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April 24, 2023 Council Recap

By Adam Riley Apr 28, 2023 | 12:00 PM

Thunder Bay City Council - Acadia Broadcasting File

Thunder Bay City council has approved a 2.9% pay bump for this year as part of a policy that sets increases at half of the inflation rate.

Several members defended the increase including Mark Bentz, who notes it could become difficult to bring on new blood in the future.

“If you are trying to attract good people around the table, and your asking them to get involved in something in which every year your remuneration is actually less than it was the year before, I don’t think that’s a good argument.”

Andrew Foulds says the community and the community committee which made the recommendation to set the policy, and as a result in some years when inflation is low, the rate increases very little, as compared to other entities such as unions or managers.

“There are some years like last year and this year, where it might be slightly higher. But I want to remind everyone that there are years where it was massively lower and so our wages are tied to this inflation, which means it ebbs and flows.”

The City of Thunder Bay has a strategy to address the the encampments that will appear once again in various parts of the city, populated by the city’s unhoused residents.

Other communities have taken controversial methods to dealing with encampments, but Drug Strategy Coordinator Cynthia Olsen says Thunder Bay’s strategy is a human rights based approach, which has policies on who will approach an encampment once it is reported.

“Within 24 hours notification would go out to our taskforce, and that within 48 hours a lead community partner would make contact,do some assessment on the site that’s been identified.”

However that strategy according to Bentz will require money and wants both the provincial and federal governments to pony up the cash alongside the municipality.

“The province cannot just hide behind ‘Well, let the municipality deal with it.’  and neither can the federal government for that matter. So lets hope we’re successful and other communities are successful in pulling the people with the purse strings to the table.”

This week nine members of the Ford government will be in Thunder Bay attending the Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association conference and some on council intend to bring this issue to them.

Something significant happened tonight when council passed the bylaws
– General Manager Karen Lewis

Council also gave the final go ahead for the construction of the art gallery on the city’s waterfront.

A $50 million dollar project that is designated as a municipal capital facility, which  was needed in order for the ground lease, essentially giving the Thunder Bay Art Gallery the green light to secure a building permit and start construction.

While speaking to council Monday, General manager of development and emergency services Karen Lewis, spoke of the development history of the area, which took a giant step forward in 2011 with the opening of Prince Arthur’s Landing and the vision to expand beyond that.

“The gallery will be a crown jewel in continuing that transformation, and a spectacular setting for the collection and preservation of Northern Ontario art and work by Indigenous artists.”

Construction of the area has technically started prior to the bylaw with crews installing piles and other work in preparation for the build.

The new waterfront gallery is expected to be opened in 2025.



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