North Bay Mayor Peter Chirico is welcoming a number of initiatives in Thursday’s provincial budget.
He says at the top of the list is the commitment to bringing back the Northlander passenger train.
“That enshrined in the budget means it’s going to happen,” he says. “I think that is an important component of our community. Safety of transportation for the north is something that is key. It was promised and now it’s being delivered.”
Chirico says it’s going to provide growth opportunities for Ontario Northland which is very important for North Bay and the surrounding area.
He’s also welcoming investments in northern highways and other areas, like homelessness.
“We also are very pleased that they’re putting some dollars towards how we deal with homelessness and prevention of homelessness,” Chirico says. “I think there was somewhere close to $202 million for each of the next two years to support prevention programs. That is key. As well as an additional $400 million over the next three years to support mental health and addictions.”
Chirico also says everyone knows affordable housing is at a premium and he’s welcoming provincial investments into looking at the issue and what can be done to provide housing that is affordable.
While investments are being made into electrification elsewhere in the province, Chirioc says we can expect ancillary benefits here.
“65 mining manufacturing companies are home here in North Bay and they’re gearing up for what’s going to happen over the next two, five, ten years,” Chirico says. “Indirect benefit, we will see a lot of it here in North Bay.”
Another positive, according to the mayor, is that balanced budgets are being forecast down the road.