Mayor gives first official address of 2013Friday, January 11, 2013 by: Jamie LyleMayor Al McDonald gave an impassioned official address to city council members and North Bay Citizens during the first city council meeting of 2013.
His Excellency took the time that evening to address the community and council on the past year’s successes and challenges and outlined some of the changes and directions he and his council are taking in the new year.
“We live in challenging times,” the Mayor said, “one just has to look around to see countries with financial challenges, civil wars and the global economy working thru a five year recession, the financial crisis in Europe, the stagnant US economy and the slowdown in both China and India.”
McDonald continued, saying that here in Canada, the strong dollar, the extremely high price of gas, high energy costs, the downturn in mining exploration, the provincial deficit and the announcement of the ONTC divestment were also factors that influenced the local economy.
“We not immune to these outside forces,” he said, “we are working diligently to weather these storms and we have to accept these challenges head on with a steady hand.”
Focusing on opportunities for the city of North Bay, McDonald said that there are many positive influences at work which will help it regain its momentum.
Economic growth and development, job creation, building a healthy community and maintaining fiscal responsibility were all cited as top priorities for council in the upcoming year.
“We must have a plan and be positioned for success,” said McDonald.
With regards to the divestment of the ONTC, the city is continuing to support the Port Authority proposal.
In regards to the mining sector, McDonald says council is trying to support its mining partners in any way they can.
“The challenges are global in nature and there is no local fix,” he said, adding, “our manufacturing firms are very capable of dealing with the normal business cycles associated with their sector’s customer base.”
With respect to the manufacturing sector, MacDonald said there are four areas that the city are able to assist them with; accessing the capital that they need to invest in new equipment and process technologies, retraining existing employees and training new hires, discovering new geographic markets with diversified customer bases and monitoring the available industrial space for lease to help accommodate expansion requirements for local firms, as well as those new to the community.
The Mayor also spoke of other strong points in the city including the airport, the technology center and the film industry that saw their business employ numerous people in the past year.
Highlighting details with regards to the City’s infrastructure, the mayor detailed the large challenges in keeping it up to standards while developing at the same time.
Focusing on the financial aspects, the Mayor showed off the City's Aa1 Moody’s rating, attained by a stable outlook and prudent fiscal planning.
Concluding, the Mayor looked to the future, suggesting we should have every confidence in North Bay, saying he is proud of its council and citizens and looks forward to working together to seize every opportunity.
“This plan will focus on what is important for the continued success of our City,” McDonald said.
‘We must be seen as a vibrant international city and destination not only to visit but to attract business industry, job opportunities and skilled trades.”