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Thunder Bay Residents Fight Back with a $350 Million Lawsuit

Thunder Bay Residents Fight Back with a $350 Million Lawsuit

By Livio Di Matteo

THUNDER BAY, ONTARIO ~~~~~~  November 29, 2020 (LSN)  After months of silence on the part of their municipal government, residents of Thunder Bay affected by the leaky pipe pandemic have finally decided to launch a $350 million lawsuit against the City of Thunder Bay and have retained the services of a Toronto law firm that specializes in class action lawsuits.  Needless to say, this probably could have been avoided if the City of Thunder Bay had made some effort to acknowledge the financial hardship and inconvenience of affected property owners by rendering them some assistance.   Yet, on the advice of the City of Thunder Bay’s legal advisors, they chose to do nothing.  The result? When you have lawyers on one side telling you to do nothing, the best solution is to get a bigger lawyer.

In the end, I think a key issue here will not even be the addition of sodiumydroxide to the water per se as a lead control option but why sodium hydroxide was used rather than orthophosphate given so many other cities in Ontario use orthophosphate.  Another key issue is that after problems emerged, the city of Thunder Bay took so long to acknowledge there was even an issue and stopped adding the chemical to the water and followed up by rendering no assistance – doing and saying absolutely nothing aside from filling City coffers with additional water use and water shutoff revenues. A case in point, a pinhole leak problem became apparent in Folsom, California this summer and that city hired a consulting firm and by the fall proposed a solution.  Meanwhile, after nearly a year of leaks, Thunder Bay won’t even speak to the problems. And, this lawsuit probably does not deal with any potential health effects – physical or mental – that the addition of sodium hydroxide may cause.

The silence of the councilors on this issue is appalling given they are our elected representatives.  They remain silent because they have been advised to do so by the City of Thunder Bay’s lawyers?  Really?  They are not the board of directors of a private business – they are elected by the people to represent their constituents.  What are they thinking?  During the current pandemic do provincial premiers or the Prime Minister not publicly acknowledge the loss of life or hardship people are facing as individuals or residents of long-term care homes?  What kind of elected representatives hide behind their publicly tax funded lawyers during a time of crisis and then proceed to debate fireworks restrictions, new tourism signs, or new construction projects?  Are they inspired by popular perceptions of the legacy of Marie Antoinette?

The scale of the problem is evident from the number of people who have registered on the Leaky Pipe Club Facebook page.  Moreover, the problem is not over yet and will likely continue over the winter and into the spring.  The problem is city wide as Figure 1 (data from Thunder Bay Leaky Pipe Club poll) shows with higher incidence in the Northwood, Red River Wards and McIntyre Wards. Approximately one-third of reports are from the Northwood ward followed by 21 percent in Red River and 18 percent in McIntyre.  Of course, given the vintage of many homes in these neighborhoods, the local chatter has mentioned that it is homes from the 1970s that are to blame.  However, a reason so many homes from the 1970s have been affected is that there are so many of them in Thunder Bay.  As much as one-third of Thunder Bay’s current housing stock was built in the 1970s – particularly in the area of multi-unit dwellings like apartments.  Indeed, the $350,000 pin hole leak lawsuit filed by St. Joseph's Care Group for the PR Cook Apartments is probably the tip of the iceberg for apartments.  The other older neighborhoods all have more lead pipes - ironically, the people the sodium hydroxide was to help through lead effect mitigation.

 

 

Given the City is planning to spend over $40 million on a soccerplex and is considering a new $50 million police station, they obviously are not short of financial resources with which to provide help.  Homeowners in Thunder Bay are not only facing the prospect of catastrophic damage and the expenses for repairs, but home insurance rates will skyrocket across the city.  How is a city that is trying to attract investors reconcile a city with this infrastructure chaos as a “good place to set up business?” Obviously, the City of Thunder Bay thinks a $350 million lawsuit is fine but added onto the $375 million class action lawsuit from the 2012 flooding, one wonders what they are thinking?  Are the councilors throwing up their hands and somehow hoping the City can declare bankruptcy or the province appoints an administrator to bail them out? Is it time for the province to take over and defund Thunder Bay City Council?

By: Livio Di Matteo  Updated November 26th.

Photos from the The Thunder Bay Leaky Pipe Club Facebook Page 

#LSN_TBay  #LSN_ONNews 

My photo

 

 
The Northern Economist blog started on Shaw Webspace as commentary and analysis of economic issues and policy from a Northern Ontario perspective by Livio Di Matteo, Professor of Economics at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada. It had regular posts from November 2010 to February 2012. Posts continued on Northern Economist 2.0 until 2013 when I took an extended break. Occasional posts resumed effective December 2016. With Shaw terminating its blog space functions, I have archived the old posts at: northerneconomistarchive.blogspot.ca.

 

 

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WISCONSIN’S 2020 ELK HUNTING SEASON ENDS ON HIGH NOTE

Robert McKenzie 0 172 Article rating: No rating

MADISON, WISCONSIN ~~~~~~  January 26, 2021  (LSN) The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) today announced that the five Wisconsin elk hunters filled their tags during Wisconsin’s third managed elk season. The 2020 season marked 25 years since the reintroduction and management of elk began in the state.

#LSN_Outdoors #LSN_CircleTour #LSN_ WiscNews

Reel Memories of the Lakehead

Robert McKenzie 0 282 Article rating: No rating

THUNDER BAY, ONTARIO ~~~~~~  January 23, 2021  (LSN)  Reel History of the Lakehead is a community engagement project that uses the art of filmmaking to engage seniors and educate others with the history of the Lakehead. Friends of the Finnish labour Temple has been awarded a grant from the Thunder Bay Foundation to create 20 short newsreels. This project is important because it will provide opportunities people to learn about news-worthy events from our shared past and bridge a generational divide while also creating an opportunity to train young filmmakers. Reel History uses videos about local history to permit seniors to share their knowledge with younger people in order to increase general historical knowledge while building bridges between generations and training a new generation of filmmakers.

#LSN_TBay #LSN_Arts 

 

WMH & CCHD Partner on Vaccination Clinic at LSSU

Robert McKenzie 0 725 Article rating: No rating

SAULT STE MARIE, MICHIGAN  ~~~~~ January 22, 2022  (LSN)  Regional partners came together to offer a community vaccination clinic on Friday, January 22. The vaccination clinic was successful in vaccinating 1,000 people in group Phase 1B (individuals 65 years of age and older). Community partners from War Memorial Hospital, Chippewa County Health Department, Bay Mill’s Health Center, LSSU, and Chippewa County Office of Emergency Services worked together to provide vaccines for the clinic.

#LSN_MiNews  #LSN_Health 

Chippewa County Health Department COVID-19 Vaccine Update

Allocated to War Memorial Hospital and CCHD will allow for additional clinics

Robert McKenzie 0 857 Article rating: No rating

CHIPPEWA COUNTY, MICHIGAN  ~~~~~~ January 20, 2021  (LSN)  – Chippewa County Health Department (CCHD) received notification that the amount of vaccine being allocated to War Memorial Hospital and CCHD will allow for additional clinic

#LSN_Health  #LSN_MiNews

US-Canada border closure extended to Feb. 21

Robert McKenzie 0 50432 Article rating: No rating

 

OTTAWA, ONTARIO WASHINGTON, DC  January 13, 2021  (LSN)  Canada’s borders to the United States will remain closed to non-essential travelers until at least Feb. 21 as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the extension of the restriction Tuesday. The current restrictions were set to expire Jan. 21,2021

#LSN_Circle Tour 

DNR pilot project clears the way for winter fishing access

boating access sites plowed this winter for ice fishing

Robert McKenzie 0 1004 Article rating: No rating

SAULT STE MARIE, MICHIGAN  ~~~~~~  January 10, 2021  (LSN)  The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has organized a pilot program to keep boating access sites plowed this winter at more than two dozen popular Upper Peninsula ice-fishing locations.
Various local partners have volunteered to assist the DNR with the program to help ensure that access to ice-fishing opportunities in the U.P. are available consistently during winter.

#LSN_MiNews  #LSN_Outdoors #LSN_CircleTour

TBSO Announces Virtual Second Half of Season 59.5

Robert McKenzie 0 1900 Article rating: No rating

THUNDER BAY,  ONTARIO  January 8, 2021  (LSN)  With the end of the holiday season and a new year in full swing, the TBSO will continue to offer small chamber performances to music lovers in its second half of the 2020/21 Season.

One of our goals is to provide a live concert experience, while another is to broaden the reach of our orchestra. This season has allowed us to discover new ways to reach out and connect with people and we will continue to do just that.

#LSN_TBay  #LSN_Arts 

VIRTUAL - BALD EAGLE WATCHING DAYS

Robert McKenzie 0 1890 Article rating: No rating

PRAIRIE DU SAC, WISCONSIN  ~~~~~~ January 7, 2021  (LSN)  Wisconsin’s longest-running bald eagle watching extravaganza is going virtual for 2021, with programming available throughout January and February. Due to the COVID-19 public health emergency, the Sauk Prairie area’s Bald Eagle Watching Days will be livestreamed. Bald eagle lovers will be able to see their favorite parts of this annual event from the comfort and safety of their own home during its 35th year.

#LSN_CircleTour #LSN_Outdoors #LSN_WiscNews

Chippewa County Health Department COVID-19 Vaccine Update

Robert McKenzie 0 1001 Article rating: No rating

CHIPPEWA COUNTY, MICHIGAN  ~~~~~~  January 7, 2021  (LSN)   Beginning January 11, 2021, the Chippewa County Health Department (CCHD) will vaccinate individuals in Phase 1B. However, CCHD does not have sufficient vaccine supply for all individuals in this group but is collaborating with War Memorial Hospital to supply the vaccine.

#LSN_MiNews

 

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Thunder Bay Northwestern Ontario Events

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  • Extending the Shutdown of Northern Ontario for 14 more days
    Extending the Shutdown of Northern Ontario for 14 more days

    Extending the Shutdown of Northern Ontario for 14 more days

    THUNDER BAY, ONTARIO  ~~~~~~  January 7, 2021  (LSN)  s COVID-19 cases continue to rise at an alarming rate throughout the province, the Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and other health experts, is extending certain measures to keep students, education staff, and residents of Northern Ontario safe. This includes extending in-person learning until January 25, 2021 for elementary school students in the 27 Southern Ontario public health unit regions and extending the shutdown in Northern Ontario for another 14 days, aligning with the shutdown period in Southern Ontario.

    #LSN_Sault Ste Marie #LSN_Thunder Bay #LSN_Health 

    Read more
11
  • Extending the Shutdown of Northern Ontario for 14 more days
    Extending the Shutdown of Northern Ontario for 14 more days

    Extending the Shutdown of Northern Ontario for 14 more days

    THUNDER BAY, ONTARIO  ~~~~~~  January 7, 2021  (LSN)  s COVID-19 cases continue to rise at an alarming rate throughout the province, the Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and other health experts, is extending certain measures to keep students, education staff, and residents of Northern Ontario safe. This includes extending in-person learning until January 25, 2021 for elementary school students in the 27 Southern Ontario public health unit regions and extending the shutdown in Northern Ontario for another 14 days, aligning with the shutdown period in Southern Ontario.

    #LSN_Sault Ste Marie #LSN_Thunder Bay #LSN_Health 

    Read more
12
  • Extending the Shutdown of Northern Ontario for 14 more days
    Extending the Shutdown of Northern Ontario for 14 more days

    Extending the Shutdown of Northern Ontario for 14 more days

    THUNDER BAY, ONTARIO  ~~~~~~  January 7, 2021  (LSN)  s COVID-19 cases continue to rise at an alarming rate throughout the province, the Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and other health experts, is extending certain measures to keep students, education staff, and residents of Northern Ontario safe. This includes extending in-person learning until January 25, 2021 for elementary school students in the 27 Southern Ontario public health unit regions and extending the shutdown in Northern Ontario for another 14 days, aligning with the shutdown period in Southern Ontario.

    #LSN_Sault Ste Marie #LSN_Thunder Bay #LSN_Health 

    Read more
13
  • Extending the Shutdown of Northern Ontario for 14 more days
    Extending the Shutdown of Northern Ontario for 14 more days

    Extending the Shutdown of Northern Ontario for 14 more days

    THUNDER BAY, ONTARIO  ~~~~~~  January 7, 2021  (LSN)  s COVID-19 cases continue to rise at an alarming rate throughout the province, the Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and other health experts, is extending certain measures to keep students, education staff, and residents of Northern Ontario safe. This includes extending in-person learning until January 25, 2021 for elementary school students in the 27 Southern Ontario public health unit regions and extending the shutdown in Northern Ontario for another 14 days, aligning with the shutdown period in Southern Ontario.

    #LSN_Sault Ste Marie #LSN_Thunder Bay #LSN_Health 

    Read more
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  • Extending the Shutdown of Northern Ontario for 14 more days
    Extending the Shutdown of Northern Ontario for 14 more days

    Extending the Shutdown of Northern Ontario for 14 more days

    THUNDER BAY, ONTARIO  ~~~~~~  January 7, 2021  (LSN)  s COVID-19 cases continue to rise at an alarming rate throughout the province, the Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and other health experts, is extending certain measures to keep students, education staff, and residents of Northern Ontario safe. This includes extending in-person learning until January 25, 2021 for elementary school students in the 27 Southern Ontario public health unit regions and extending the shutdown in Northern Ontario for another 14 days, aligning with the shutdown period in Southern Ontario.

    #LSN_Sault Ste Marie #LSN_Thunder Bay #LSN_Health 

    Read more
  • 2nd lockdown for 28 days
    2nd lockdown for 28 days

    2nd lockdown for 28 days

    TORONTO, ONTARIO  ~~~~~~  January 12, 2021  (LSN)  “Under this order, everyone must stay home and only go out for essential trips to pick up groceries, or go to medical appointments,” Ford said, adding that walking pets or going for walks is still permitted.

    #LSN_ONNews

    Read more
  • U.S./Canada border closure extended until January 21
    U.S./Canada border closure extended until January 21

    U.S./Canada border closure extended until January 21

    THUNDER BAY, SAULT STE MARIE,  ONTARIO  ~~~~~  December 19, 2020 (LSN)  U.S. and Canadian officials extended the border closure to non-essential travel until January 21, 2021. 

    Bill Blair, Canada’s minister of public safety, announced the extension in a December 11 tweet, along with Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau. Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf also announced the extension in a tweet the same day.

    #LSN_TBay  #LSN_SSM  #LSN_CircleTour  #LSN_PublicSafety 

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