What Can We Expect In Thunder Bay for 2016?
by Scott A. Sumner
A new year begins has begun here in Thunder Bay and NW Ontario. The question on many minds in the business community could be what type of an economic environment can we expect? It is hard to say for sure but there are lots of good things happening.
The landscape of Thunder Bay continues to change with a transformation of our economy. The airport has a big influence on our region’s economy. It is impressive to me that we have so many direct flights ( 15 I think most days) to Toronto each day with Air Canada, Porter and West jet. Equally as impressive is the flights seem to be always quite full and many are flying here to conduct business and then go home. There must be quite substantial interest in Thunder Bay.
A drive in the downtown South core lets you see the massive new courthouse building complete. This $150 million project could help make a huge image change for the area.
A drive to the North core waterfront will showcase the Prince Arthur's Landing with it’s new buildings, artwork and landscape. It gives a nice image for our beautiful waterfront. The condominium buildings are up and offer a very positive living environment for people to choose. Lets hope we see some construction activity with the new hotel soon. The developers have said a February start.
The hospital/university area is in my opinion the most impressive of Thunder Bay. The TBRHSC facility is one we can all be proud of and Lakehead University has become a comprehensive institution.
The St Joseph's Care group is just finishing part of a massive project on Lillie Street and working on a new addition in the downtown Northward.
There is a new Hampton Inn well under construction near the airport. That is our third new hotel in recent years, a definite sign of economic activity.
Some of the automobile dealerships are underway or have finished upgrades to their facilities. The new Acura facility is very impressive.
There are many great retail opportunities in Thunder Bay and more coming all the time. A lumber retailer is under construction at the Intercity Shopping Centre. We have much to offer the local citizens and guests when they need to shop.
All of these developments giv me the feel of a more prosperous city.
When I do my business interviews I hear quite often about the importance of mining in the city. The numerous developments that are happening in our region are having an immediate economic impact on Thunder Bay and will only increase as these projects progress. Mining
has been a great growth area for our region and has helped during the forestry industry changing times. Perhaps we can see some definitive plans to get the ball rolling on the Ring of Fire. The private sector may just need to see some concrete action on transportation and energy
infrastructure to get investing more of their capital.
I think we have lots going on in Thunder Bay. The advance of
technology is amazing to me and means that you can be living in our
beautiful setting of Thunder Bay and do business around the globe. As
the well-known phrase states
“ The sky’s the limit”