Tbnewswatch Local News
2014-05-28 at 1:07PM

Event centre light?

By Jamie Smith, tbnewswatch.com

THUNDER BAY -- There could be some big changes in the design of the city's proposed event centre before its complete.

In Phase two, the design included a parking structure, a new pedestrian walkway, a "green" roof and incorporated the city's north core transit terminal. But city facilities manager Michael Smith said while the design isn't final, as of early April those features have been removed.

"There hasn't been any decision at this point and time," he said. "They're just things that we're looking at."

While the projected cost of the centre has dropped by $6 million since the federal government said its Building Canada fund would only apply to projects under $100 million, Smith said removing the features is more about due diligence than cost.

"We want to make sure we're not making cuts just to make a project fit to a particular funding source. We want to make sure we're doing what's best for the project," he said.

"We want to build what we feel is reasonable and required for the facility."

Removing the green roof, which would have included a patio, frees up more convention space while also cutting costs for a feature that would have been expensive to maintain and only usable for a few months out of the year.

"They're actually good changes for us," he said.

Incorporating the bus terminal has been difficult to do as it would need around 10 transit bays. Smith said what to do with the current Water Street terminal is still being determined but replacing that, no matter where that is or what it looks like, has always been part of the project cost.

The same goes for the transformer station replacement, which has already been included at around $2 million in past estimates.

As for the $3 million for a new pedestrian bridge, that number also included demolishing the current one that goes over Water Street. There is the potential to renovate the existing walkway instead Smith said.

Council will be presented with the design next month. A guaranteed maximum price, which Smith said would top out at $100 million, is expected in July.




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