is so predictable.
12/16/2013 11:02:31 PM
young&concerned says:
12/16/2013 11:04:30 PM
Cletus Van Damme says:
How do you "focus on respect"? Is this not something to be earned?
12/17/2013 6:02:30 AM
fastball says:
Yes, there's a saying that respect should be earned.
On the other hand, should not everybody be automatically treated with at least SOME measure of respect...until it's been demonstrated that it's time NOT to respect them?
12/17/2013 4:23:37 PM
Chaos says:
No mention of the lawsuits the city is facing. Also he Didn't sound like someone who is fiscally conservative. However we did learn the mayor got engaged, congratulations!
12/17/2013 8:01:57 AM
North123 says:
This city has substance abuse problems. Affordable housing, poverty and unemployment are very real problems in T. Bay. Talking about it accomplishes very little. Shall we hire some more consultants to study the issues? How about forming a few committees to "confront" the issues? The committees can declare a "war" on the issues and announce "no tolerance policies" against the issues. Very politically correct useless posturing.
Some people are trying to resolve some of the problems. Look at the Underground Gym. That man saw a problem rolled up his sleeves and got busy. Why can't the city do the same and step up to the plate?
Stop wasting tax money paying consultants for opinions that will back up pet projects, endless litigation due to poor planning and poorly thought out mega projects we can't afford(a huge multi-purpose complex with no parking - but honest - the consultants say it's a great idea). Think. And make this city a place worth living in.
12/17/2013 8:17:11 AM
Bigtime says:
Soo, with all that "fact based" information and long drawn out rant. What is your suggestion? If you have better ideas to fix issues, resolve this cities substance abuse issues etc. Then please step forward and run for council, or, "roll up your sleeves and get busy". You clearly have the "know how" based on your critique. If you don't have an answer or suggestions, then cut the crap and stop criticizing. Your comments on tbnewswatch really have no weight in real life.
12/17/2013 3:35:58 PM
yo_tbay says:
When I first saw the picture in this article, I thought that (Jolly Wally) Walter Assef had returned. lol
12/17/2013 8:24:03 AM
Kam River says:
Keith Hobbs dubbed this term of council the "infrastructure council"
Some people call it the "Tax and More Tax Council"
I do not know anyone who can afford the project Hobbs listed
52 kilometres of waterfront to building a new youth centre to a new art gallery, multi Plex, are improving social infrastructure in the city he said.
People are loosing their jobs or are way under employed. Youth unemployment is the highest in 20 years.
He is rushing to close the Gardens, and turn it into another money pit.
Please stop. I can barely feed my family. Thank god for food banks, and we both only can get part time work.
12/17/2013 8:50:16 AM
joey joe joe jr. shabadoo says:
It's like they keep saying to themselves:

just keep spending,

let the next council deal with it...
12/17/2013 8:50:30 AM
This event should have been held at the Finlandia because it was one big comedy show.
12/17/2013 9:10:40 AM
trevor99 says:
It is easy to spend someone else's money. Most of these infrastructure funds came from the government but that didn't stop the city from continuing to spend beyond its means. It didn't stop the city from closing senior beds. He closed a golf course to save money while spending continues to fly higher . Nothing has been done on crime his big item.

I will say this about the guy. He is everywhere and seems like a decent fellow. If that is what we want in a Mayor, then he is the guy. If it is style above substance then he is better than most. But if substance is important then we need to look elsewhere. He has provided too many mis-statements in my view. Our City is changing in substantial ways but it is not because he has been Mayor for three years. He was fortunate to take office while most of this transformation was already under way. In politics timing is everything. Hearing a Mayor say he failed because he is only one vote is not a confidence builder for me.
12/17/2013 9:39:59 AM
barry medawin says:
"Our city's relationship with Fort William First Nation remains strong. We must continue to foster that relationship through building partnerships and focusing on respect. Doing so will make both of our communities stronger."

Yes this is the right direction to move and i suport him!!
12/17/2013 9:56:46 AM
mystified says:
And if council did nothing you all would still complain. When the next council is elected you all will still be complaining.
This council has done more than some of the money savers of the past who let infrastructure crumble and cost mega bucks to rebuild.
12/17/2013 10:12:14 AM
Does the Mayor and Councillors pay the same taxes as the public do for what we get, or do they get preferential treatment because they have got to understand what they pass in the city is junk
12/17/2013 10:31:53 AM
DougMyers says:
Yes he does.

His street is paved with gold and plowed everyday, even in the summer.
His garbage is picked up daily and not from the road but from his kitchen.
He also has a second tap next to his water tap that has an endless supply of vodka.
His residence is also tax free, in fact the city pays him to live there.

Feel better?
12/17/2013 3:03:00 PM
arjay says:
the POLICE chief says the jail, was empty for one night? that was at the police Station! meanwhile,the Gulag(district Jail), is jammed full and a disgrace to this area!!!!!
12/17/2013 2:48:38 PM
Dbenedic says:
You know, the city just can't win. If the city does not spend on infrastructure, then people complain about burst water pipes in the winter, pot holes in the spring, traffic lights in the summer and sports arenas in the fall. But once infrastructure money is spent, then people say "there goes my tax dollars!"

Hey people, if you want ambulance, police, fire and infrastructure, then guess what, the tax payer must pay - no surprises there.
12/17/2013 8:35:15 PM
The Badger Mountain Hermit says:
1st. Class Dollars paying for 3rd. Class Service.
Thunder Bay Motto>>> "Don't like it here? Move someplace else."
12/18/2013 9:11:13 AM
Comments for this story are semi-moderated. Read our comment guideline.

Add a new comment.
You must log in to add comments.
Create a new account
Forgot password?
Log In
© 2014 Dougall Media.