^ That's right - take that Thunder Bay!
Here are a couple of development related articles from the Timmins Daily Press that I came across.
Downtown receiving facelift
Chelsey Romain / The Daily Press
Local News - Friday, January 12, 2007 @ 10:00
The Timmins and South Porcupine downtown cores are in need of a facelift and city officials are looking to the public for input.
Next week public meetings will be held to help develop a streetscape plan, that would help revitalize both the Timmins and South Porcupine downtown areas, said city intermediate planner Andrea Griener.
"A streetscape plan brings a special or unique atmosphere to the community," said Griener. "It's more visual, with a common look and feel throughout the area."
During the meeting, participants will be asked to take a walk through downtown to make any observations about what a common theme should be for the areas, what kind of things create barriers for mobility and what items would help spruce up the area.
Typically, a streetscape plan covers everything from building facades, green spaces and outdoor furniture to parking, the width of streets and sidewalks.
"It's different people with different perspectives walking the downtown together," Griener. "They'll notice different things and point out unique features.
"It's a good learning tool."
Should the temperature drop too low next week, Griener said the walk may not take place, but said organizing the meeting in the winter will help decide what ideas will function all year long.
"The reality is we deal with snow most of the year," said Griener.
The streetscape plan comes after the city introduced the community improvement plans for both areas last year. The plans outline grants and loans to be available to business owners looking to give their business a facelift.
"We're not starting from scratch," said Griener, adding that there has been surveys and a project allowing high school students to give their ideas.
"A lot of those ideas have been pulled out."
To date only Sault Ste. Marie has begun its own revitalization project, while Griener said North Bay is four to five years ahead of the pack, with both a downtown and lakeside project completed.
The last time the Timmins downtown received a new look was 25 years ago, when the interlocking brick was laid in the streets and the lamp posts were erected.
"It's time things need to be re-assessed, the common feel is not there," said Griener.
"We've learned some things from the last project and it's time we go back and look at some ideas."
The public meeting for the Timmins downtown core will take place on Jan. 16 from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Timmins Public Library and in South Porcupine at the Maurice Londry Community Centre on Jan. 17 from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
The streetscape project is set to wrap up in March, but it could take up to six months for ideas to be implemented.
Northern cities question exclusion from provincial growth strategy
Scott Paradis / The Daily Press
Local News - Friday, January 12, 2007 @ 10:00
A provincial growth strategy doesn't include Northern Ontario, and a representative of a regional business advocacy group says he intends to find out why.
Steve Kidd, Northeastern Ontario Chamber of Commerce chairman, wrote a letter to the provincial government about its Places to Grow Act, which outlines a growth strategy to urban southern Ontario cities.
"They're identifying areas where they want to put some energy for growth," Kidd said. "We feel Northern Ontario should be identified as a growth area."
A sluggish forestry sector has stalled growth in a number of Northern communities. Bad forestry-related news has also caused a number of cities and towns to shrink.
That doesn't mean growth is non-existent in the North, Kidd said.
"We feel Northern Ontario should be identified as a growth area," he said. "There's enough energy from the mining sector ... and we have a lot to offer."
Kidd said he's disappointed that Ontario didn't considered any of the five major Northern centres- Timmins, Sudbury, North Bay, Sault Ste. Marie and Thunder Bay.
The province, however, isn't excluding the North from being classified as a "growth area," said Amy Tang, spokeswoman for the Ministry of Public Infrastructure and Renewal.
She said the area selected for the "province's first ever growth plan," was the Greater Golden Horseshoe because it will likely see "phenomenal" growth in the coming years.
The act is not meant to suggest that the government doesn't recognize Northern areas as growing. Instead, it addresses the massive growth facing one particular region, she said.
Ministry statistics show the Greater Golden Horseshoe may house an additional four million people over the next 30 years. The Greater Golden Horseshoe area includes cities such as Windsor, Barrie, Niagara Falls and Hamilton.
"The Greater Golden Horseshoe has been selected as the first region for a (provincial) growth plan," Tang said. "It doesn't mean it will be the last."
Kidd said he sent his concerns to the provincial government in the form of a letter in mid-December.
So far, he said he hasn't heard a response.
That letter was sent to John Gerretsen, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, but representatives from that ministry said it wasn't responsible for the Places to Grow Act.
The letter may have been forwarded to the Ministry of Public Infrastructure and Renewal, but that couldn't be confirmed by press time.
Kidd said he plans to get other Northern-based groups involved in lobbying the government to provide parts of the North with its own growth plan.