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Joint Delegation Preparing Next Steps for Ring of Fire

March 1, 2012 – The Joint Delegation from the City of Thunder Bay and Fort William First Nation is preparing a comprehensive Community Readiness Strategy to take full advantage of the unprecedented opportunities related to Northwestern Ontario’s Mineral Basin – The Ring of Fire.

The Joint Delegation met with nine Provincial Ministers, including the Honourable Michael Gravelle and Thunder Bay-Atikokan MPP Bill Mauro, this week at the Ontario Good Roads Association Conference in Toronto. The Ring of Fire and Thunder Bay’s emerging economic development opportunities were frequently discussed, particularly with the Ministers of Energy, Transportation & Infrastructure, Natural Resources, and Northern Development & Mines.

“The meetings with Provincial Ministers at the Ontario Good Roads Association Conference were very productive and positive – the ball is definitely in our court now,” said Mayor Keith Hobbs. “We put forward a strong case to the Province to develop a fully integrated plan that will capitalize on the enormous mining opportunities in this region, and now it’s up to us to be ready.”

The key message heard by the Joint Delegation was to mobilize quickly and be ready. “We strongly advocated that Northwestern Ontario should benefit overall from the Ring of Fire and other mining opportunities such as processing,” Mayor Hobbs said.

The Joint Delegation focused on strategic infrastructure investment, energy supply and pricing, stable and sustainable electrical supply to Northern First Nation Communities and workforce development opportunities.

Councillor Joe Virdiramo (Chair of the Inter-Governmental Liaison Committee) indicated he is proud of the work that went into those meetings and of how successful the meetings were. “Now we need to move quickly to put plans in place to take advantage of the huge opportunities coming our way,” Virdiramo said. “The Province is very supportive of working with Thunder Bay as the major business centre closest to the Ring of Fire.”

The City of Thunder Bay will move quickly to create the Community Readiness Strategy by working closely with the Community Economic Development Commission, the Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce, Ambassadors Northwest, Fort William First Nation, Nishnawbe Aski Nation, Lakehead University, Confederation College and other key community stakeholder organizations.

The Joint Delegation was comprised of Mayor Keith Hobbs; Ed Collins, Economic Development Officer for Fort William First Nation; Thunder Bay City Councillors Joe Virdiramo (Chair of the Inter-Governmental Liaison Committee), Ken Boshcoff, Aldo Ruberto, Brian McKinnon, Iain Angus, City Manager Tim Commisso and Laury Alexander, the Mayor’s Policy Assistant. Some Councillors also attended as Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association and District of Thunder Bay Social Services Administration Board members.

Contact: Councillor Joe Virdiramo (Chair of the Inter-Governmental Liaison Committee), 625-5547