NORTH BAY -- North Bay is honouring one of its longest-serving politicians by re-naming a street after him.

Airport Way, a small strip of road that leads to the Jack Garland Airport, will be soon be re-named Bob Wood Drive after the 16-year political veteran. Wood was a Liberal MP for the riding of Nipissing.

"It means the heck of a lot to me,” said Wood. “When I first heard about it, it brought tears to my eyes."

Wood was a radio announcer and was also deployed in the Royal Canadian Air Force before entering politics. He served on city council before being elected to federal office in 1988.

Wood served as the Nipissing MP until 2004 and was Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veteran Affairs.

"He's been out of the limelight for 10 years and sometimes you almost feel forgotten,” said North Bay Coun. Chris Mayne. “For Bob, it's been a real pleasure to be remembered and appreciated."

Unanimous vote

Council unanimously voted to re-name the road after him. The entire project will cost under $5,000 to install the signs and maintain them.

"Compared to a lot of the bigger issues, it's a nominal amount,” said Mayne. “Signs in the city are often replaced on an ongoing basis anyway."

The idea to re-name the road came from Wood's friends, Mike Brophy and former Ontario Premier Mike Harris. The two brought the idea forward to the airport’s board, which agreed, and then it went to council.

“We both worked very well together and I thought he was a good MP,” said Harris. “Once elections are over, we each represented the same people and he understood that and I understood that.”

As an MP, Wood is remembered for his influence to keep the Canadian Forces Base in North Bay.

There were ideas of relocating the base to Winnipeg. But Wood's advocacy started a campaign known as 'Save The Airbase.'

“They were always a part of our community and I thought losing that part would be awful,” he said. “It would have been terrible."

Wood appealed to then Prime Minister Jean Chrétien. He said if the base was moved, he would resign from the Liberal Party and serve as an Independent.

“When Bob really believes in something, he's like a dog with a bone and he wasn't going to give up," said his wife, Carol Wood.