Swanson, Bunty #131 *

Honoured by the Swanson family.

When the North Bay Chamber of Commerce mentioned the Waterfront development in 1981, it was an annual community project proposal. This proposal was first made by Bruce Goulet over twenty years previously.

When it came up again, the reaction of several members of the City Administration was that it could not be done and would never happen. Bunty Swanson was the Chair of a citizens’ Waterfront Committee which had been formed under the auspices of the Chamber that year. To her this was obviously the WRONG thing to say! Like a red flag to a bull, Bunty took exception to this attitude and decided that yes, indeed, there WAS going to be a developed waterfront!!The Committee asked the combined forces of the Brownies, Guides and Boy Scouts in North Bay to come to the waterfront area leased by the Chamber one Saturday and join in a clean-up of brush and garbage… it was very successful. Next, the Committee approached the City and the Fire Department to oversee a fireworks display on the waterfront for the 24th of May. It was a huge event and citizens started to demand the development of “their” beach.

The Committee, backed by the Chamber of Commerce, applied for a Federal grant to do more clean-up and restoration of the dock area, which was a Federal jurisdiction. The money had to be used to hire Northern Ontario unemployed miners and loggers. This was carried out and the work gang was supervised by the Chamber and the Committee. Wages were paid through the grant and other funds were raised from the community of North Bay.

By now, the public and the private interests were onside and a City Committee for Waterfront Development was formed. Provincial and Federal monies were also by chance available only for a short window of time. Bunty was the Chamber rep to this group.
If it had not been for the efforts of Bunty and her initial Chamber of Commerce group, there would have been only the Bruce Goulet Dream, instead of the present Goulet Golden Mile which forms part of our lovely Waterfront Development.

Bunty has also been active in other Community areas.

She has served on the executives of the Catholic Women’s League of the Pro-Cathedral, the Parish Council, the Gateway Theatre Guild, QUONTA Regional  Drama, Canadian University Women of North Bay.

As a public representative she worked on Parks Creek Flood Management (Conservation Authority), Waterfront underpass, North Bay Escarpment Review, the North Bay Discovery Centre (Museum), Nipissing College and later University Board, The Nip U Animal Care Committee, the Canadore Environmental Conferences.

In later years, she worked with the Stephen Lewis Organization to start a Grandmother to Grandmother chapter in North Bay. She is also a member of Greenspace North Bay.

Bunty, a retired teacher, is married to Roy and has happily raised four daughters in the Bay.