2019 In Thunder Bay?
by Scott A. Sumner
This is the time of the year that I have traditionaly talked about the state of the economy of Northwestern Ontario. It is always always fun having a look at what is going on and highliting some major happenings.The Thunder Bay Waterfront now has a 4 star Delta Hotel! You can read more about this beautiful hotel in this issue. The media were invited to breakfast and a full tour which was great. The views for guests will be exceptional as I have found out being in the area for the last 4 years.The Thunder Bay Country Club project should restart soon, this month I think. Their website shows a very high end elaborate project complete with restaurant, pro shop, outdoor pool and 109 units that are quite large. Other condo projects are almost finished at Dawson Road and the Hillcrest High School facility continues in phases. The consumer will have many options.Retail wise I think the Marshals store at Intercity Shopping Centre is underway in part of the old Sears location. The renovations seem to be extensive, including removing exterior brick.Mining has done well in the region especially with the New Gold property near Fort Frances in operation and providing many good paying jobs. There are also good projects in the development stage throughout the region including Marathon,Geraldton and the Red Lake area. Of course we also still have the Ring of Fire project which I think will happen moving the road access process forward. Slow but sure I quess.Forestry continues on and even with the placement of duties on softwood lumber the companies are doing well. I think the low Canadian dollar definitely helps.Our local economy of Thunder Bay seems alright. I look at the performance of the airport and passenger traffic as an indicator of the economy.The number of flights per day to Toronto has changed with Air Canada introducing jet service with the Airbus 319 three times per day instead of the previous 6 flights daily with the Q 400. We do have a very government oriented economy with 9 off the 10 top employers government funded. The hospital,university,college,city, federal and provincial lead the way with large, highly paid staff that strengthen our economy.A significant concern on the horizon is the local Bombardier Transportation plant. Their contracts end at the end of 2019. They employ about 1200 so that would impact Thunder Bay a lot! We hope they can carry forward with work past 2019 to keep the local sector private workers employed. The Port of Thunder Bay continues to do well with great numbers the last few years and a good start to this season.They are constructing a large new $15 million storage buildingand improving rail access.I do think the backbone of the local economy continues to be from small business owners.These entrepreneurs provide the bulk of the jobs in total numbers. You have to hand it to an entrepreneur because they have their financial position at risk and no certain income on a monthly basis. Some of these businesses have been in operation over 100 years which is amazing! I talk to these risk takers all the time and some have had stellar years recently. The number of restaurants here is a prime example of good success.I’m hoping for good economic times for the Northwestern Ontario region in 2019 and beyond. We have a beautiful area, rich in resources and natural beauty. This is the place to live and opportunities are here to prosper.What do you think? Let me know! href="mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org">email@example.com