Thunder Bay City’s Council’s agenda for September 14th based on the available documentation has quite a few items that one imagines will have cost implications for Thunder Bay though the full documentation as of Saturday morning seems a bit light on the City website. The usual tomes of several hundred pages seem to be absent but perhaps they will be posted later. Nevertheless, from the very brief documents available, some of the issues: Traffic Signal Review, Boulevard Lake Cleanup & Dredging, Police Facility Needs Assessment Update, Solid Waste Management Strategy Update, Homemakers Program, and a Transit Service Update. There is even an eye on the future employment of our municipal councillors with a report on Municipal election readiness for 2022. However, the issue that will probably chew up the most time is this:
Permanent Thunder Bay Word Sign
Memorandum from Councillor S. Ch'ng dated August 18, 2020 containing a motion recommending the design and installation of a Permanent “Thunder Bay” Word Sign at the waterfront.
(Pages 74 – 75)
With respect to the memorandum from Councillor S. Ch’ng dated August 18, 2020, we recommend the design and installation of a Permanent “Thunder Bay” Word Sign at the waterfront;
AND THAT up to $100,000 of funding be approved through the City’s unallocated Municipal Accommodation Tax funds for the design and installation of the Permanent “Thunder Bay” Word Sign;
AND THAT any necessary by-laws be presented to City Council for ratification.
The Northwood councillor wants to design and build a sign,
similar to ones seen in cities around the world, including Toronto. This has
already received some local
media attention and of course many comments and a TBNewswatch
poll that suggests the idea is almost as popular as going ahead full bore with the
Turf Facility was.
Predictably, there has been a focus on the cost which at $100,000 has struck many as excessive but then our councillors will likely consider it a bargain given that replacing a similar sign in Toronto in front of their city hall with permanent new letters will cost $760,000. At $100,000, Thunder Bay’s sign will only cost $10,000 per letter while Toronto’s will come in at $108,571.43 per letter. Needless to say, our more mathematically inclined councillors will fall over themselves with long speeches on how much more efficient we are and the alphabetical value of money.
However, Thunder Bay likes to think big. Indeed, for $760,000, never mind a small piddly Toronto style sign – with that kind of money one could create a giant white letter Hollywood type sign on top of the Sleeping Giant in our harbour! Or perhaps, we could have a Mount Rushmore type set of carvings of all the members of our current City Council preserved forever in a pose of distant thoughtful gazes with a giant inscription below stating: “They came, they saw, they spent!” Truly, this will be another opportunity for all of us to think big and achieve Toronto style ambition at Thunder Bay prices.
If members of council are inclined towards frugality, I would suggest that the letters of the proposed Thunder Bay Sign be made from the creative intertwining of all the surplus copper piping and water connection lines that seems to dot the lawns in so many of our neighborhoods these days. Not only would this be very artistic and creative, but cost-effective and also an example of wise environmental stewardship as it involves a major effort at recycling. Advertising is all about messages and this would send the message that in Thunder Bay, we recycle more than ideas.