NOLUM sends message to province 'We are a united voice'Friday, October 04, 2013 by: Kate Adams‘We are united’ on issues affecting northern Ontario is the message the Northern Ontario Large Urban Mayors (NOLUM) sent to the province and the feds Thursday, following one of their regularly scheduled meetings hosted in North Bay.
The five mayors representing North Bay, Sault St. Marie, Sudbury, Thunder Bay and Timmins visited a myriad of issues that continue to plague northern prosperity including the Northern Growth Plan, ONTC, job creation and the Ontario Municipal Partnership Fund (OMPF).
Mayor Al McDonald says there is concern that the province will continue to download costs that municipalities as they witness OMPF dollars shrink.
He says the mayors will now push forward to secure a meeting with the ministers that have a direct effect on the north to talk about implementing NOLUM’s top priorities.
"We want to see changes that will make northern Ontario competative in the global workforce," states McDonald.
"So We're continuing to fight along those lines, we are also looking at OMPF funding where all the municipalities are getting cut back by the province."
Timmins Mayor Tom Laughren says he is concerned that if they don’t push the government hard now on the ONTC and other issues the Northern Growth Plan will be nothing more than a dust collector.
"Transportation is huge and I mean rail transportation specifically," says Laughren.
"I think when you look at why the ONTC was created to start, when you think about opportunities and possibilities that are out there that's definitely why we have fought so hard and I think we have come to a point where at least we have government listening and now we need to take advantage of that for sure."
Sault Ste. Marie Mayor Debbie Amaroso agrees, she says if something is not done soon to implement the Growth Plan they will be very dark days ahead for the north.
"What we are saying is that the provincial government penned a document, it's a 25 year planning document and we have all embraced that document, what we're saying now is let's put it into action," says Amaroso of the Northern Growth Plan.
"Let's have five economic cups that are identified in that paper, which are the five of us here today, being designated as that and let us start to go out and be able to do that development that's so important to all of our hubs. All of our regional hubs."