Business interests on campaign radar

·3 min read

THUNDER BAY, ONT. — The Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce is building its 2022 City of Opportunity municipal election platform and is asking their members and municipal election candidates to share their ideas on what the next city council can do to support local business growth.

The purpose of the survey is to gather information as to what the chamber should put forward in this election platform to raise with the candidates that are running for city council this fall.

“Basically we are asking each candidate, “Do you commit to do that?” said Charla Robinson, president of the Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce.

“The survey to our membership is asking our members what their specific concerns are.”

In 2018, the City of Opportunity platform focused on three pillars which included visionary leadership, economic opportunity and quality of life. The survey was endorsed by all elected councillors who were instrumental in delivering results.

“Under each of those pillars, there were specific things that we asked potential councillors and candidates to commit to, like ‘I commit to providing fiscal transparency,’” Robinson said.

“We specifically asked for a program and service review. We specifically asked for changes to the zoning bylaw to address challenges around sustainable neighbourhoods. It was specifically outlining our areas of focus and then asking each candidate if they would commit to working towards addressing those pieces . . . so we’ll be doing the same thing this year. We’ll be putting together a roadmap, or a platform of things that are important to the business community, and we’ll be asking the candidate where they stand and if they will commit to moving forward on these items or not.”

The chamber will provide the full list of all candidates who are registered, whether they’ve responded, which way they responded and if they do or don’t support some of the issues. This will help the business community to understand the perspectives of all of the candidates and that will keep them informed as they vote.

“Everyone that was elected in the 2018 election are candidates that have committed to all 10 of our commitment statements, and that was great to see that level of support by the elected council,” Robinson said.

In the 2018 survey, the chamber asked for a costing analysis program and service review, and that happened. They asked for reform to bylaws and that happened.

“We’re still working through some final processes under various municipal act rules, but in general, what we’ve asked for, things around red tape and planning modernization, are being worked towards right now, like digitization, which is part of that whole, modernizing processes that we asked for,” she said.

Robinson says they have seen movement on the surveyed issues with some being “fully checked off” as completed. She explained that they will use what has happened in the last four years to develop what they are looking for from the next four years as councillors continue to move forward on those commitments and on other pledges.

The survey provides opportunities for feedback on specific things and things of importance to participants if it’s not addressed somewhere else. Robinson says that will play out with a “little bit more broad-based input” as well.

To voice input, go online at:

Sandi Krasowski, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Chronicle-Journal

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