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As a senior, you should be looking forward to enjoying your retirement, and have easy and affordable access to city's facilities and the health care system.
In Thunder Bay we are blessed with a beautiful natural setting. Centres like the 55+ have done wonderful things for our seniors, and the City's Homes for the Aged have strived to maintain a high level of service and care for elders.
You will be happy to know that I have worked closely with the administration of the 55+ Centre and City Council to add positions and funding to make sure that the Centre continues to provide the best possible services to our community. We have also added 8 new paramedics and an ambulance to increase services where they are needed the most.
While this city and region have some very committed health care professionals who have been working under some very difficult circumstances, the city needs to continue to play a meaningful role in tackling issues related to crime prevention and safety such as addiction, substance abuse, poverty, homelessness, and ready access to emergency rooms and personnel when needed.
Proper health care for our city and surrounding region is very high on my priority list. As your Mayor I will work tirelessly with the key health care groups and organizations in the region to ensure that we have the health care professionals that we need to make this one of the best place in Canada to live.
You have also told me that other issues dear to you as a senior are:
I believe that given the opportunity most people would like to have their children and grandchildren near them, and not have to travel to different parts of the country to visit them. While out-migration is getting much better, unfortunately there are still too many young people who feel that they have to leave for work or to pursue their careers.
I have worked diligently with many organizations in our city to retain our youth by creating more opportunities for jobs and it was great to see that a recent report by the Northern Policy Institute, shows a participation rate for youth in Northwestern Ontario at 72% which is higher than the provincial average. In other words, if our youth or grandchildren are looking for a job, they now have a better change of getting one here in the Thunder.
As a senior on fixed income, financial responsibility and accountability in government are very important to ensure that you get value for your tax dollars.
During this term on City Council in 2014-2018, I have worked diligently to bring down taxes from the projected 6-7% high tax increases to a more reasonable and stable 2.4% (just covering the cost of living). I have done so through a respectful challenge of past administrative practices, continuous improvement of operations, cost controls, and promoting economic expansion through economic initiatives like the ones identified above.
As your Mayor, I would continue to keep low taxes while maintaining services and investment in roads and other infrastructure, and offer you the tax payer, real value for your tax dollars.