Why did you decide to run for council?
Thunder Bay is at a crossroads right now. With an aging demographic and stalled population growth, I am putting my name forward to chart a new course for Thunder Bay. I believe that my experience and knowledge of the issues is needed to move our community forward. I have long been advocating and addressing the issues of our region and I know firsthand the challenges we face with infrastructure funding, the dire need to address our social issues and improving the economy for Thunder Bay. My campaign will revolve around making Thunder Bay a welcoming community. While this sounds like such a simple statement, it really is the basis for attracting developers, people and talent to our community. We need to harness the opportunities for growth. As the largest city in the northwest, we should be focusing on our strengths and showcasing what we have to offer. I believe by working together, we can make this city the jewel of the north.
If you received a $1 million grant to use for your city any way you wanted, what would you do with it?
I would work with business leaders in the Westfort Ward to implement a plan to enhance the Westfort Village. We could identify opportunities to further develop the business district focusing on the historical importance of the area and make it a destination point for citizens and visitors alike. I recently participated in the Westfort Street Fair and share the concerns expressed that this part of the city has been completely neglected. Working collectively, we could embark on something spectacular with a $1 million dollar investment.
What do you think are the greatest challenges your city faces?
Thunder Bay has an aging demographic and stagnant population growth. As the baby boomers retire, we will be in dire straights. In order to maintain a level of service and fill those jobs, we need to attract people to this community. This becomes difficult as Thunder Bay has significant social issues to address as poverty, addictions and homelessness impact a segment of our population. While these issues are not unique to Thunder Bay, we need to find solutions. Crumbling infrastructure and inadequate funding is a challenge as well. Better funding agreements with the federal and provincial government are critical in an effort to fix roads, sewers and water lines.
Other than the official ways of communicating (minutes, municipal notes), how else will you reach out to your constituents to involve them in the decision making process?
Meeting and talking to the citizens of Westfort and Thunder Bay as a whole is a major priority for me. I pledge to be accessible to the electorate and return phone calls and emails. In addition, I will hold quarterly ward meetings as well as individual meetings. I promise to give Westfort a voice at city hall.
What is your favourite thing to do in your city?
The outdoor lifestyle offered in this city is without a doubt my favourite thing about Thunder Bay. In the summer, I enjoy biking with my family to Vicker's Park, boating on the Kaministiquia River and of course attending the many festivals we are fortunate to have. In the winter, my hockey mom status kicks into full gear. I take up residency at Fort William Gardens to watch my sons play as well as volunteer with their hockey league.
What do you cherish most about your community?
Do you believe that you live in the best part of the world? I sure do! We have pristine water, clean air, breath taking views and a diverse population. I proudly tell people that I’m from Westfort, Ontario. Westfort is a community within a community. Located on one street alone you can shop at some unique stores, get your hair done, grab some groceries and fine Italian specialty foods, order beautiful flower arrangements and dine at some pretty delicious restaurants. I cherish the sense of community you feel while in Westfort.