Downtown North Bay!  Since the move from Seymour Street and the highway to our new location in the downtown core, lots of discussion has been centered on the rejuvenation of the downtown core and the waterfront.  These are not new topics by any means and it is important to note that particular point.  The new discussions which will be on going, will enhance the visions that have taken place over the past 40 + years.

If it had not been for a group of like minded persons and community leaders 40 some odd years ago, we would not have the spectacular waterfront and development that we enjoy daily here in North Bay.  When we look at the Goulet Golden Mile, the Heritage Museum, the Chief Commanda 1 & 2, the Heritage Gardens, Heritage Train and Carousels, Kate Pace Way, Marina and all of the amenities including the connecting link to the downtown core, we have one of the most beautiful waterfronts in Ontario.  Right next to our downtown core.

On Tuesday night at Council, Shawn Chorney and Sohail Rouhani, on behalf of a newly formed group Downtown Inc., made a presentation to Council.  Downtown Inc. has morphed as a sub group, from Invest North Bay.  It is comprised of many different committed stakeholders in the downtown including DIA, retailers, developers, business owners and Councillors.  The common thread that joins these persons/groups is their passion and commitment for the revitalization of downtown.

It is important that we embrace the ever-changing landscape of our City and in this case, the downtown and waterfront.  The opportunities that are in front of us, are not new but certainly relative to the past discussions that have shaped what we see today.  If persons such as Bruce Goulet, Stan Lawlor, Hariett Madigan, Dr. Rod Johnson to name a few, had not provided the idea, the vision, and the leadership, our City would not have the look that exists today.

It is important that Downtown Inc. has the support of our Council and citizens as they begin their work.  We are all aware of the fiscal challenges that must be considered when recommendations are put forth.  The Downtown Waterfront Master plan is a multi-faceted and multi-year if not decades, plan which provides a vision or concept for the future of our City.

We need all partners and stakeholders in the process to work together and co-operate with a common goal-revitalization of our downtown core and continued growth of the Waterfront.  The Chamber wants to thank all the individuals who have stepped forward to shape our future.

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