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Upcoming Events

Date: February 21, 2019 4:30 pm

Business After Hours

Hosted by: Grant Thornton, Suite 400, 222 McIntyre Street West, North Bay
Co-hosted by: The Business Centre of Nipissing Parry Sound
Thursday, February 21, 2019, from 4:30 pm to 7:00 pm.

Date: February 23, 2019

Wasi Cross Country Ski Club - event 6

Ski Backwards Weekend – Saturday, February 23 and Sunday, February 24, 2019

For more information – www.wasiski.com

Date: February 23, 2019 10:00 am

Winter Farmers' Market

Every Saturday at the North Bay Mall from 10 am to 2 pm.

www.northbayfarmersmarket.com

Date: February 24, 2019 2:30 pm

NB Symphony – Presto Mambo

Featuring actors and puppets from Platypus Theatre plus a live symphony orchestra, you’ll enjoy a lively musical story about a boy named Max who goes on a whirlwind adventure that takes him from the concert hall to the vibrant lands of Latin American culture.  With the help of his new friend M…

Featuring actors and puppets from Platypus Theatre plus a live symphony orchestra, you’ll enjoy a lively musical story about a boy named Max who goes on a whirlwind adventure that takes him from the concert hall to the vibrant lands of Latin American culture.  With the help of his new friend Mambo the dog, the orchestra, and the audience, Max learns the magic of Latin rhythms and how to dance with the music.

Call the Capitol Centre Box Office today for tickets:  705.474.4747.

Adult: $43 / $28

Student (13+): $12, with I.D.

Child (12 & under): FREE with the purchase of an Adult or Student ticket

Date: February 27, 2019 6:00 pm

Appreciation Night at Laurentian Ski Hill

Chamber Members are invited to the appreciation night at Laurentian Ski Hill on Wedensday, February 27, 2019 from 6 pm to 9 pm. (this event was rescheduled from February 7 due to freezing rain)

Free lift tickets, if you’d like to ski or snowboard, courtesy of Canor, Deacon Wealth Man…

Chamber Members are invited to the appreciation night at Laurentian Ski Hill on Wedensday, February 27, 2019 from 6 pm to 9 pm. (this event was rescheduled from February 7 due to freezing rain)

Free lift tickets, if you’d like to ski or snowboard, courtesy of Canor, Deacon Wealth Management and TWG Communications.

You must RSVP to the Chamber for this event – 705-472-8480 or email patricia@nbdcc.ca

News

Canada’s chambers of commerce, representing 200,000 Canadian businesses, are coming together today to demonstrate support for Canada’s resources sectors. See why here #NationalDayofAction #MainStBusiness #regulatesmarter

Canada’s chambers of commerce are calling on the federal government to make immediate improvements to Canada’s broken regulatory system to ensure our resources get to international markets.

Bill-C 69 must be amended to bring certainty and predictability. If companies are prepared to respect the environment and community rights, according to the regulations, their projects must not be frivolously delayed.

Find out more about the Canadian Chamber’s submission to the Senate of Canada on Bill C-69 here http://www.chamber.ca/advocacy/submissions/ #regulatesmarter

It was certainly a relief to have this last weekend snow free and sunny with no major forecasts for more of the white stuff, over at least the next few days.  This year definitely ranks up there, as one of the heaviest snow accumulations in recent memory.  Hats off to our City crews including Roads, Water & Sewer, and all the other departments that have chipped in to keep our roads and sidewalks as clear as possible this year.  The downtown crew has been especially busy and have done a terrific job in trying to keep up.  It is not perfect, but not for lack of trying. 

The last month, weather wise, has been very trying on most residents of our Districts but throughout all the snow and cold, lots of warmth and community spirit have made it less harsh.  In the aftermath of the last dumping, it was reported by various media outlets that a number of students jumped into the proverbial snow bank and helped some of the neighbourhood residents, with a quick shovel of their driveway.  I was able to witness this random acts of kindness on my way back down Ski Club Road on Friday.  It was nice to see that sense of neighbourhood from the students at Widdifield, who took the initiative on Friday morning to help out.

It is a tremendous feeling to witness those tiny acts of kindness and we are fortunate to have so many individuals and groups in our district that rise up and help.  During the last couple of months with what seems like daily snow and cold, residents have gone out of their ways to help and assist others.  Whether it be a quick hand with a shovel, a push of a stuck vehicle or to help an elderly resident get to safe footing, the kindness is all around us.  This is what makes all our communities much better places and one of the major reasons that we reside here.

Last Saturday evening the Davedi Club held its annual “Order of Merit” evening and recognized several local individuals that have quietly and without fanfare, contributed greatly to our community.  These individuals Peter Moffat, Peter Handley, Louise Defonzo and Carmen Anello were recognized by the Davedi Club, for their individual service to so many worthwhile causes.  Whether organizing, fundraising, coaching or volunteering, these individuals are all worthy of the accolades given to them.  The Davedi Club and the Italian community are to be thanked as well for recognizing so many individuals with the annual event.  Congratulations to all the present and past inductees, everyone of them have made our community and this world a better place.

Peter Chirico is the President & CEO of the North Bay & District Chamber of Commerce.

City of North Bay received the Special Events Award of Excellence at the EDCO conference recently. The submission was for the “Experience North Bay, Investment and Awareness” at the World Women’s Curling Championships held March 2018 in North Bay.

Last week in a media release from the City of North Bay, it was announced that the Economic Developers Council of Ontario (EDCO) selected the City as the 2018 winner from more than ninety-six applications, for municipalities from 50,000 to 250,000 population. The Special Events Award for Excellence was awarded for the initiative between the City’s Economic Development Department, Invest North Bay Development Corporation, Tourism North Bay and the North Bay & District Chamber of Commerce together with Curling Canada and the support of various funding agencies. 

The award recognized the joint community marketing effort regarding “Experience North Bay, Investment and Awareness Events”, during 2018 Ford World Women’s Curling Championship, held last March in the City.  Although the award recognizes the above noted organizations, this award truly belongs to the citizens of North Bay including the organizing Committee of Rick Miller, Mark Brown and Dave Bennett.  The hundreds of volunteers that were mobilized for the event and the thousands of hours of efforts that were put into this event, have been once again recognized.

The opportunity to link world class sporting events and showcase the business community for the world to see, was just one of the many benefits our community received by hosting this event.  The entire district joined together to support this event and the positive energy that surrounded it, was terrific.  Many of the out of town visitors that attended, commented on the community spirit and support by the citizens and volunteers who made it a resounding success.  For any one who did not have the chance to view the winning video that was part of the submission to EDCO, check it out at  https://edac.ca/portfolio/experience-north-bay-tourism-commercial/.  It is worth the watch.

Utilizing our facilities and natural geography throughout our District as economic development tools for attraction, will be keys to success in the future.  The sports tourism exposure is one part, albeit an important part of the attraction piece in economic development.  Every individual that travels to North Bay and area, whether it be for an international, national or regional event, becomes an ambassador for our district.  The exposure through tourism to what we have to offer is invaluable and we need to continue to work with the organizations that bring these events and tourists to our area.  The momentum created last spring with the Ford World Women’s Curling Championships needs to continue and be duplicated, as it is obviously a winning formula.

Peter Chirico is the President & CEO of the North ay & District Chamber of Commerce

As we move into February and hopefully some more moderate weather, we should see things heat up in Council Chambers, as budget deliberations continue.  Council and staff will be working late hours to bring forward a budget that will have to address many of the outstanding projects that are on the radar.  Those will include Cassellholme, West Ferris Arena, and Kings Landing to mention a few of the big -ticket items.  These projects are just a few of many of the Capital infrastructure projects that are required to replace and upgrade our City.  The challenge no doubt will be to balance each one of these and bring forth a reasonable budget at the end of the process.

This year’s budget starting point at almost eight percent, as identified last month by the Budget Chief, has sparked substantial discussion at Council and in the coffee shops as to what will be an acceptable number for this year’s increase.  Service delivery and enhancements to operating budgets will be debated and prioritized, with an eventual number which the majority of Council, will agree on.  There will be substantial interest in the discussion surrounding use of surpluses and reserves to reduce the proposed increases and it is the writer’s hope, that Council does not go down that road.

The temptation of utilizing these sources of funds is always there, however the long-term consequences of this type of strategy is substantial and it is only a band aid for Councils who want to pass “popular” budgets.  The real questions come down to the basic level of services.  The Municipality, and it does not matter where they are located, are providers of serv ices.  From water and sewer, transit, arenas, snow plowing and many other Provincially mandated ancillary services, these are the items that make up the majority of what they do, day in and day out.  What level of service is acceptable for their residents and businesses, is the real issue and not necessarily a popular one.

Over the past few decades, both mandated municipal services together with the many “soft services” that have become part of our everyday life, have increased in cost and usually, the level of services have increased as well.  For many residents, these services are expected and as well, not never enough.  The discussions around these expected service levels are always difficult and if cuts are proposed, they are usually met with a flurry of public outcry and rationale, as to why they shouldn’t be axed.  Tough questions and solutions are going to be the order of the day and we will await whether these decisions will be popular or practical.

Peter Chirico is the President & CEO of the North Bay & District Chamber of Commerce.

The City of North Bay Budget process is underway with the water and sewer side of things almost completed during the last meeting.  There was much discussion amongst the Councillor’s as to the proper use of reserves and budget surpluses.  By the end of the meeting, a consensus was achieved however, it was not unanimous.  Differing opinions and discussion regarding these budgetary concerns is healthy and required to make proper decisions, as the budget process moves forward.  There is no doubt that these topics of discussion will not end with the wrap of the water and sewer budgets.

Late last week, Deputy Mayor Tanya Vrebosch announced the starting point for this year’s operating budget at just under eight percent, prior to any adjustments or cuts.  This will be where the subject of the reserves and surpluses will begin again.  It is not easy to put forth a budget at this starting point and will prove to be even more difficult to get it passed through Council over the next number of weeks.  The Deputy Mayor has indicated that one of the primary reasons for the increase, is due to the use of surpluses and reserves over the past term. 

The use of one-time funds to offset increasing budgetary spends, have only given the appearance of low tax increases for the past years, as detailed in her Nugget interview last Friday.  Funds utilized to offset present year expenditures have this nasty habit of compounding each year and only seem to become important or relevant when you try to wean off them. Past Council’s had been cautioned by the CFO as to the future effects of this type of support however, those warnings were not heeded.  It is a vicious circle and the writer is not a fan of these types of artificial props to our annual tax bill. 

It does catch up to us eventually and kudos to the Budget Chief for recognizing this must stop.  In saying that, the budget must go on and there are significant ask’s before Council in this 2019 budget process.  Funding requests from internal and external stakeholders represent a sizeable portion of the increase proposed but it also recognizes the utilization of one-time funds in the past.  As significant as the increase that has been proposed, the asks will need to be assessed and ranked with Council’s priorities for the upcoming term.  If the goal for the City is to expand its tax base and create employment, Council is going to have to make hard decisions regarding strategic investments, to accomplish the same.

Peter Chirico is the President & CEO of the North Bay & District Chamber of Commerce.

Photo by Laurel Campbell

Congratulations to Mayor Peter McIsaac, previous Councils, staff and board members from the Family Health team and the residents of our neighbour to the south, that being the Municipality of Powassan.  Together with local health professionals and private developer Santo Tomaselli, the Municipality hosted the grand opening on Friday, of their new 12,000 square feet health care facility on Main Street in Powassan.  Great example of how public and private partnerships together with strategic investment, can attract and maintain services for the betterment of the community.  The building in the downtown core certainly shows the confidence that the developer has in Powassan and the facility will serve the residents for many years to come.

With this type of strategic investment in mind, the request from Invest North Bay is timely and one that we should turn our collective minds to.  The request, as reported in most media outlets, was for the City of North Bay to provide funding of up to ten million dollars over the next four years to Invest North Bay.  The initiative is to provide attraction incentives for small to medium sized enterprises, to set up shop in North Bay and create jobs.  If we truly want to get serious about attracting new employment and assessment to our City, it is time, in this writer’s opinion, that our community provides support for this initiative.

If we, as a community, are serious about attracting new investment and creating employment, it is time to support this type of strategic investment in economic development.  Many efforts are underway to grow our economy and the City’s Economic Development Department has not had the tools to compete against many other communities that are providing those types of investments, to create economic growth.  With declining populations through out Northern Ontario, those strategic investments are key to ensure that the amenities that we enjoy as a community, are maintained in the future.  Without new assessment, employment opportunities and population growth, the reliance on the existing tax base will continue.  It is time to put some solid investments behind the City’s strategy to grow.  Nothing ventured, nothing gained.  

This past weekend on the community front, congratulations as well to the Canadore College Foundation, the Military Family Resource Centre and North Bay Regional Hospital Foundation for a successful curling tournament, held at the Granite Club.  The first annual “Hearts & Rocks” tournament was a huge success and this annual event named after local business and family man, Peter Minogue recognizing his commitment to our community for so many years.  Thank you to the Minogue family for hosting some of the best Canadian curlers…and the rest of us.  It was a fitting tribute to “P.K.” and he would have been proud to hear his son Brad, speak on behalf of his family.  Looking forward to the 2020 event. 

Peter Chirico is the President & CEO of the North Bay & District Chamber of Commerce.

With the return to what we might call “normal” winter weather last week, it has been good news for many in our district that have been eagerly awaiting the cooler weather and snow.  Snowmobilers, ice fishing enthusiasts and skiers have been awaiting the return to the winter conditions and our region has been luckier than some other communities, with ample snow and good ice conditions (safety first, make sure you check). Many of our local tourism operators are reporting good conditions and with the lack of snow in southern Ontario, we are hopeful that those good conditions will translate to increased visits to our region.

Tourism continues to be vital to our area and the Chamber is looking forward to working with all our partners that co-locate at our Main Street office, those being Discovery Routes Trail Organization, Tourism North Bay and Creative Industries North Bay.  The various entities housed at 205 Main Street East, all will play major roles in attracting and enhancing this very important sector.  We are looking forward to working with all our members and partners in 2019, to promote this City and district as a great place to visit, live, work and play. 

One of our greatest assets in the City of North Bay, especially during the winter months, is Laurentian Ski Hill.  On February 7 from 6 to 9 pm, everyone is invited to the hill for a good old fashioned, Northern Ontario, Hawaiian Party at the upper lodge.  Food, beverages ukulele sing-along with North Bay’s version of Don Ho (Rick Vezina), should warm up the evening for all.  Thanks to the event sponsors for the evening Deacon Wealth Management, TWG Communications and Canor.  All Chamber members will receive a free lift pass for the evening and welcome all, to attend.  Please go to our web site at www.nbdcc.ca for further details.

Budget deliberations for the City of North Bay are well under way and the new Council is getting off to a quick start given the election delays as well as the most recent changes in senior staff, as a result of the re-organization announced late in 2018.  The interim CAO, David Euler is no stranger to the municipal scene and will bring a well-balanced approach to leading the Council through this annual process with Margaret Karpenko, the City’s Chief Financial Officer.  The return of Ian Kilgour to the new role of Director-Community Development and Growth, as part of senior management team, will be a good fit.  Ian brings a great deal of experience from both the private sector and his many years with the City in various senior roles.  Mr. Kilgour will be able to hit the ground running and provide strong support for the CAO and the balance of the senior management team.

Peter Chirico is the President & CEO of the North Bay & District Chamber of Commerce.

RSVP to the Chamber office at 705.472.8480 or email Patti at patricia@nbdcc.ca so we can let the Ski Hill know numbers and how many need rentals.

This morning at Twiggs on McKeown, the Young Professionals committee of the North Bay & District Chamber of Commerce gathered to launch the Fifty Two Coffees initiative. 84 individuals under the age of 40 have signed up to meet one-on-one each week with a new individual. They can go for coffee, or do another activity together. Chair Bobby Ray got the idea a few years back and initiated this in the fall of 2018 to begin for 2019; this morning’s launch was their first week and now it is up to each individual to follow the schedule and plan the next 51 weeks with their “match”. The program provides different ideas of what to discuss and asks the participants to give a short synopsis of their meeting and post it on their social media with the #FiftyTwoCoffees

Participants in the #52Coffees program raise their cups for a group photo at the launch of the program Thursday morning. PJ Wilson/The Nugget