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2014-08-22 at 15:28

'They get it:' city officials on response from province at Association of Municipalities Ontario conference

By Jamie Smith,
FASD FactsDrinking Alcohol at any time during pregnancy could affect the normal development of the

THUNDER BAY -- The province understands the city's problems.

That's the message a city delegation is bringing back from the recent Association of Municipalities Ontario conference in London.

While the usual discussions of the event centre, which had ministerial support, and infrastructure, which the city could see up to $3 million a year for, Thunder Bay's main priority this time around were its social issues.

From substance abuse to the lack of a cardiovascular unit at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences centre, mayor Keith Hobbs said Health and Long-Term Care Minister Eric Hoskins showed a lot of support for the city in meetings and made a commitment to come see the city's issues for himself. 

"We told him we're in a crisis situation and we need help," Hobbs said.

Poverty, substance use and homelessness were brought up numerous times to ministries during the four-day conference.

"We think these are health care issues and that's the province's domain," Hobbs said.

Coun. Joe Virdiramo said Shelter House programming was discussed as well. The local shelter has asked for $500,000 from the city to continue its SOS program year-round, something council will likely support.

"By saying no it could mean someone freezing on the street," he said.

But the city wants to start seeing the province take over funding after Thunder Bay helps get those programs off the ground.

"There comes a time when municipalities are taxed and we are taxed right now," Hobbs said. "We don't mind kickstarting these programs but we don't believe we should be the core funders."

At the root of the problem is the lack of affordable housing. Even the city's poverty reduction strategy with its housing-first philosophy hasn't seen any traction. Hobbs said that might be changing soon thanks to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing.

"They gave us a commitment that we're going to have some good news soon as municipalities on this issue," Hobbs said.

Aboriginal populations coming from Northern communities to the city was also discussed, which can put a strain on every service from police to hospital staff Hobbs said.

The mayor also met with Toronto mayor Rob Ford earlier in the week to discuss the strike at Bombardier and the work being done there. Hobbs said Ford, who has been a big proponent of subways, didn't know that Toronto's street cars were built in Thunder Bay.

But he hoped the strike would be resolved soon as it impacts Toronto as well.

"I gave him a bit of an education on that," Hobbs said.

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Borg79 says:
"There comes a time when municipalities are taxed and we are taxed right now," Hobbs said.

So if we're so taxed right now and can't afford to support $500k/yr to help the homeless, how exactly are we able to spend $30+ million on this event centre? Hobbs, this makes no sense.
8/22/2014 3:55:29 PM
eventscentre says:
If we give all the money to the homeless, this will cut down on the quality of life for everyone else. People will leave Thunder Bay, and this would turn our city into a ghost town. You have to understand that there has to be a balance. What if New York City (yes, I know we are not really comparative) gave all of it's money to their homeless? Do they shut down Madison Square Gardens and let the Statue of Liberty become dilapidated? Cities are corporations....they make decisions based on the going concern of a will always be that way. There is no way that every city, including our own, will give every cent just to make sure everyone is breathing and happy. I hate the fact that there are less fortunate in this city that I, but not all of my taxes are going to go towards the homeless. Even if they did...there would always be homeless people-and violence. It's called life.
8/22/2014 7:05:37 PM
borg79 says:
No we shouldn't give all the money to the homeless. I simply stated that the mayor believes half a million dollars 'taxes' the city budget however spending 60+ times this amount is not an issue whatsoever. A bit hypocritical.
8/23/2014 10:07:15 AM
Rob20 says:
Yes, the province gets it, they just don't care
8/22/2014 4:14:28 PM
CM Punk says:
The mayor also met with Toronto mayor Rob Ford earlier in the week to discuss the strike at Bombardier and the work being done there. Hobbs said Ford, who has been a big proponent of subways, didn't know that Toronto's street cars were built in Thunder Bay.

LOL. Like Ford cares where they are built. Give me a break Hobbs. As long as the city of Toronto gets them, they do not care where they are built.
And by telling him about the importance of the plant here locally is going to do what exactly?

Just like those who are wondering why the local MPPs are not visible. This is a strike between a company and its union members.

And besides, this is all a wash board. They agreed to come and visit. No pen has been put to paper just yet.
8/22/2014 4:14:53 PM
Just Sayin' says:
Sounds like Ford gave Hobbs more of an he doesn`t care where the subway cars are built as long as the price is right. I would argue 98% of subway riders don`t know that their train is being built up here and if they found out about the striking bombardier workers would probably prefer if they were riding trains made elsewhere.
8/22/2014 4:24:33 PM
trevor99 says:
My neighbour has his eave troughs pointed right at my property and the water from his property flows right to mine and leaks into my basement. it is an awful situation. For 10 years I have been asking him to do something about that, but he never does cause he says he can't afford to change the direction of the water flow with new material. Every rain fall, I have to take care of my basement and dry it out. I want to finish off the rec room but until my neighbour fixes his property, I can't.

I guess I could take steps to lessen the damage myself like a small trench towards the road so that the water doesn't seep in, but this is really his fault.

Welcome to the city of T.Bay. Blame someone else. Ignore the reality of what is going on. Ignore the victims by our indifference and keep hoping that someone else will help and do nothing ourselves, except have a concert on Thursdays at City Hall.

Oh, and keep asking the province for more and more. They do that very well
8/22/2014 5:33:18 PM
mercy mercy me says:
i commend these guys, the must really have broad shoulders to carry the sting of all that back patting.
8/22/2014 5:51:38 PM
scarcello4westfort says:
Joe V said he and Tim Commisso toured the Budweiser Centre and said that parking was not a problem, of course it isn't, they have parking, the centre website says they have over 8,000 parking spots within walking distance for the 10,000 seat centre, which is a ratio of .80 parking spots per seat, in downtown PA we have 1,775 parking spots for a 5,700 seats which is .31 parking spots per seat. Not a very good comparable Joe.
8/22/2014 6:06:34 PM
signman says:
Nice to hear the city talking about the real issues in this community rather than an unaffordable Event Centre that most residents oppose at this time!
8/22/2014 6:18:08 PM
jack Frost says:
Again, another inappropriate and foolish public
comment by Hobbs...

Hobbs said Ford, who has been a big proponent of subways, didn't know that Toronto's street cars were built in Thunder Bay.

"I gave him a bit of an education on that," Hobbs said.

Come 27 October 2014 the citizens of this broken city will also be giving this for now mayor "a bit of an education" as well !!

8/22/2014 6:18:19 PM
fastball says:
What exactly is your issue with what Mayor Hobbs said?
He met the mayor of the largest city in Canada and reminded him of exactly where we are and what we do here. He told him that the rail cars that Ford so desperately wants are built right up the road here in TBay....and in doing so, probably suggested to Ford that if he wants his rail cars, that Ford make a few calls and see if he could exert some pressure to get these stalled talks going again
Once again, it proves that TBay, for the most part, is stuck in the hinterlands as far as Southern Ontario is concerned - and if there's anything we want, we're going to have to kick down some doors ourselves to get noticed - because SOntario surely don't give a hoot.
Mr. Hobbs, in my opinion, stuck up for this town. There's nothing foolish and inappropriate about that.
8/23/2014 9:26:03 AM
Jasper says:
There are no rail cars that mayor ford wants. His campaign promised more subway lines and less rail cars. So I am sure he could care less where they are made since he didn't want them in the first place. Despite all his flaws at least all his campaign promises were made to try and lessen the tax burden on his constituents. If mayor ford can get toronto's new rail cars cheaper from bombardier's new Mexican plant then maybe he might actually notice where they are made.
8/23/2014 6:51:15 PM
nvjgu says:
What! Rob Ford didn't know street cars were being built here. You have got to be kidding me.
8/22/2014 11:10:34 PM
Royalflush says:
After all we are the centre of the universe, aren't we?

Aren't we?
8/23/2014 9:05:09 AM
insertcorrectpunctuationhere says:
@trevor99: Did you post on the wrong article? What does your personal issue with a leaking basement have to do with the social issues of Thunder Bay. And quit blaming your neighbor and get some blue skin and better weeping tile.
8/25/2014 1:32:02 AM
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