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Three south-side candidates agree Neebing wind farm a bad idea

Three candidates for Thunder Bay – Atikokan have agreed that the Big Thunder Wind Park is a bad idea.

Liberal candidate Bill Mauro restated his position that the proposed wind farm on the Nor’Western mountainside wasn’t a good idea. He said his party was the only one to have a position on the issue and urged Progressive Conservative candidate Fred Gilbert and NDP candidate Mary Kozorys to take a stand.

“I have very publically opposed the issue of wind farms,” Mauro said. “Since it came to provincial purview after they finished with the city I have very publically declared my opposition to the it. In a letter that we got very recently from the Minister of Natural Resources showed that the company had not filed an application and did not apply. Short of that, our response is as definitive as it can be.”

Kozorys voiced her opposition to the project and said they shouldn’t even be having the discussion in the first place.

Gilbert echoed her statement, declared his opposition, and said the amount of power produced by both wind turbines is not sustainable and is in the wrong location.

That was one of the topics brought up at the Thunder Bay – Atikokan debate held at the Thunder Bay Community Auditorium on Monday.

The three candidates seated themselves on the stage to a crowd of about 60 people. Green Party candidate Jonathan Milnes was the only candidate not present at the debate.

A panel made up of local media dished out various questions to the candidates from education to healthcare while Colin Bruce, general manager of the Chronicle Journal, mediated.

The candidates also took questions from the audience but when the discussion turned to the Local Health Integration Network, the civil debate heated up.

Both NDP and PC candidates said they would replace the LHIN as it was with something different.

Kozorys said she wanted to have elected local representatives on the LHIN instead of appointed positions.

“I’m looking at a model that is like at a school board,” she said. “It would be that people could sit on your local LHIN who are not political appointments.”

Gilbert said millions of dollars have gone through the LHINs that could have been better spent elsewhere. But the main issue Gilbert wanted to address was that all decisions came from southern Ontario.

“The whole idea of the LHINs was to remove that decision from southern Ontario and giving power to the regions,” he said. “The bottom line is they have not been effective.”

Mauro said the LHINs were something people were asking for and already represent local communities.

The candidates were able to find common ground on other topics. During the rapid round, some of the topics all candidates agreed were that there should be a Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs office in Thunder Bay and there should be two separate school boards.

The candidates also agreed that their party would put funding toward reopening Big Thunder Sports Park.

The Thunder Bay – Superior North debate will be held on Sept. 27 at 7 p.m. also at the Thunder Bay Community Auditorium.