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.