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THUNDER BAY -- A consultant for the city’s proposed event centre says he understands the multimillion-dollar confusion surrounding the cost of the controversial $106.1-million facility.
A group of opponents of the most recent report, which favored a north core location, say the cost to construct the 5,700-seat facility will be in the $149-million range.
Consultant Ron Bidulka said the cost to build the actual facility will be $106.1 million.
“If you went out tomorrow and said ‘build this building’ you would cut a cheque for $106 million,” Bidulka said. “The $148 million is what’s termed as direct and indirect economic impact of building this building. The direct impact is the $106 million.
"The indirect impact measures the circulation of spending throughout the economy that arises from that $106 million investment. The project doesn't spend the other $38 million - this is the additional benefit the economy gets."
He gave the example of a steel company who receives an order to provide materials but needs to upgrade its equipment. For every dollar that’s circulated within the economy that investment will create more spending within the economy.
Bidulka said the $106 million goes towards paying for everything in the centre from the scoreboards to the concrete. The additional $48 million is from the economic impact of the additional investment.
“What we’ve said is part of this money gets spent in non-residential construction, part of this money gets spent architectural and engineering services, part of this money gets spent on food and beverage and part of this money gets spent on other elements,” he said.
“We’ve divided this $106 million into those various components, we applied the multipliers that Statics Canada tell us and that’s how we get the additional $40 odd million of the indirect impact.”
Ray Smith, chair of the Concerned Taxpayers Group, disagrees with Bidulka and said the city will be paying $150 million to build the facility.
Smith, who is in favor of the Innova Park location, said the city has an agenda to have the event centre in the north core and the consultants are following suit.
“It wouldn’t surprise me if this was jammed into downtown Port Arthur that we’d be looking at a quarter of a billion dollars,” Smith said.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s where we end up. We all know it’s going to cost more down there.”
Smith said now that the” true cost” of the event centre has been revealed the matter of location should be put to a vote.
He said the consultants have been pushing the price on Innova Park to make it appear as if it is just as expensive as the north core location.
He added that online polls conducted on tbnewswatch.com show a majority of people want Innova Park.
But a look at several past tbnewswatch.com polls show that support for either Innova Park or the north core location is fairly close and the preferred location changes from poll to poll. Below are some of those results:
Oct. 25, 2012: Do you believe placing an Events Centre in the north core, rather than Innova Park, will result in greater economic benefits for the city? Yes, 335; No, 340, Don't know, 23
Oct. 22, 2012: Consultants have recommended a downtown waterfront location for the new events centre. Do you support the choice? Yes, 309; No, 278; Don't know, 15
March 2012: What option would you support for a new city events centre? Downtown, 172; Innova Park, 216; Airport, 24; Do not build, 117
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