(THUNDER BAY, ON) – Jim Stadey, the owner of a city favourite pizza shop “Eat Local” is running in the election for At-Large Councillor.
He has launched his election platform. Below is what he has laid out so far, and he makes it clear that his platform will evolve as he continues to take in community input.
People in Thunder Bay need to feel like they are a part of their own governance system. I talk to so many people who feel like they aren’t qualified to critique those that spend their money. When we talk about barriers it is easy to define the ones we can easily see like money, but words and bureaucracy can be walls just as fearsome as a bill someone cannot afford.
We need to better inform people in the city about the budget process, about spending and about the options that exist. We need to use common terminology that everyone can understand and we need to be open and inviting about it.
We need to help map out city services so that people know what they have access to and how best to use it. People need to know who to call and what their rights are in any given situation. I help so many small businesses who feel daunted by City By-Law and Admin (Both offices are very friendly to deal with by the way, people get put off by how hard it can be to find the right information)
I am going to report on each issue and break it down into lay terms as best I can so that people can both understand how decisions are made and have a chance to put in their opinion.
Every Single Person Matters
We live in a city with a big heart. We know that we want to identify and fix the issues with racism that haunt our community, yet systemic issues like this are very complicated. In order to help heal our city and move forward we need to look to those most affected to begin healing and rebuilding. I am going to be consulting with local leaders in the Indigenous community to try and get a better understanding. I will report back as I learn more.
Too many people in our city don’t have access to the food they need. Organizations like Roots to Harvest, the City Food Strategy, the Good Food Box, and the RFDA (just to name a few) have been spearheading projects for years to get food to people through different means. So much of their time is spent locking down funding that is negatively impacts the time that these community champions can spend on programming. I want to try and figure out a way to either get permanent core funding for some of these organizations or help to streamline the application process at the very least.
Taxes in Thunder Bay are always frustrating for everyone. Any time someone critiques spending, they are met with the response: “What would YOU cut?” or “What service would you trade it for?”
While a large portion of the city budget is spent in areas that are locked in by higher levels of government, we need to break the rest down into real numbers for everyone to see and debate. As a community we need to know what we are spending each others money on, and decide together if we agree on it. I think by opening this process we will be able to make city spending more efficient.We can try our best at lower taxes and I can promise that everyone will have a better understanding of where the money is going so that each family can make an informed decision when it comes to their vote and feedback.
Our city is plagued with mental health issues.From workplace environments to every day life to treatment, we need to look at solutions to heal people and facilitate real recovery and wellness.
Thunder Bay is beautiful, we love living here. We want to make it better. These are commonly held beliefs in the city. A problem we run into is that moving forward comes with costs and sometimes we don’t prepare correctly for those.
We tried to build an Event Center without making sure the funding was in place, we did it based on low quality external consultants telling us what we wanted to hear. When it comes to these large capital projects (Like the currently planned and debated Art Gallery) we keep running into the same problems.
- We are always given the option of funding for these arbitrary projects and have to adjust our own plans to suit them. This rarely works smoothly. We need to get ahead of this and get organized, run internal feasibility studies (not using outside firms) and then once we decide on projects that our city needs that everyone can benefit from, we propose it to the Provincial/Federal government and lobby for funding.
- When we hastily jump at the option for a Prov/Fed contribution to a large project we often don’t put into perspective how much we are spending against how many people in the community will actually benefit from it. Declaring constantly that any building we put up will eventually benefit everyone is the same argument as “Trickle Down Economics” and isn’t fair.
We live in a city with so much potential, we need to put more efforts towards removing barriers for people to start and expand business, building jobs and keeping revenue in the city. By keeping our focus on working from the ground up we can work hand in hand with our business and education communities to improve the quality of life for everyone and fill the city coffers for projects as we plan for them.
Our city is filled to the brim with sub-communities of amazing people. From Arts and Culture to Food and Drink.
On the strategic level we have different hubs working constantly to bring in new young professionals and investors to the city, each doing a good job (CEDC, Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce and Thunder Bay Tourism as example) We need to unify this outreach and make sure the resources are there to ensure positive population and business growth.
On the Tactical level we have SO many organizations working at the grass roots level to build community. They work with minimal resources to fortify neighbourhoods against crime, to help youth find direction and to add value to the places we live and play. We need to address these groups and empower them. Their success is our sucess and many times they are able to achieve on a string budget what larger would have to spend far more on. (There are so many of these: Evergreen: A United Neighbourhood, Our Kids Count, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Science North, Roots to Harvest as examples)
Our city suffers from a frustrating and daunting amount of crime in many different forms. We need to work with community groups like the Bear Clan and government organizations like the Thunder Bay Police to make it harder for criminals to continue and to lower the amount of crimes of desperation that stem from systemic problems. No one should have to feel afraid, together we can work on this.