City councillors heard the opinions of environmental, business and development groups on Thunder Bay’s official plan Monday night. The city is reviewing the document that outlines what can be built, where.

Speaker Dan Morrison said he wants the green space behind the former Lakehead Psychiatric Hospital preserved.

Although the city doesn't own the property, he said he wants to make sure the updated official plan protects the land.

Birthday letters and breakfast programs

Rounding out other business dealt with at City Hall last night:

  • If you own a building celebrating a 75th, 100th or 125th birthday this year, expect a letter of congratulations from the Mayor. Councillors voted to send letters to property owners on behalf of the heritage advisory committee Monday night.
  • Council also voted to change the zoning to build a new parking lot at Woodcrest School.
  • And approval was granted for a hockey breakfast program to take place at the Fort William Gardens.

Morrison said the area is zoned open space, but that doesn't mean something couldn't get built there.

He wants the city to create a new designation to permanently protect parks to keep their "natural setting ... untouched qualities … that would ensure the walking trails that we use, or portions of our parks within the urban area to be maintained."

While city councillors agreed that green space needs special attention, developers said there aren't enough building lots in the city.

Councillor Brian McKinnon said two separate home builders have complained to him.

"They said there won't be any lots left to develop," McKinnon said. "There won't be any areas left to develop. Now, is that being a bit alarmist?"

Councillors will continue to get monthly updates on the offical plan, until it is completed in about a year.

In the meantime, councillor Andrew Foulds said he wants to make sure young people are consulted.

He said they need to have their voices heard, as the plan will make a big impact on them.

City administration said it hopes to consult with students at Lakehead University, and at area high schools.

"If it takes another 12, 13 years to do this again, we are really talking about building this city for our young people," Foulds said.


Thunder Bay Official Plan