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Delegation Brings Community Issues to Ministers: Mining Readiness & Flood Assistance Priorities at OGRA


February 27, 2013 – A Thunder Bay delegation including Mayor Keith Hobbs and Councillors Joe Virdiramo, Ken Boshcoff and Brian McKinnon on behalf of the Intergovernmental Liaison Committee, along with Councillor Aldo Ruberto brought the City’s key issues to the (OGRA) / Rural Ontario Municipal Association (ROMA) Conference in Toronto on Feb. 24 – 26.

The OGRA/ROMA Conference has become one of the largest municipal conferences in Canada, attracting over 1,500 delegates and more than 2,300 participants in total. The Premier of Ontario and key Ministers were in attendance. The conference provides the opportunity for Municipalities to meet directly with Ontario Ministries on community specific issues.

“Not only did we have the opportunity to explore the latest municipal issues and innovation at this conference, but we brought significant issues from our community directly to the Provincial Ministers,” said Mayor Hobbs. “We had some really productive meetings that we hope will contribute to moving the City’s priorities forward.”

“We took every opportunity to make Thunder Bay’s issues and priorities front and centre with key Ministries while at OGRA,” said Councillor Joe Virdiramo, Chair – Intergovernmental Liaison Committee. “There were a number of new Ministers that the delegation wanted to meet and update on important issues for the City, and we accomplished that. We certainly had very positive and informative discussions that we feel will be important to building the partnerships needed to advance the City.”

In addition to the conference, the delegation had the opportunity to meet with the following Ministries:

  • Honourable Minister Deborah Matthews of Health & Long Term Care to address the critical shortage of long-term care beds and regarding the significant re-design required for the non-urgent, inter-facility transportation EMS services.
  • Parliamentary Assistant to Honourable Linda Jeffery Minister of Municipal Affairs & Housing MPP Bill Mauro regarding the Ontario Disaster Relief Assistance Program funding and the Safe Homes Clean-Up Program and to provide an update prior to release of the draft final report of the City of Thunder Bay/Fort William First Nation Mining Readiness Strategy.
  • Honourable Minister Michael Gravelle of Northern Development & Mines seeking an update from the Minister on the Northern Ontario Growth Plan/Regional Economic Development Area Pilot Planning Zones, the Mining Readiness Strategy, along with all OGRA asks.
  • Honourable Minister Mario Sergio Responsible for Seniors regarding the implementation of the Ontario Seniors’ Strategy Report titled “Living Longer, Living Well” and to address the critical shortage of long-term care beds, and rising demand for seniors services in Thunder Bay.
  • Honourable Minister Bob Chiareli of Energy to provide a summary of the Ministry’s January 2013 meeting with the Ontario Power Authority, Thunder Bay Generating Station and Northwestern Ontario Energy Needs Planning/Technical meeting, along with the Mining Readiness Strategy.
  • Honourable Minister Glen Murray of Infrastructure/Transportation regarding the Proposed Thunder Bay Event Centre, Proposed Golf Links Road Expansion Project, support for the RPWCO HTA active transportation changes and the Mining Readiness Strategy.
  • Honourable Minister David Orazietti of Natural Resources to provide an update on the Mining Readiness Strategy.
  • Honourable Minister Teresa Piruzza of Children & Youth Services in regards to funding for the new Youth Centre Pilot Project opened and future proposed centres in Thunder Bay.
  • Honourable Minister David Zimmer of Aboriginal Affairs regarding the Mining Readiness Strategy.

The conference theme this year was ‘Adding Up the New Fiscal Reality’ that included subthemes on 21st Century Infrastructure, Calculating the Cost, Council Effectiveness, Natural Resource Management, Road Stewardship, and Rural Concerns. The Thunder Bay delegation took part in workshops related to all.

For more information about the conference, visit www.ogra.org.

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Contact: Mayor Keith Hobbs, City of Thunder Bay, 625-3601 or khobbs@thunderbay.ca
              Councillor Joe Virdiramo, Chair – Intergovernmental Liaison Committee, 628-6878
              jvirdiramo@thunderbay.ca