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Previously Answered Questions

Q: Who would I talk to about setting up a charity booth at the Thunderwolves games?

A: Thank you for your question, please call or Email Mr. Greg Alexander the General Manager of Community Services at 625-3320 or galexander@thunderbay.ca  That should get you an answer that also may require the ThunderWolves or other leagues also giving their permission.
Best of luck,
Sincerely Ken Boshcoff

Q: I am attending the Academy of Learning under the Older Worker Targeted Initiative and I would like to know why the City only offers co-op placement to high school students.

A: This question was forwarded to Mr. Alan Hjorth, Director of Human Resources for the City of Thunder Bay.
The City offers co-op placements not only to high school students but to college, university and other educational agencies.  We support a large number of placements annually across the Corporation.    Human Resources manages this process in order to act as the point of contact for students, supervisors, and educators.  At present, our internal resources (HR) precludes it from coordinating a substantive placement expansion.  
Other placement opportunities generally require some level of payment, must be entered into our payroll system, and therefore individual supervisors determine whether or not they have the funds to pay for placements, along with the capacity to take on more.
With all placements, there is a requirement to communicate with the respective union and ensure that collective agreement provisions are respected.  As well, our obligations to accommodate disabled employees are increasing and in the event of conflict between those obligations and co-op placements, the duty to accommodate would come first.
At present, we take in up to 200 students per year.
If you require additional information, contact Lisa Beckwick at 625-3298.
Alan Hjorth , Director - Human Resources & Corporate Safety

Q: Specifically, what made you want to get involved with politics?

A: As a young person I served on a number of organizations, the church young people, Junior Farmers, 4-H, etc.  As I got older I became actively involved with community organizations such as the Women's Institute, Recreation Associations, Home and School Association, various farm organizations, etc.   At one point I had served as President of most groups and was looking for a new challenge.   At that point in time, a few friends and associates in the community asked me to run for the school board.    So I basically said, "Sure, why not.   I've done everything I can here in the Slate River Valley, so time to spread my wings".   I put my name forward and ran against an incumbent who had about 10 or 15 years on the Public School Board.   I was successful and started my political career.   Your question is what made me get involved?   I think the answer is I like being someone who likes to be involved in their community and make things happen.    I like people and want to work with them to make the organization and/or community better.   I also like to network, talk to people and see them grow as individuals.  
Rebecca Johnson
Councillor at Large

Q: What do you like most about being a Councillor?

A: Thank you for your question.What I like most about being a Councillor (note the Canadian spelling of the word "Councillor") is that you can see the results of your decisions very quickly.
For example if at any Council meeting a decision is made to lower the traffic speed in front of schools, then within a few weeks of that resolution passing at a meeting it will come into effect.
Thus, one is able to help people quicker and more directly when a Member of Council.
Once more, thank you for your enquiry and I wish you and your class the best in your academic year,
Yours very truly,

Ken Boshcoff
Councillor At Large

Q: What is your favourite part of being a Councillor?

A: My favourite part is being able, sometimes, to do something that helps people e.g. when we were able to prevent the trailer park and conservatory from closing, or helping flood victims to rebuild their homes. 
Sincerely,
Paul Pugh
Councillor – McKellar Ward

Q: Dear Ms. Rydholm: What is the biggest challenge about being a City Councillor?

A: The biggest challenge for me is management of my time and energy.  There are many interesting topics, committees, meetings and events.  I have to "hold back" on my time and energy regarding City Council, or it would consume all of me ..... and leave nothing for my family and other aspects of life. 

Thank you for your interest,

Councillor Linda Rydholm
Neebing Ward

Q: Dear Mr. McKinnon: What is the most rewarding part of your job?

A: I find that being a part of a group of people directing our City in a positive direction is very rewarding. Being part of a group of Councillors who are looking after the best interests of all of our Citizens is terrific. Personally I am very pleased when I can help an individual solve a problem or issue which is important to that person. By listening and then following through is critical to arriving at a satisfactory solution.                     

Councillor Brian McKinnon
Red River Ward

Q: Dear Mr. Bentz: I just wanted to know what is your favourite part of being a Councillor?

A: Thanks for the question. My favourite part of being a Councillor is having the ability to make positive changes for the citizens of Thunder Bay.  It is an extremely interesting job and I really enjoy all of the research and learning that I need to do to perform it well.
 
The types of decisions Councillors have to make sometimes involve millions of dollars and impact the daily lives of everyone that lives in Thunder Bay.  It is a great feeling when all the hard work results in something that makes life better for those I am elected to serve.
 
Regards,
Councillor Mark Bentz
Northwood Ward

Q: What were your processes of becoming a politician? And why did you choose this job?

A: In response to your online inquiry, I retired from Thunder Bay Hydro in 2004 after 29 years of which I had been General Manager for 20 plus years. I had run unsuccessfully for Council in 1974 and thought I should give back to my Community. I am an active member of the Community having been involved with the LU sports Program in various capacities as a player broadcaster, booster clubs and now their Wall of Fame Committee for 45 years. I have also coached and umpired Little League Baseball for 31 years mainly in the East End and have been President of the Thunder Bay International Baseball Association for 10 years. We are dedicated to bringing top notch amateur baseball to our community which we did in 2010 with the World Junior Championships. I volunteer for a number of Charities and am very involved in our Church, St. Andrew's Presbyterian. Through my involvement with these many organizations I felt I had a good sense of what our community is all about and decided to run in 2006 and came second in the at large race as I did in 2010.  I feel I can represent the people of the whole community very well.  I still work part time in the energy and human resources consulting field. Being a Councillor in the best Community in the World is an honour and privilege. Thank you for your inquiry and please consider serving your community someday.

Larry Hebert
Councillor at Large

Q: Dear Ms. Rydholm: What interested or influenced you into becoming a politician?

A:  Short answer: I became interested in politics because I care very much about people - locally, nationally and globally. 

Longer answer: In the late 1980's, the school board was planning to close my children's school.  I started to attend meetings and knew that I could make a positive contribution to the local school scene, so I successfully campaigned for the position of School Trustee.  I served on the school board for 3 terms (9 years), including various local committee and board Chair positions and 2 major provincial committees.     As a mother and former elementary school teacher, I was supportive of students, staff and administration - helping our children to be the best they could be.   In 1997, I ran for City Council because of two major municipal issues - the need for a new hospital and a new water system.   Over the years, there have been many issues to consider.  Research and thought must be given, whether the matter is important to one person, one block, one ward or the entire city.   I have a particular interest in Neebing, the ward which I represent, since 4 generations of my family have lived here and I know it well.   Since 2006, I have been honoured to be elected to the Board of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, where the national and sometimes international perspective is provided on municipal matters.   It is very interesting to gain (and to contribute to) that larger perspective, and then relate it to Thunder Bay.

Best regards and wishes,

Councillor Linda Rydholm
Neebing Ward

Q: Did your background as a Teacher, Principal, Superintendent and Director help you on what you are doing now? If so, how?

A: My experience as a Teacher, Principal, Superintendent and Director of Education has assisted me in many ways in fulfilling my role as a City Councillor. These experiences involving human and personal interaction have given me a greater understanding of interpersonal relationships and a better understanding of constituent issues as they relate to the city.

My past experiences have also given me in depth comprehension of all budgets processes which allow me to make factual and decisive decisions as they pertain to city wide issues.

I have learned as an educator the whole process of problem solving which assists me in dealing with citizens. I am grateful for the experiences I have had which have helped me in being a better Councillor

As Director of Education I was involved in many contract negotiations, mediations, arbitrations experiences which assist me in dealing with people.

Thank you for the opportunity of answering your question.
Councillor Joseph Virdiramo
Westfort Ward

Q: How do you find the time to work as a nurse as well as be Councillor for the McIntyre Ward?

A: I have to organize my time and prioritize issues effectively in order to be able to work as a nurse and a City Councillor.
 
Councillor Trevor Giertuga
McIntyre Ward

Q: What is your plan on making a new direction for our city Thunder Bay?

A: Council has created a very comprehensive Strategic Plan which describes in great detail the direction in which the City is going. I would encourage you to go online to read it. Certainly I have had direct input into the Plan as have all Councillors. Personally I want to support a high quality of life in our City by expanding our bicycle trails and improving our parks. I also want to encourage business improvements for the betterment of our City. Those are a few of the things I support.             
Councillor Brian McKinnon
Red River Ward

Q: Dear Mr. McKinnon: What kind of responsibilities do you have as a Councillor?

A:  As a Councillor I address concerns of my constituents in the Red River Ward as well as any other concerns which may come my way from any other citizens. In addition I am on many committees which deal with City issues on an individual basis.  Councillors also meet every Monday night to deal with a wide variety issues. Those are just a few of my responsibilities.             

Councillor Brian McKinnon
Red River Ward

Q: Dear Larry Hebert: What are your responsibilities as a City Councillor at large?

A: Thanks for your interest in City Politics. As a Councillor at large, I am serving the whole City as do all Councillors including those in wards but they have particular loyalty to wards which they serve. I believe, but I am in a minority, that all Councillors should be elected at large and if we want to assign people to districts or wards, we can. We all work together as a team (that does not always mean we agree). We are the equivalent of the Board of Directors of a private Corporation and we set the direction for the City and it is up to the private sector and appropriate government sectors to do the detail. Between the private sector with mining leading the way but other stuff coming, the medical sector and the education sector this is going to be a vibrant community for years to come. We have a tremendous gift of nature in clean water and clean air and given the opportunities job wise in the next many tears we can become the number one City in the world.
Larry Hebert
Councillor at Large

Q: Dear Mr.Giertuga: What influenced you to step up to a powerful role in our community?

A: I decided to run for McIntyre Ward Councillor 11 years ago because I wanted to give back to my community; also I wanted to achieve improved services for our tax dollars.
Councillor Trevor Giertuga
McIntyre Ward

Q: Dear Trevor Giertuga: How has your owning a small business affect you as a Councillor for the McIntyre Ward?

A: Owning a previous business has enabled me to use my experience to look at city issues through a business perspective.
 
Councillor Trevor Giertuga
McIntyre Ward

Q: Dear Mrs. Johnson: In your life, were you inspired to stand up to a powerful role from someone close to you, and did this inspire you to be in council?

A: I was fortunate to have several mentors in my life.  My mother died early in her life so I had my maternal grandmother who was a true role model for me.   She pushed me and made me stand up for what I believed in.   As a woman it was challenging and she always told me that women can do whatever they want and to never take a second seat to anyone.   Another person was a lady who I met along my life's path.   Mrs. Purcell was a true leader and I looked up to her and tried to follow her example.   I decided to run for City Council as I had just returned to the City of Thunder Bay after being away for a couple of years and was looking for a new challenge.   After different individuals suggested I put my name forward I felt that I had the skills required as well as the interest and desire to work in and for the community to be a Councillor.  The number of mentors I had in my life helped me become the person I am today so your question of a powerful role model is very true.  To stand tall, to think tall, to smile tall and to live tall.

Rebecca Johnson
Councillor at Large

Q: Will you ever run for mayor again? Why or why not?

A: Thank you for your personal question. Although many people have been encouraging me to seek the Mayor's position it is highly unlikely that I will do so.
 
At present just being a Councillor takes up a huge amount of time, approximately 50 hours a week.
 
As someone who also works full-time as an Environmental and Economic Consultant it is important to both my clients and myself that I continue to do the best possible job for them.
 
I thank you for this enquiry and wish you all the best in your academic year,

Yours sincerely,
Ken Boshcoff
Councillor at Large

Q: Dear Mr. Angus, What are your plans in creating jobs for our city?

A: In terms of job creation I have been focused on a couple of key areas:

1) As part of the team guiding the Mining Readiness Strategy, we are working to ensure that Thunder Bay receives the maximum benefit from the multitude of new mines that will come into being over the next 5-10 years. We have already seen significant growth in employment through the expansion and/or establishment of engineering firms and assay labs here in the City.

2) On the energy side I am the co-chair of the Common Voice Northwest Energy Task Force which works with the Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association, the Northwestern Ontario Associated Chambers of Commerce, the town of Atikokan and the City of Thunder Bay to identify and lobby for necessary improvements to our electrical distribution, transmission and generation facilities in the Northwest so that we can have the power that we need, where it is needed in order to grow our economy

3) Council's investment in medical research has led to the creation of over 100 highly paid jobs in the health sector in Thunder Bay

4) I chaired the Joint Task Force on Regional Economic Development Planning Zones Pilot Project and coordinated the development of a proposal to the Government of Ontario on how to create a regional planning area process.

Iain Angus
Councillor at Large

Q: Dear Trevor Giertuga: What have you done to make Mclntyre a better place to live?

A: I have tried to keep taxes down and improve the quality of life for McIntyre residents.
 
Councillor Trevor Giertuga
McIntyre Ward

Q: What positive changes have you made to the Northwood area in throughout your current term?

A: Thanks for the question. My main priority as a Councillor is to make sure that the residents of Northwood have access to me and to City staff so that any concerns or questions they have get addressed in a timely and effective manner.  Residents typically ask for my assistance with bylaw enforcement issues related to zoning, noise, parking and litter and I work with them and staff until the issue is resolved.
 
We are fortunate that Northwood is very well served with community centres, parks and recreation and over my terms in Council I have worked towards seeing that those assets continue to remain open to serve the residents of Northwood as well as all citizens of Thunder Bay.
 
I have also worked towards increasing in the roads budget so that roads that require repair in the ward are done in a more timely manner.
 
Unfortunately, the flood in May 2012 impacted many homes in various neighbourhoods in Northwood.  I am currently working to see that all drainage infrastructure in these neighbourhoods is assessed and that potential solutions are explored and improvements implemented so that future flooding might be lessened.
 
Regards,
Councillor Mark Bentz
Northwood Ward

Q: What process did you have to go through to become a Councillor? What sacrifices did you have to make?

A: To become a Councillor all you have to do is pay your $100.00 fee then go out and try to get elected. This requires a great deal of effort and money to advertise your name.....there are many ways to do this depending on your energy and marketing abilities.
 
Sacrifices made include dedication of an enormous amount of time dealing with all kinds of issues from city wide issues, like the events center, to individual issues like neighbour disputes about dogs, trees , properties etc... your privacy is not your own and everybody feels you are at their beck and call....hope this answers your questions if not invite me to your school as a guest and I will be happy to speak to your class.
Thank you.
Aldo Ruberto
Councillor at Large