The high cost of energy has created major issues for the city of Thunder Bay and Northwestern Ontario. One of the fall out has been and continues to be the devastating impact on our cost structure, manufacturing, mining, and forestry operations, where as a result of plant closures and layoffs, thousands of good paying jobs have been lost these last few years alone. The spin off effect of this loss has and continues to impact other areas of our economy such as transportation and suppliers.
Obviously other factors such as a high Canadian dollar and high prices of wood fibre and gasoline (beyond the control of local and provincial governments) have contributed to this situation. However, there are things that can be done. It requires the willingness and the political will of all parties involved to find suitable solutions.
How can the Mayor help.
I have worked as a Budget Coordinator for eight years for the Northwestern Region of Ontario Hydro. During this time I have also worked closely with staff and management of the Remote Communities Division, with the Ontario Hydro field offices in Dryden, Kenora, and Fort Frances, and Head Office in Toronto. As a result of this exposure to the various facets of the Hydro business, I have gained an excellent understanding of the changing Hydro market in both Northwestern Ontario and the Province and was a director on the Board of Thunder Bay Hydro for over five years, where under the direction of City Council’s Rate Stabilization Policy of not paying dividends to the City, we maintained one of the lowest Municipal Hydro rates in the province.
During my eleven years on City Council, I have also represented the City at the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) serving on the International Business Committee, Transportation, and Municipal-Aboriginal Relations. This experience in dealing with all three orders of government and the contacts formulated in the region over the years with other municipalities, various government agencies and other organizations, will be an asset in future negotiations with the Province on these very important issues, including the full range of opportunities with the Ring of Fire.