Investing in our 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 and was educated at Westfort University – although I think it takes growing up here to understand what Westfort University means. We are thick skinned, roll-up your sleeves and “get the job done” kind of people.
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. Even my own election signs came from Westfort. I’m also sure that we can all share a story or two about some fun times at one of the legendary bars. In some ways, Westfort is our best kept secret, but it’s time to share our community with the world.
Our cultural fabric is changing. We are seeing more and more people from around the world choosing Thunder Bay as a place to make their home. Although there are population declines in the region, the urban centres are experiencing some growth. Even still, it’s not enough. The Thunder Bay district needs to attract 50,000 people by 2041 to maintain our current workforce. As our birthrates are low, we need to identify ways to attract people, developers, employers and talent to Thunder Bay.
As a graduate of Confederation College, it gives me great pride to return as Chair of the Board of Governors. Both Confederation College and Lakehead University offer impeccable postsecondary education programming and are attracting people from around the world to study right here in Thunder Bay. We need to harness this as a way to grow our population but help from the federal and provincial government is needed. The current immigration regulations make larger centres like Toronto and Montreal appealing for population growth while the rest of us suffer. An immigration program needs to be created for Thunder Bay. Whether we are attracting people from other parts of the region, Ontario, Canada or the world, it is imperative that we focus on a strategic growth plan.
Technology expansion enables our community to be accessible to the world. With relatively low housing costs, Thunder Bay provides an opportunity for people to live here and work globally by having the ability to connect anywhere in the world. Paying off a mortgage in Thunder Bay is achievable in comparison to cities like Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal. With a busy airport offering multiple flight options to Toronto and Winnipeg, we are an accessible city.
I have a lot of skin in the game……I want a future for my children, your children and grandchildren. I am a progressive thinker, hard worker and am dedicated to this community. I am committed to working to finding solutions to our issues that will see our community grow, prosper and be the envy of the province.