Tbnewswatch Local News
Tuesday July 7 2015
4:56 AM EDT
2014-01-23 at 13:51

City could borrow $8 million for Golf Links Phase 2

By tbnewswatch.com

The City of Thunder Bay is looking at borrowing more than $8 million to complete the next phase of the four-laning of the Golf Links-Junot Avenue corridor.

The first phase, between Oliver Road and the Harbour Expressway, was completed last year at a cost of around $7 million. All of that money came from city reserve funds. 

Now, the city is looking at paying for Phase 2 between Oliver Road and John Street. 

The first option is borrowing $8.2 million through a debenture. 

The second option is a $5.2-million debenture, and taking $3 million from the Renew Thunder Bay reserve fund. 

City staff will recommend the first option at the city council meeting on Monday night. 

The four-laning project will be part of a larger discussion on the city's debt management strategy.

(Thunder Bay Television)

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Curious says:
Oh goodie! More debt, therefore higher taxes - as if we aren't taxed to death already. This city is a joke. We have a bunch of "spend-a-holics" running our city. Maybe they all should take a course on money management. I guess when you are spending other peoples' money there is no limit.
What do they plan on doing when our city goes bankrupt!!!
1/26/2014 9:34:36 AM
sumo1 says:
This city only has it's self to blame for their infustructure problems. Almost every road that has been twinned in this city has started out as a single road. examples are Balmoral, James, Golflinks, Thunder bay expressway, John and River, I have probably left out a few. This city never has a vision for the future when it comes to road infustructure and it ends up costing the city many times more than it would have if they would have done it right the first time. Then again, if they built Golf links road wide enough the first time everybody would be complaining why did they build four lanes for we don't need it and what a waste of money. I rest my case.
1/24/2014 4:09:14 PM
fastball says:
You're not entirely wrong. TBay has a long and storied history of spending 8 dollars to do a 10 dollar job. Look at that Expressway extension - why in God's name wasn't that four-laned from the get-go?
While I'm not privy to all the financial machinations of the innermost runnings of a city - I'm assuming they get a potful of money from higher levels of government, and they find the best way to finish a project using the amount they were allocated. Same with the hospital - everyone said from the start that more beds were needed...but they only went as far as they had the cash for at the time.
The city has always expanded OUTWARDS - and what was a serviceable road for access to a fledgling subdivision is now inadequate for the people who moved out that way.
1/25/2014 9:59:25 AM
anvil of crom says:
The MOHLTC , ie the Province decided how big the hospital was to be NOT the city!
Infrastructure upgrades and maintenance like roads are needed, you cant ignore them, the city did ignore roads for a few years and boom now we have the common complaint of lot of POTHOLES..
a simple case of save money one day, spend double the next.
WHile I am not a fan of taxes, we have to pay them if we want a thing called a "city" , but on that note we all need to be gadflies to keep city admin in line.
1/25/2014 3:19:55 PM
fastball says:
Yes, absolutely...the city had really no say in the size of the hospital. But the point remains, that the scope of the project is determinant on the pot of money that you've got access. The Ontario government gave them 8 dollars...when they really needed ten.
And in NWOnt, potholes are an annual fact of life - largely dependent on the winter temperatures. The city could spend 10M dollars on fixing potholes this summer...and conceivably spend the same next year - all depending on the frost heaves.
1/25/2014 5:49:06 PM
need_to_know says:
Such negativity on here. Bottom line people we elect a council to make these decisions. They all believe they're doing the best for Thunder Bay. Things cost money. Taxes go up (hopefully not too quickly). If you want to really try and have a voice and you think you could do better then you really should run for political office.
1/24/2014 11:56:06 AM
BetterThunderBay says:
Roads are expensive. Making roads bigger is really expensive and makes them more expensive to maintain in the future. Making roads bigger that don't need to be bigger is not advisable. I'd like to back up a few steps and see the justification for this project using 2014 standards instead of 1980s ones. I'm not kidding, that's when the roads plan was made.
1/24/2014 9:44:21 AM
Slyder says:
A governments finances are nothing like household finances these "experts" seem to keep bringing up. It is completely unfair to lump large amounts of capital to current projects that will be inplace for long term users and residents of the City. Using debenture and debt to spread out the tax burden over time for all the users of the infrastructure, now and in the future is a very common practice and much fairer then expecting todays tax payer to pay for large projects that will be around for 60+ years. What is completely unfair is giving large tax breaks to the current population so future populations have to pay their share plus whatever amount todays miserly, greedy people, didn't want to shell out.

The only thing I think is really missing is a good reserve plan that takes shells away some dough now, for large capital projects in the future like the replacement of hughe expensive facilities like water treatment plants.
1/24/2014 9:36:59 AM
n00n says:
The fundamental problem with the 'wants vs needs' argument, is that the City has a polarized population of visionaries and conservatives that have very different 'lists' for their City.

I can handle the pot holes, raised taxes, and skinnier lanes (as we have had all 3 every year since I started paying taxes and it will NEVER change) to obtain a goal of having a beautiful, vibrant waterfront and downtown core.

As my third child was just born, I am proud of the direction of the City and like other beautiful cities, the citizens must 'pay to play'...I am fully prepared to do so. I am excited to show her and the rest of my children what a world class city can offer...
1/24/2014 9:36:10 AM
CM Punk says:

Me n My Opinion, maybe this will refresh your memory.
1/24/2014 9:10:05 AM
Me n My Opinion says:
I'm not sure what your point is. It says specifically that the cost overrun for snow costs are covered by the winter control reserve fund up to approx $2 million. If it's in excess of that, it will become part of the City's overall surplus or deficit. It sounds as though this year will be a deficit, but the last couple years have ended with surpluses. There's a reserve fund where the overall surpluses get "deposited" to in surplus years, and drawn from in years where the city as a whole runs a deficit. Either way, it's not coming from the reserve fund that has the Arena money in it.

People are asking for a plebiscite on the arena issue, and that scares me - any plebiscite does. It allows everyone, who have no understanding of even the basics of what's going on, a vote to shape our future. If everyone had to pass a test beforehand, then maybe. This isn't meant as an insult to anyone, but how can people make fully informed decisions. Emotional ones, yes, but not informed ones
1/24/2014 1:20:07 PM
Tannoy says:
Just raise taxes again, its happening anyways! Or use some of the money from sewer & water, that's the most profitable division in the city despite them telling us its not self sustainable! WHAT A JOKE!!!
1/24/2014 8:28:47 AM
p.o.ed taxpayer says:
Time for Council and the Administration to put their personal agenda and ambitions aside and deal with these fiscal issues in a more responsible manner. It apparently is time to look at replacing the Gardens, so why not try to get more people on board? Scale the project back to a more affordable plan. Get rid of the unnecessary event center and build a multiplex like other communities of similar size (30-50 million). Then this project would probably fit downtown and take a huge burden off the taxpayers. The conference center piece of the project if it is viable should be picked up by the business community or abandoned.
1/24/2014 8:07:45 AM
ring of fire dude says:
It's a good thing that the City is going to put a shelter in the basement of the Events Center , with my taxes going into this sink hole I will probably have to cut out food , hydro and water just to keep my home . Pretty pathetic , other once proud homeowners and myself will be the new anchor tenants at this rate while the BIA and everybody else who thinks we can afford this place live in their fantasy world .
1/23/2014 11:09:34 PM
nvjgu says:
Really , they have to borrow 8 million to finish a road and they want to build a rink. LOl.
1/23/2014 9:16:37 PM
Chaos says:
tbnewswatch please ask city representative:

1. what happened to $ province gave city for this project?

2. How much exactly is left in the "reserve fund" (I am certain it is well below 25 million?

3. Why is this project costing more that the 11 million originally quoted back in 2011 for the whole stretch? Now its like 19 million? What happened?


4. Why is there not an option 3?

Please do some reporting. Thanks,
1/23/2014 7:35:53 PM
CM Punk says:
I find it funny that Timmy disputed the report done by the Chamber and LU over the lack of fiscal responsibility council is showing.
Now they reached the point they need to borrow money for road improvements? Really?

And to answer Sky High, the reserve fund is depleting already.
If you recall 2.5 million was taken out for the over budget last year for snow removal.
7.5 million will be given to Resolute if the city loses the MPAC hearing.
So that will leave 15 million or less.

Not to mention, 35 million is needed by each level of government in order for the "arena" to get moving.
1/23/2014 6:28:50 PM
Me n My Opinion says:
The money earmarked for the Arena is in a different reserve fund than the one used to cover the high snow removal costs. None of the Arena money went to pay for snow removal. The city probably has 20 or 30 different reserve funds for different purposes, each of which gets depleted and replenished by different means.
1/23/2014 9:09:34 PM
S Duncan says:
by the way, thanks Newswatch and Leith for giving us a story that shows how poor Thunder Bay's decision making process has been.

Not to dwell on it, but so we don't make mistakes in the future.
1/23/2014 5:47:59 PM
Baor says:
Not to dwell on it?! That's ALL you do here, over and over. Now you are directing your bombastic over blown pontification at Leith? Really? Wow.

Remember, this is but a small "paper" that allows most of our comments through. Ultimately it is up to the paper, which is privately owned, to print what they want, when they want...use it as your pulpit if you must but if you think your are going to change things to your liking by bitching here, then you really need to climb back down to the real world for a bit.
This city would have a nice drab Stalinst look to it both functionally and visually if you had your way.
Remember....what you say here is nothing more than your opinion no matter how many times you change your handle.
Now go have a sandwich.
1/24/2014 10:16:50 PM
S Duncan says:
This is just one of many examples of why we should be pursuing a fancy hockey rink at this time.

What do you say Leith? Should we still continue throwing money into your subsidized hockey or should we use our taxes for what they are supposed to be used for?

Even the Chamber Of Commerce agrees with me, and they are rarely fond of frugal spending.
1/23/2014 5:34:16 PM
Leith Dunick says:
Glad you think I've got that kind of power.
1/23/2014 7:04:35 PM
S Duncan says:
just wondering your opinion. We know you want the new hockey rink but do you think we should borrow money for roads but spend money we have on a new hockey rink.

You don't have to answer, but I think its a question all responsible citizens of Thunder Bay should be asking themselves.

The importance of this particular new road notwithstanding, if we should neglect proper municipal infrastructure and fund hockey rinks instead, how can any responsible citizen live with themselves.

Many of us were hard on Attawapiskat for spending all their money on a new hockey rink and Zamboni while ignoring what the money was supposed to be used for...

Is Thunder Bay leadership just as bad as Attawapiskat leadership? Its certainly appears so.

Im not sure, but at least they can vote out their chief. What checks and balances do we have with Comissio?
1/23/2014 8:09:41 PM
Leith Dunick says:
Apparently you already know what I think.

If you don't like the way things are run at City Hall, you've got some options. Run for council. Contact council and the mayor and complain. Form an opposition group and seek a deputation. Start a petition. Take it to the OMB.

Mr. Commisso's check-and-balance is council.
1/23/2014 9:11:43 PM
S Duncan says:
Petitions don't work. Opposition groups don't work, deputations fall on deaf ears.

The OMB is designed in particular to move slowly and be extremely complicated where you must have a legal team to navigate.

We saw that with the marina. We see mass opposition to the windfarms. We see a measurable opposition to the new Indian Friendship center.

Has any of that worked? Or did council just steam roll right over them? In the case of the windfarm, the citizens were thrust into that mess under a dark cloak of secrecy.

Since Commisso took the reigns this city's debt has increased and taxes have doubled or in some cases tripled. They play a shell game by hiding taxes into regular services like the sewer portion on our water bills. The city is being sued for a large amount of money and it will most likely lose.

Where did we go wrong? Its my opinion it all started when Commisso came back to town. It doesn't appear to be ending anytime soon.

unless hes fired or quits, we're done.
1/23/2014 9:35:35 PM
AndersonSilvasLeg says:
Let me .. just understand what you are trying to say here...

All of the old tried and true methods don't work, so you resort to pushing everything through the TBNewswatch forums?

Why not do something productive instead of argue with the other trolls?

People being a keyboard warrior won't fix the problem; need to get out and do stuff.
1/24/2014 10:58:19 AM
fastball says:
What we have here locally is a very vocal minority. Other than the Nor'wester homeowners group - 90 percent of TBay couldn't give a hairy rat's tuchis about the wind farms.
Same with the event centre, both the location and the very concept of it. A few people are dead against it...just like they were with the Auditorium, the Games Complex, Magnus Theatre and a dozen more things. But honestly, they've all accomplished what they were supposed to accomplish, and haven't been such god-awful additions to the community.
So basically, what we've got here in TBay is a very small number of very loud individuals with WAY TOO MUCH time on their hands to bitch and moan and complain like old fishwives about everything that might cost a nickel more than the status quo.
Yet very few of them ever get off the computer long enough to run for office - and if they do, you end up with the idiots that ran this town into the ground a decade or so ago. We're still paying the legal bills for those clowns.
1/24/2014 11:09:32 AM
Eastender says:
Actually what we've got here in T. bay is a very small number of very influential and affluent people with vested interests in construction projects, and increased real estate values, who speak very discretely into the ears of easily influenced elected and non elected city officials.
1/24/2014 7:05:39 PM
fastball says:
It's also got a dedicated cadre of conspiracy-theory advocates as well, apparently.
1/25/2014 9:47:10 AM
Eastender says:
More a niaive flock of sheep who just play follow the leader to the slaughter house.
1/26/2014 6:56:20 PM
Enquirer says:
Wow! Wow! Wow there, Leith!

Run for council? Contact people in charge? Form a well organized group with clear, distinct, and achievable goals? My head is spinning at all these crazy ideas!

How would some of these members accomplish 1000 likes per comment if they aren't anonymously behind their keyboards, but out in the real world creating change???

How would all of these "other" anonymous people agree with them in droves online if they were out campaigning, organizing, or ...*gasp*...doing things in person?! How I ask you?!

As I said on here before, all of these trolls are nothing but talk; when running for council, these people get a taste of reality, not virtual reality. We've seen this happen before with another member...and well...we all know how that went. A landslide later, here we are, the same old trolls that are unwilling to act meaningfully or accept reality.

All sarcasm aside, Leith, I believe you should adhere to the age old adage of "Don't feed the trolls!"
1/23/2014 9:40:49 PM
Wolfie says:
Why would he do anything that is actually useful and constructive to further his cause when he can just mouth off on an online message board?

Nominations for mayor and council are open, Mr. Duncan.
1/23/2014 10:25:46 PM
Thor Odinson says:
Leith, you and I (and 80% of people on this board) know this is the same guy who's been trolling these boards for years under various guises (pieislandrefugee, Delbert Grady, Tim H.) and spouting the same BS under each name with slight changes to the backstory. I wouldn't bother responding, were I you. I, however, will continue enjoying swatting him down as he perpetually agrees with himself :)
1/24/2014 10:05:52 PM
conker2012 says:
I am all for growth and good investments like the multiplex, but this project is not needed at this time. There is no major congestion along this part of junot/golflinks so why four lane the road?

The current road is in good enough shape to last several more years before needing replacement. Development at Innova and west of this road has also stalled since all the investor money is going down town. Keep this project on the back burner until some of the residential subdivisions start on the west side of the road.

If the city wants to fix traffic in the area make Oliver road 60km/hr from golflinks to balmoral. There is no safety issues anymore since the traffic lights were put up at the hospital.
1/23/2014 5:06:57 PM
dockboy says:
Needs versus's wants. Take care of the needs first, if there's any leftover you can splurge on a want. Basic household financing in my house. I just wish the City would adopt this line of thinking.
1/23/2014 4:34:59 PM
tsb says:
Household finances are slightly different than government finances. A household uses objects with value to leverage funding from banks. Levels of government use cash reserves to leverage funding from other levels of government.
1/23/2014 6:14:21 PM
Eastender says:
And we all know where those cash reserves are. Their in your and my bank account, readily available through a political instrument called tax increase.
1/24/2014 6:54:54 PM
progress now says:
You would have to be a Money Moron not to agree with you.

How about that Art Gallery need?
1/23/2014 6:34:13 PM
S Duncan says:
There appears to be one directly above your comment.
1/23/2014 8:15:54 PM
The Badger Mountain Hermit says:
Why does the City seem to feel the need to BORROW more money to function, beyond the millions and millions they gouge from taxpayers? Are they planning on having the tax funds in the future ONLY funding wages, benefits, and pensions???? Clarify please. You can shear a sheep many times, but you can only skin it once. Someone isn't living within their means...and it's not the taxpayers.
1/23/2014 4:17:24 PM
jonthunder says:
Recently, if not mistaken, city administration recommended about $150 million in borrowed infrastructure projects to Council, and I further believe Council was on-side with this matter, committing the next Council to the same. Is this just a small amount of the current game plan or are some playing shell games?
1/23/2014 4:11:50 PM
ring of fire dude says:
Borrowing 8 million for a road that the City has no money for BUT it's OK to spend 10's of millions to build an Event Center which will never , ever turn a profit and be a burden on the taxpayers just to keep the Waterfront BIA happy . Great foresight :(
1/23/2014 3:02:21 PM
MD says:
No matter how much profit is made directly or indirectly from a event center a road will never, ever make any profit because it's...a road. Some in this city rather fill the same potholes with their money each year rather than invest in turning the city into something desirable. Nothing says growth and transformation like repaving roads over and over again, but make sure not to put bike lines on them because that's far to progressive for some to comprehend.
1/23/2014 7:55:42 PM
S Duncan says:
it is not the position of government to turn a profit. Taxes are for municipal services and infrastructure consisting of roads, sewers, refuse, etc..

Investments are for private corporations and business. Taxes are not for investments. Debts come with interest. When we have to pay interest to service our debt we lose.

Are we supposed to be losers? Do you want the city to be a loser city?

Governments should not have reserve funds anyway. If theres a reserve fund that means the citizens are being over taxed. If reserve money is needed then that is because of mismanagement.

Is it nice to have some in reserve, sure it is. But when we borrow money and pay interest so our city manager can shuffle the books to look better to service his hockey friends then we all lose.

theres nothing progressive about bike lanes either. People rode on the roads just fine since the invention of the bike. What we have is a lower class of bike rider now.

How about we make the bikes pay? profit?
1/23/2014 9:44:49 PM
fastball says:
Cities routinely borrow money...it's not as if it NEVER happens.
Yes, there is interest to repay - but it's not an admission of personal or civic ineptitude, nor an indictment of administrative irresponsibility.
Just as you and I routinely assume some debt to get things that we need or we want, if it's done in a responsible, well-thought out manner - I'm choosing to trust the judgement of the individuals who do this for a living.
1/24/2014 11:23:00 AM
Eastender says:
When you spend other peoples money to promote your own interests, you tend not to be as judiscious about where and how you spend it, as you would be if you were spending your own hard earned savings.

And thats a fact you can believe in.

Trusting in the judgement of politicians to spend your money wisely? A dubious proposition at best.
1/24/2014 4:19:35 PM
fastball says:
"Trusting in the judgement of politicians to spend your money wisely? A dubious proposition at best"
As opposed to listening to all the "experts" in here - what with all their university degrees and years of real-world experience in the realm of high-finance?
Maybe I'm a rosy-eyed Pollyanna, but I'm pretty sure the City would have consulted a couple of ACTUAL financial experts for their input and advice before blithely embarking on a course of action.
This is just a long-shot that I'm throwing out here...but maybe City Administration has an actual long-term game plan that they haven't run by all the armchair financial gurus here. Stranger things have happened.
Bottom line - I'll trust the judgement and expertise of guys who are paid to make decisions like this before I listen to the braying of a herd of uneducated jackasses who don't have all the information in front of them.

1/24/2014 5:55:40 PM
Eastender says:
Have you looked in the mirror lately? I believe you have described yourself perfectly, judging from all the braying you have been doing on this site.
1/26/2014 6:39:47 PM
livewire says:
The city should leave it be for now. Not hurting anything and the traffic flows good. The city is in way over their heads, so pull back and breath some air.
1/23/2014 3:00:15 PM
Eastender says:
Why not just use that 25 million thats on reserve for the multuplex, and worry about that if and when it happens? Oh, yeah, but then you would'nt have a reserve to show the feds and provincials, and they may not be
1/23/2014 2:57:50 PM
tiredofit says:
We have to borrow money to fix roads, there's no way we can afford a multi million dollar complex, I mean come on.
1/23/2014 2:57:17 PM
Eastender says:
Why not just use that 25 million thats on reserve for the multuplex, and worry about that if and when it happens?
1/23/2014 2:56:16 PM
sky high says:
Have you been hiding under a rock? That money is for the multiplex, which is One Hundred Percent happening. We're not taking anything from that 25 million to fix potholes or make roads wider.
1/23/2014 4:35:43 PM
stonecutter says:
1/23/2014 2:42:42 PM
GregT says:
This drives me nuts. Why don't they use some of the 50+ million that was taxed and earmarked for the new Long Term Care facility that the city was supposed to build, but did not need to once St. Joseph's Care Group stepped up.

I don't remember that coming back to us.
1/27/2014 8:36:28 AM
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