THUNDER BAY – Peng You believes the city needs a new vision, starting at the top.
It’s why the Tai Chi master, who roared to the top of the at-large race four years ago to secure his first term on city council, decided in 2022 to jump into the mayoral contest.
He says he's determined to bring about the change that’s needed to help Thunder Bay attract new business while improving the quality of life for everyone who lives and works here.
“I’m very aware of the current issues that we face and the opportunities that are available,” said You, who finished second running for the provincial Conservatives earlier this year in Thunder Bay-Superior North.
“I have heard from many constituents about their concerns and what they wish the future to look like. As a city, we need to grow and move forward. I have the energy, strength and I’m ready to hit the ground running with a bold vision, with leadership and business experience.”
Among the pillars holding up his platform is growth and economic development. You also touts a close relationship with the provincial and federal governments and a plan for increased transparency and communication.
He’d also like to reform council, taking another run at possibly reducing its size, an effort he wasn’t able to accomplish earlier this term, but not for lack of trying.
A Thunder Bay resident since 1990, You owned two restaurants before opening the International Tai Chi Academy and taking on the role of president of the Thunder Bay Martial Arts Council, leading the charge to bring the 2022 National Martial Arts Championships to the city, as well as the World Tai Chi Championships in 2024.
“I strongly believe that we can grow the economy to support our tax base, protect public services and improve our physical infrastructure. This will require collaboration and teamwork. Both things I’m committed too,” You said.
“Growth is the key for our future. We need to expand our tax base.”
You said all communities are currently facing many challenges, but Thunder Bay may be uniquely positioned to take advantage of growth in the natural resource sector, something Northwestern Ontario has an abundance of throughout the region.
“I think we need to look forward to the community we want and can be,” he said.
Solving the crime issue, including the increased guns and gangs problem that’s infiltrated Thunder Bay over the past decade, cannot be done alone, he said.
“Thunder Bay cannot hold too many balls. We’ve only got two hands. We have to work together with other levels of government. We really have to rely on provincial resources for things like guns and gangs. We cannot deal with that alone. So that’s why I’m in the position with a strong relationship with upper levels of government,” You said.
“The status quo doesn’t work. We have to make changes.”
He’d like to refocus police efforts on front-line officers, making sure there are mental health and morale supports in place.
“Also, neighbourhood policing works very well. The statistics show it. So why don’t we use those tools? We have to think outside the box,” he said.