Tbnewswatch Local News
Monday July 6 2015
12:53 AM EDT
2014-02-10 at 15:32

Plebiscite time?

Mayor Keith Hobbs says he’ll support an event centre ballot question if the city considers a debenture to cover costs not provided for by other levels of government.
Leith Dunick, tbnewswatch.com
Mayor Keith Hobbs says he’ll support an event centre ballot question if the city considers a debenture to cover costs not provided for by other levels of government.
By Leith Dunick, tbnewswatch.com

Neither Thunder Bay’s city manager nor its mayor is opposed to putting the question of an event centre to the public.

But both Tim Commisso and Keith Hobbs said Monday it’s a little early in the process to consider a ballot question.

Commisso said he figures the city is at least a year away from a decision on whether to move forward to the construction phase of the proposed $106.1-million project. Until other levels of funding are in place, which city officials have said must be there for an event centre to become a reality, they’re not even sure what question to ask.

Commisso said they hope to make a formal submission to senior levels of government next September.

“We’re taking this step by step. We’re moving forward and until we have all the pieces of the puzzle, I think the challenge is what type of question do you put (forward) where it doesn’t become a what if or a hypothetical question,” Commisso said.

“Those aren’t questions that quite honestly should be put on the ballot. We still have a long way to go and we’re at least a year from having any type of decision made on this project.”

Hobbs reiterated he’s said all along the project won’t go ahead unless the provincial and federal governments come to the table with substantial amounts of cash.

Putting a question on the ballot would be premature, he said.

“I don’t think it’s time yet. At some point we may ask a question. It might be a standalone question after the election,” Hobbs said.

“I said when I was running for mayor, three or four years ago, if we have to debenture funds, I would like to ask the public questions. We could do that in the form of a survey too.”

The city has put aside about $30 million to cover its share, and plans to lean on other levels of government for the other two-thirds of the cost.

In an unscientific poll on tbnewswatch.com on Monday, with 649 votes tabulated, about 63 per cent of respondents indicated they would like the question of whether or not the city should build an event centre put on the ballot.

Hobbs also said the public can’t expect to have a say in every move council makes.

“I know it’s a lot of money we’re talking about spending here, but I still maintain the majority of people in Thunder Bay want an event centre. That question, I think, is clear to me. And sorry, but tbnewswatch.com surveys aren’t the most accurate.”

Asked what it would take to have a question put on the ballot, city clerk John Hannam said council must hold at least one public meeting on the matter, give notice of their intent to establish the bylaw and then pass it with a majority vote.

There’s also the matter of timing, he said.

“To include a question on a regular election, say this year’s, council must pass the bylaw by the end of April,” Hannam said via email. “In any year the bylaw needs to be passed 180 days prior to the byelection. It’s important to note that you can’t, under the legislation, do one any faster than that.”

A standalone question would cost between $100,000 and $200,000, depending the number of polling stations and advertising. It wouldn’t cost anything extra to place the question on the municipal ballot, other than advertising costs.

Coun. Ken Boshcoff said the last election itself was a de facto referendum on an event centre.

“Every elected member of council campaigned for the event centre. The few candidates that were opposed received very few votes,” he said, reached in Charlottetown.

“Therefore the community has already indicated very positively that they understand the Gardens must be replaced and a proper facility constructed.”

Current River Coun. Andrew Foulds said he was elected to take a stand, did his homework and he believes an event centre is the right direction for the city to proceed.

“I believe the city is doing its due diligence on all the serious considerations for the multiplex and moving forward in a thoughtful and responsible manner,” Foulds said.

At-large Coun. Iain Angus said he would not support a plebiscite. 

Coun. Larry Hebert, who unsuccessfully asked council to place the question on the ballot, said it may be too late.

“I don’t know if it would be worthwhile trying,” he said, given all the work that’s been done. “But I guess we can always try.”

Thunder Bay has held at least three ballot questions in the past, ending the debate on the city’s name, approving a debenture to cover costs for the regional hospital and giving the go-ahead to enact a smoking bylaw.


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We've improved our comment system.
mystified says:
Go ahead build it. I don't care. It won't affect my finances in any way or form.
I'm moving to a different province to a city with less population than Thunder Bay that have all the bells and whistles already in place.

I don't care if the door hits me as I leave or if any of you are glad to hold it open.
2/14/2014 11:28:57 AM
ring of fire dude says:
I guess everybody missed the news release a couple of weeks ago when Gary Greene came to town . A little snippet read that the arena may be run by a professional arena management company on behalf of the city . So if it's true , say goodbye to 1 million dollars/year loss , it will be higher than that when there's a middle man involved . They don't work for free .
2/12/2014 8:45:49 AM
The Badger Mountain Hermit says:
...the money is already in place...ya...it's in the taxpayers'life savings account...the millionaire construction company owners are going to get City Hall to steal it from you! They're just using sacred hockey as an excuse to rape your wallet, folks.
2/12/2014 7:00:50 AM
trips says:
a million dollars on this city budget would amount to way less than a ticket for an event at the event centre..the money is already in place if there is a go ahead
2/11/2014 6:15:52 PM
Eastender says:
The plebiscite should read. - Are you in favour of increasing your taxes to pay for an event centre, and annual maintenance costs.
2/11/2014 5:03:01 PM
trips says:
the plebiscite would have to read...are you in favor of an event centre that is 80% funded by the fed and prov governments....
2/11/2014 3:28:55 PM
Kam River says:
Talk about Bulling:
bttnk says:
"Young professional networks throughout this city will do everything possible to promote and support this intitiative."

This group of get their funds from the province through interns.

They are organized and will shove this down our throats.

They are at the age that they think money stills grows on trees.
2/11/2014 12:38:00 PM
ibrando says:
As I told you before bttnk your "Young McProfessionals" that you keep referring to don't speak for the vast majority of successful responsible young people in Thunder Bay. Give the imaginary polls a rest. Thank you.
2/11/2014 2:55:34 PM
bttnk says:
ibrando - Actually, I doubt you have a clue what you are talking about. I never suggested I polled anyone, but if you took a chance to attend some of the flagship events in this city, of which there is nearly one every other week, you would get an opportunity to speak with people about Thunder Bay and future growth. The Mayor is at nearly all of these events and he hears it first hand. So when you hear him say that he believes the majority of people are in favour of an events centre, the comment comes from his discussions in the community.

I also have an opportunity to speak with hundreds of professionals in the city. Doctors, lawyers, welders, plumbers. I haven't come across a single one that isn't in favour of building an events centre. Not one! Some are concerned about the location, parking, etc. but they all support the development. It is only on this site and from the same group that I see people not in favour.

As I said, I'd bet my house it gets built.
2/12/2014 2:31:49 PM
varga says:
I think that people are missing the part where it was stated that they agree a plebiscite is a good idea just not now. Should the question read: In the event that we are able to obtain the remainder of funding from other levels of government and the results of preliminary studies are favourable; would you support the building of a Multi-Purpose Event Center?
What if we have the plebiscite; get commitment from the masses and then it turns out that it is not a feasible project? Would the city then be blamed for not following the wishes of the people? In the end I think if the plebiscite were to happen and get a favourable result; most against the idea would cry conspiracy anyway.
2/11/2014 11:02:44 AM
fastball says:
For me, it's the opposite. If we DON'T get the bulk of the funding by other sources, and the city decides to go ahead anyways - that's when the question of a vote should be raised.
But if the bulk of the money is available from private and other levels of gov't, and there's no real onerous financial burden on the local taxpayer - I say go for it.
Honestly, I don't care if some people are against the CONCEPT of an events centre - that's tough tarts, IMO. The city does all sorts of stuff I disagree with at times. Life has taught me that haters gonna hate, no matter what.
But deciding to go it alone and getting into a 100M debt - that's kind of pushing the envelope. In that case, the plebiscite people will have cause to push for a vote.
2/11/2014 11:25:18 AM
Eastender says:
Bunch of irrelevant gobbldygook as usual
2/11/2014 12:22:59 PM
fastball says:
Absolutely correct...but you've got the right to post anyways.
2/11/2014 2:10:07 PM
The Badger Mountain Hermit says:
Congratulations, Hobbes and Boschkoff, you've finally displayed your true fascist inclinations...
2/11/2014 10:24:55 AM
SomeGuy says:
Really? Fascists? Come on lets not degrade ourselves to calling other people fascist because you don't agree with there point of view.
2/11/2014 10:44:28 AM
fastball says:
Exaggerate much, Badger?
Wait a minute - I thought Hobbs and the rest of CC were welfare-state lefties living in a socialist paradise?
I get confused sometimes with all the well-thought out comparisons.
2/11/2014 10:54:37 AM
bacon says:
I think he "timing" is perfect. A plebisite is pratially free when it's done with an election. The people of the city shouldn't have to pay 100k+ to get the answer to a quesion that could have been answered years earlier for free.
2/11/2014 10:12:32 AM
bttnk says:
I personally view the $300,000 cost of a plebiscite as a waste of taxpayers money. Par for the course in this town though. That said, here is my understanding. If there is a plebiscite, it will occur outside of the election cycle and after the federal and provincial government have agreed to sustaintially fund the event centre. My understanding is that funding will be around $75 million or more.

The question will then be, "Are you in favour of an event centre development?" Of the $300,000 for the plebiscite, a significant amout will be spent on information about who is funding the majority of the project (Feds and Province).

Young professional networks throughout this city who I have many opportunities to speak with support the event centres by an extreme majority (note not a scientific poll) and will do everything possible to promote and support this intitiative. I'd be willing to bet my house that the Yes vote wins by a landslide.
2/11/2014 9:09:20 AM
musicferret says:
Geeze, I wonder why a young professional network of people might love the idea?

Is it possible many of them enjoy the entertainment district because they have the income and are at that stage in their lives? Is it possible many of them and their families are wealthy, owning business and property that will benefit?

Of course they support it: they stand to benefit, and be able to afford to go on a regular basis.

Its the rest of the people who are not likely to support it.
2/11/2014 1:30:35 PM
blah blah says:
Its time to stop the welfare bus service, welfare parks, welfare daycare, welfare golf courses, welfare pools......get a life sd the amount of time you spend on this site is amazing.
2/10/2014 10:45:59 PM
Neebing1414 says:
hes to scared to go outside and get some fresh air.. the sun light might hurt his eyes.. but somehow he will blame the city for it

2/10/2014 11:58:59 PM
rock49 says:
I want the events centre. The Gardens already runs a yearly deficit, so the event centre's deficit will be a little higher. Also, I never go to the Gardens, but I will go to see my new AHL team. Also, I'd like to see it powered by the Neebing windmills. Locally made power.
2/10/2014 9:31:16 PM
S Duncan says:
and Im sure you want a unicorn with a golden saddle to pick you up at your house.

You can enjoy your ride their while floating on clouds of cotton candy. Everything will be free while beautiful women escort you to your seat and fan you with their perfume scented lingerie.

You can sit there like a king and enjoy your hockey kingdom while the peasants are stuck at work toiling away to pay for your insane dreams of socialized pleasure.

Hey, its all great as long as somebody else is paying, isn't it?

Are you going to enjoy paying the Gardens yearly losses as well as your new welfare dome losses as well?

Now, hurry up, your unicorn is waiting for you.
2/10/2014 10:23:23 PM
commonsense says:
Admin asked Council tonight for authority to "execute potential funding agreements" with Fed Nor and NPHFC.
On it goes. A deputant raised the issue of plebiscite, but Mayor and Commisso thought it was "too soon".
Before we go any further, we should realize that
1) Gardens is in sound condition for years to come
2) We have other, more important priorities.

And so should the Fed & Prov govts.
How about fixing up our roads?
How about more long-term care beds?
How about municipal infrastructure across the country?

All these are more important than bringing "monster truck shows", etc to a new event centre.
All of the above will create jobs.
Our seniors will have somewhere to go besides the hospital.
Our highways will be safer.

all levels of govt are in debt situations, and need to spend money where it is needed to improve public safety, and create better environment for seniors.
Lets spend a few Million to reno the FW Gardens, and use it to help revitalize downtown FW!!!
2/10/2014 9:27:16 PM
mystified says:
Ok, calm down. Stop your whining.

The mayor said they are considering a plebe cite just like some indicated they would like to see the taxpayer have a say.

Don't worry about location...I can tell ya it isn't going in the swamp.
2/10/2014 7:57:56 PM
bailey08 says:
how about having a plebiscite with only tax payers voting. 1 vote per piece of property so we can get the the people whose taxes are going to pay for this centre. it is easy to want something if you don't have to pay for it so let the peole who have to pay vote
2/10/2014 7:46:33 PM
SomeGuy says:
Ya, that's not how our democracy works. Long ago did we move past the notion that only land owners had a say.
2/10/2014 9:15:14 PM
Tbaylifer 1 says:
Fastball: it ain't over till it's over.
2/10/2014 7:45:43 PM
calvin15 says:
Keeping with history....the choices for the plebiscite shoud be:
1. Events Centre
2. The Events Centre
3. Thunder Bay Events Centre
2/10/2014 7:13:50 PM
commonsense says:
At the 1st Gardens Open House, the questions was asked about condition of FWG.
Answer, it is sound for many years to come.
So, we don't "Need" a new Event Centre", people just want one.

Many of those who "want" one are unlikely aware of our present Infrastructure deficit. Gee, what's that?
It's about how we're NOT taking care of our existing infrastructure.
Our City is spending $15 Million less every year, than they should be, just to maintain our existing Infrastructure.
Yet, they look for more things to spend money on.
And they look for things to cut, to find more money to waste.
It was stated at the FWG 1st Open House that most of the present uses of the Gardens will NOT be accommodated at a new Event Centre.
The consultant recommends building a new twin pad, perhaps at Delaney.
It's in their best interests to keep this going, they are receiving considerable pay for their work.
Mayor Hobbs, speak for the citizens who supported you, call for a plebiscite. It's not "too early".
2/10/2014 6:42:24 PM
bttnk says:
@commonsense - Your comment is a blatant disregard for the truth. I was at the open house and I have read and spoken to every consultant that has assessed the Gardens. The only way it "is sound for many years to come" is if we dump millions of dollars into it almost immediately. When was the last time you were in the arena?
2/11/2014 9:00:42 AM
blacksheep says:
This all seems pretty simple put it to a plebiscite with two questions The yes and no and the two locations .This will end the debate and we can move forward.I believe most people want a new building but like myself want the other location. I don't want the same mistake other cites have made with no parking .
2/10/2014 6:24:11 PM
Kam River says:
But both Tim Commisso and Keith Hobbs said Monday it’s a little early in the process to consider a ballot question.
But if we wait until next year "A standalone question would cost between $100,000 and $200,000"
They sure like wasting our money.
Give us a chance to say not...
2/10/2014 5:55:02 PM
progress now says:
Didn't someone say, perhaps the Mayor and city manager that the project wouldn't go ahead without seniors levels committing? Didn't they say recently that funding was all but in the bag but not confirmed?

What has changed?

This is one election where city hall is losing control of the message, even though relations with the media are as sound as ever. Interesting.
2/10/2014 5:52:07 PM
Who-cares says:
Should these questions have not been asked before one cent was spent on all of these consultants and reports? Our so called "Leaders" have already spent millions on this white elephant. how many more millions will be spent before they get an answer from senior levels of gov't? Hobbs, Comisso, and our Council are a complete joke, with their hair brained ideas. The 2 questions that should be asked are very easy.
1) Should the city build a new event centre if appropriate funding is forthcoming from provincial and federal levels of gov't.
2) Where should the events centre be built? Downtown Port Arthur, or at Inova Park?
That way no matter if or where it's built nobody can cry about it because the majority of our tax paying citizens have spoken.
2/10/2014 5:35:41 PM
fastball says:
The only thing is - and I don't mean to be insulting - is that the average person is clueless on most of the facts. They haven't the foggiest idea of what the city has put aside, how much money they might get from other sources both private and governmental, or what the financial situation of the city will be in a decade. They haven't a clue on if it might be optimal or advantageous to borrow money at a certain time or not. They're NOT professionals or experts in anything. For god's sake, people are still bitching about the whole Innova/waterfront thing. It's like herding cats.
Sorry to say, most people base their entire decision on how it affects THEM personally.
Well, sorry - that's not good enough for me. It's like watching people bet on horses because of what colours the jockey is wearing.
2/10/2014 8:44:08 PM
Eastender says:
Oh, and you've got the monopoly on all the facts. We should all open our eyes and our wallets to your logic. Why? Cuzz we are all stupid? We should follow you down the golden brick road. You are not the pied piper that you may fancy yourself to be.
By implying that most people are stupid, only reveals you as the moron that you are.
2/11/2014 11:43:50 AM
fastball says:
Never once did I say I had the facts...nor did I ever say that anyone was stupid.
I merely said that people (including myself) are clueless as to the actual facts and numbers of the situation. We're asking people to make decisions, but with no terms of reference to intelligently frame that decision - just like my analogy on horse betting. That's why I want the experts to tell us all the options and why one is better than the other.
I've never once said I have any more facts than anyone else. I just don't want people making decisions for the direction of the city based on no real data whatsoever.
2/11/2014 1:08:20 PM
mercy mercy me says:
both the top administrator and the top elected city official bring relevance to the adage 'speak not and be taken for a fool, yet you choose to speak and confirm it'
2/10/2014 5:16:25 PM
Dockboy says:
"And sorry, but tbtnewswatch surveys aren't the most accurate". Is this a proven fact Mr. Hobbs or is this just your expert opinion? Do you know the exact + or - margin of error their surveys are subject too?
2/10/2014 4:45:13 PM
Winger says:
the only place I find people who supposedly support this is on this site.

and when you look at the fact that this subject always ends up losing to those who are not in favour of this welfare arena I suspect if this did go to plebiscite, it would not gain anywhere near 30% support.
2/10/2014 5:40:53 PM
SomeGuy says:
Margin of error is 100% because a website poll is not scientific in any way.
2/10/2014 6:11:02 PM
Today1 says:
All the reason to have a plebicte.
2/11/2014 1:35:42 AM
Me n My Opinion says:
A plebiscite won't get a much better result. There are far too many variables to make one non-subjective yes or no question that will be of any value on this issue. Far different than the Hospital issue a few years ago.
2/11/2014 4:28:10 PM
Enquirer says:
Ignoring the statistical pitfalls of an online survey method, one can point to the systematic problems of this online poll:

1) This is limited to those with Internet access or time to access an Internet connection to vote.
2) Limited to those who know of this (currently) short lived poll.
3) Confounding variables, such as, perhaps those who oppose the events centre frequent this site more than another local news website, thus, skewing the sample.

Most importantly however is the ease of voting fraud on these systems. While it would be nice to believe it does not happen, the technology behind TBNewswatch's polling system is highly outdated and open to easy multiple votes from one person.

While statistical measures must be taken to verify polling accuracy, the systematic problems of a poll must be tended to first to ensure a valid statistical measure can even be obtained.
2/10/2014 6:18:04 PM
animiki says:
This statement is correct. For a survey to be representative ("accurate" isn't the right term), it needs to be several things...one of which is random. By definition, the surveys on here aren't random; they're completed by people who visit this site. There's also no way of ensuring that each respondent only responds once. So, no, the surveys on here aren't reliable; margins of error aren't relevant because of the way the data's collected. They are, at best, the collective opinion of people who come to this site and bother answering the questions.
2/10/2014 11:21:11 PM
Tbaylifer 1 says:
I agree it should go to a plebiscite. It should also include the question of location.
2/10/2014 4:36:17 PM
fastball says:
The location issue's been done and dusted already. It's over. Fuggedaboudit.
Move on.
2/10/2014 4:39:24 PM
ring of fire dude says:
Sounds like fastball is the owner of On Deck sports bar .
2/10/2014 11:09:47 PM
Today1 says:
Sounds like some 'personal' interest somewhere to me as well, and for a number of posters on here.
2/11/2014 1:16:25 AM
fastball says:
Nope, just a guy who wants ALL the facts before I snap to a decision. I'm just a guy who prefers to see beyond a tax bill. I'm a guy who bought into the vision of the North side as the entertainment district and the South side as the administrative side of town.

But mostly, I'm a guy who has a pathological urge to challenge some of the stupid, brainless, clueless comments that come on the board. I don't mind a debate...but bring something to the table OTHER than the spectre of 20-odd dollars more on your tax bill.
If the city decides to go the WHOLE bill on their own - ie, borrow 100M dollars - then I can see the citizens asking and getting full financial disclosure from the city and MAYBE even a plebiscite. If other levels of gov't and private sources chip a decent dollar amount, I'm willing to chip in the rest on my tax bill to drag my city to the next level. Kicking and screaming, if necessary.
2/11/2014 9:01:22 AM
Chaos says:
Mayor you are already borrowing for this multiplex. You are planning to debenture other road works and tbaytel "upgrades" so as to divert money to the 30 million the city alledges it has but really doesn't. TBNEWSWATCH ask City where exactly is this 30 million set aside today? Don't fall for the shell game please!!

Plebescite will increase voter turnout and interest - both of which are good.
2/10/2014 4:27:36 PM
fastball says:
Right now, in the absence of any actual FACTS - everything is just speculation and rumour.
Maybe everyone could just unclench a bit to see if other levels of government are going to pitch in.
Nobody wants their taxes to go up - that's a given. There's way bigger taxmoney-soaks in this town...let;s identify and get to work on those bigger issues.
Before everyone gets hysterical, I think they should give us the best-guess numbers and what what it works out on our tax bills. I'm not going to go nuts about another 30 bucks on my taxes. In short - do the homework and see what's what...before the usual local bunch with their panties in a perennial twist start trumpeting their chronic litany of doom and gloom.
2/10/2014 4:12:40 PM
S Duncan says:
even if other governments decide to give more of OUR money to this future disaster..

...who will be paying the losses at $1million/year?

so your taxes (assuming you live and pay them in Thunder Bay) will be going up, and not just in obvious ways, they will be doing the old shell game where they charge more for something else and shuffle it off on other departments (like the Zamboni at the marina)

How about you welfare hockey fans cough up the money for a plebiscite first, then once you get approval move forward.

Until then, pound sand.
2/10/2014 4:28:30 PM
Rubenicky says:
I love how you say OUR money when you live in one of the lowest tax brackets in the city.
Stop acting like you pay millions yourself; most others pay more than you do and if you don't like it move or do something about it (yeah right)
2/10/2014 5:13:17 PM
S Duncan says:
You have no clue where I live and how much taxes I pay, and who I pay them to.

The fact is I pay taxes in Thunder Bay on more than one property. That's more than you need to know.

So, its my money. Its my neighbours money. Its the money of those who pay the least taxes and its the money of those who pay the highest.

If you don't like it, move.
2/10/2014 5:22:01 PM
Neebing1414 says:
sounds like you can afford to pay more in taxes if you have more than one property as you claim
2/10/2014 11:56:45 PM
S Duncan says:
Id say I pay twice as much since I have twice the tax bills.

Seems to me since I have more invested in Thunder Bay than someone with one tax bill, or even someone without any tax bill.

So I should have 2 votes and you should have none.
2/11/2014 5:27:34 PM
ou812 says:
Oh so thats it duncan..

more than one property, so i'm thinking you are probably a landlord of some sort and can't stand the thought of the city eating in to your profits.

sell your other property if you can't afford the taxes. done.
2/11/2014 9:49:00 PM
Eastender says:
Well then who's money is it? And what does tax bracket have to do with any entitlement to anything. You dont get your choice just because you pay more taxes than the next guy! Advice from the guy who should be taking his own!
2/10/2014 6:36:43 PM
fastball says:
What's the city's operating budget...200-odd million? So a million out of that would be - .5 percent or something?
2/10/2014 6:16:22 PM
Dan dan says:
It is the height of rhetoric to call the annual COST of running the new events centre a "loss". How much do roads "lose"? How much do hospitals "lose"? These are vital components to our city, and each has a cost attached.

Whining about how the event centre is going to "lose money" is disingenuous rhetoric some someone who would rather Thunder Bay be regressive and shrink rather than grow.

Plebecite or no plebecite, the public wants this, needs this and it will happen. Sorry, but you are free to choose where to live.
2/10/2014 7:42:18 PM
Eastender says:
Your analogy to roads and hospitals losing money as the same as the cost of operating a multiplex is absolute horse feathers. Roads and hospitals are necessities, a multiplex is a luxury, one that rational people can live without.

The public does not want it, does not need it. And does not want to pay for the luxury of a few hockey fans, concert goers, and party people.

And you also are free to choose to live where you want.
2/10/2014 10:44:27 PM
mystified says:
Where do you get the information that indicates the public doesn't want a event centre built downtown?
Did you do a survey?

The problem is to many people on this site are only concerned about themselves and could careless about average Joe.

Some spin tales of their self proclaimed wealth, expertise and experience, one or two of us tell the truth.
2/11/2014 10:03:12 AM
nvjgu says:
No is going to be my vote. They must direct there att. to the condition of these roads, and not just quick fixes that only last a couple years. This town cannot support a sport team of any kind, people won't come here, we are eight hours from anywhere. Further more if it does get built I can see it being sold years after to private interest like every thing else.
2/10/2014 4:12:37 PM
sky high says:
Why don't you buy your favourite pothole a diamond ring? I drive the same roads as you every day and I've never had any damage to my vehicle as a result of these potholes. What is it about people in this city that caused them to have disdain for fun? This is unbelievable. The problem with you people who would rather have potholes filled than an events centre is that you've never been out of the city limits. You have no idea what horrible condition some city's roads are in...and they have beautiful arenas and convention centres. It's just a shame that these drudges want to spend their lives not wanting others to have fun
2/10/2014 8:10:15 PM
donnybrook says:
Or, maybe some of us have lived all across this country and had our share of fun while you were getting baked in your parent's basement and now we're ready to settle down and enjoy the simple life. You want to see bad roads, go to Quebec.
2/10/2014 11:56:38 PM
sky high says:
Quebec? Where they have all that beautiful architecture and arenas? And yet they have potholes? OMG this is criminal, how do you say whine en Francais? Go waste your own money on a plebiscite because a fool and his money is soon parted
2/11/2014 8:08:50 AM
ibrando says:
@sky high
Dude, in all fairness it is a bit less expensive for you if you ride your skateboard over one of the potholes. Big boy cars and trucks cost a bit more to repair. Nobody wants to limit your fun, but somebody might be needing a time out...:)
2/11/2014 1:19:14 PM
Jon Powers says:
To All:

1982 City Plebiscited The Community Auditorium
1997 New Thunder Bay Hospital

TBCA Cost $15.Million
TBRH Cost $35.Million $25.Million from City Plus $10.Million Interest.

Get On with the Ballot Topic Mayor And Council!

Should The City of Thunder Bay Build a New Event Centre?


What Say You All?!

Great Topic
2/10/2014 4:11:15 PM
tbay99 says:
"Hobbs also said the public can’t expect to have a say in every move council makes."

WOW. How on earth is this guy our mayor?! This is one of the biggest construction projects in recent Thunder Bay history and he thinks the public should not have a say? I am completely dumbfounded!

If you are so confident Mr.Hobbs just do the plebiscite and prove the MAJORITY wants it. Clearly him and council alike are worried the results may not come back to their liking.
2/10/2014 4:05:05 PM
sky high says:
Ok but since we already know it will prove that the majority want it, you and your little gang will have to pay for it. You sound miserable for a cane shaker that has just been given a ray of hope, however tiny. You should hug your poodle and thank Mr. Hobbs for this news release
2/10/2014 6:29:08 PM
tbay99 says:
Ahh I knew it wouldnt be long before sky high comes in with a classic "cane shaking" comment...so original and intelligent.

I still remember your "raise taxes 15% across the board comment" that one was my favorite!
2/10/2014 8:13:29 PM
sky high says:
So then you would pay for this plebiscite? You certainly believe that when the Events Centre comes to fruition that you shouldn't have to pay for it, because you won't use it. So if you pothole heads want a plebiscite, than get your dusty wallets on the table and pony up. Simple as that. If not, fermez la bouche.
2/10/2014 10:43:08 PM
unheard says:
gladly take the option to opt out of contributing to this
sign me up
2/11/2014 12:39:49 AM
ibrando says:
@sky high
Everybody who does not support the arena is a cane shaker? Glad you pulled yourself away from Minecraft long enough to offer your comment. I would tell you to grow up but it is obvious you are still in the process...so carry on. Dusty wallets? Pretty sure they contain alot more than yours does,allowance only goes so far.
2/11/2014 10:13:54 AM
tbay87 says:
A new low in arrogant politicians, if nothing else I'll give Hobbs points for this bit of honesty about what he thinks of taxpayers. He makes it sound like people are asking to vote on if the city should purchase a new snowplow or something.

And while he's right that online polls aren't a great way to get information, he seems to be against something better: a real vote. I'm sure former votes on casinos, the hospital, etc happened before all the data was available.

This whole thing reeks of politicians and bureaucrats wanting to leave their legacy. It's gone horrible wrong for many cities in the past and could easily happen to Thunder Bay. Abbotsford and Glenndale Arizona are two recent examples that come to mind, but there's been plenty of others.

None of this is to say an arena is a bad idea, I just worry the city isn't looking at it objectively.
2/10/2014 7:33:31 PM
tiredofit says:
It's a flip'n YES or NO question. If yes, carry on.. if no... give it up!
2/10/2014 4:02:32 PM
S Duncan says:
Hobbs and Commisso are a joke.

Who in their right mind would throw almost countless dollars pursuing this before actually consulting their citizens?

Before one single move was made in the direction of this welfare hockey rink, it should have been put to the people.

Municipal government is not here to entertain you with hockey. That right there should be enough to put a stop to the cry babies who want subsidized entertainment.

Hobbs also decries the poll on newswatch (I don't blame him) but he substitutes no other information that indicates where he has formed his opinion.

There are none so blind as those who refuse to see. Hobbs is the blindest!.
2/10/2014 4:00:35 PM
fastball says:
Oh, don't be such a hysteric. Lots of cities have taken loans out to construct facilities like this. Surely not all of them are sliding into the gaping maw of socialist ruination, are they?
Bottom line is that Tbay needs a replacement for the Gardens at some point. That's a reality. Why not start doing some of the legwork now - is that not demonstrating some forward-thinking, strategic thinking?
I know what some people are going to say, "The time isn't right". Well, when exactly is the time right? When are all our streets and sidewalks perfect? When is every stoplight shined and garbage can polished? When is the "right" time?
At least let's get a handle on the numbers, and continue to lobby for funds from the feds/province. Who knows, maybe it's close enough to an election year to shake some money out of them? It never hurts to continue to try.
Hell - let 'em go ahead and try to buy my vote.
2/10/2014 4:33:03 PM
SomeGuy says:
If you wait for the right time to do something you'll wait a lifetime.
2/10/2014 4:49:41 PM
Toot Sweet says:
and if you do it at the wrong time, you'll pay for a lifetime as well.

There is never a right time to take tax money by force and spend it on a hockey rink. NEVER!
2/10/2014 5:11:42 PM
fastball says:
Pay for a lifetime, my eye.
Worst case scenario is they take a loan and pay on it for 10-odd years. Yeah, there's annual operating costs - but there's operating costs on ANY building. At least this one has the potential to bring some business our way.
"By FORCE"?? What - they're coming into your house and ripping the gold outta Grandma's mouth?
You and SD should be gold and silver medalists in the Hysterical Olympics.
2/10/2014 6:09:13 PM
S Duncan says:
What do you think happens when Grandma or anybody else doesn't pay her/their property taxes?

Yes, you are FORCED to pay them or be subject to property seizure. You will be forced to leave the property that you have bought and paid for in full.

There are costs for operating any building, but there is a source of income to cover those costs. When the costs exceed the income you have a problem.

This welfare hockey arena will consumer $1 million dollars every year more than it brings in. Who will pay that?

We will pay it. and what do we get for return for our money?

do we get free admission? do we get free parking? will we get dividend checks from the waterfront district businesses?

We also get to pay the construction costs, the interest on those costs, the legacy costs, the taxes, the eventual demolition costs, we also must continue to pay for the auditorium and the FW Gardens and those related costs.

all to watch some lame hockey?

do it on your moms money, not mine.
2/10/2014 10:12:27 PM
Bttnk says:
Perhaps the events centre will run a $1 million deficit. What you don't mention is the Gardens is operating at a $600,000 deficit annually with many millions in renovations required. No one knows for sure how a new event centre will be operated, so let's not jump to conclusions. The only thing we know for sure is the deficit caused by the past expiry Gardens.
2/10/2014 10:40:13 PM
festus says:
Why is everyone saying this Event Center will loss $1Million a yer. Its called an even center. So has long has they have "Events" in it I dont see how it will loss that much. It may even make money. OHHHH what a concept. If this group that is backing it stays they know how to run a even center.
2/11/2014 6:23:16 AM
tiredofit says:
The city's consultants said.
2/12/2014 1:42:30 PM
fastball says:
Grow up.
You choose to live in a city and avail yourself of city services - therefore you pay for them in the form of taxes. The tax money you pay is not some manner of personal largesse or some charitable gesture on your part. You don't get to dole it out piecemeal to causes that meet your approval. Your taxes are payment for the services you avail yourself....period.I f you don't want to pay...then move out to the boonies, plow your own road, dig your own well and burn your garbage. Get over yourself.

So the place costs a million to run. Suppose something like the Brier brings in 5M to the local economy - is that not a win for the city? Don't the hotel staff, restaurant staff or store staff deserve to make a living too?
Or does the money have to flow directly into YOUR pocket for it to count?
Again, get over yourself.
2/10/2014 11:17:02 PM
ou812 says:
You really don't like hockey eh S Dumcan.

First of all it's not YOUR tax money its the cities tax money. If you want to live in Thunder Bay you have to pay to live in Thunder Bay. If you are so upset about this just move out of the city limits and take advantage of the perks for free.

Also, why do YOU continue to assume that people are living off their parents money? There are quite a few professionals in this town that obviously can afford to pay high taxes.

Next the operating costs. Last time I checked, the city provides services for the public. Roads, parks, arts, entertainment, and youth programs for example. I don't think Marina Park or Centennial park take in that much revenue for the city. By YOUR logic, we should close those down too.

Finally this is not just a hockey rink as YOU say. It is an event centre with multiple uses. Can't wait to see you in line at a concert there. YOU can park beside me. YOU might have to walk a few blocks though.
2/11/2014 11:53:06 AM
unheard says:
error..... Thunder bay does not "need" a replacement for the gardens
Thunder bay "needs" drinkable water, upgraded infrastructure, better hospital staff, new city council. You have your personal wants mixed up with needs
2/10/2014 6:04:32 PM
fastball says:
We have drinkable water.
The infrastructure will ALWAYS need to be upgraded. You peck away at it, one project at a time.
You want a new city council? Get out and vote.
What does hospital staff have to do with the city?
By your same token - we don't NEED every road fixed. We don't NEED lots of things.
What we NEED is a way are new ways to make TBay relevant to the rest of the country. We have to generate interest. We have to present a viable option. Getting an events centre could hopefully house attractions that other communities are reaping the benefits. Why not us? What's wrong with us? Why are we always on the outside looking in? Why are we saying "why does every other similarly sized city get things like the Brier, or the Scotties, or university tournaments, or shows, or exhibitions or conventions?" Being in the geographical centre of Canada would be a big help in attracting national events.
Why NOT us for a change?
2/10/2014 8:34:23 PM
Eastender says:
Thunder Bay is already relevant to the rest of the country in so many ways, if we were'nt, we wouldn't be in existance. What is your point? Why do we have to generate interest , to what exact purpose. A viable option? To what? It seems you have some grandiose purpose for this city, and would like to make it into a mecca for tourists and pleasure and fun seekers. This city is in the wrong location for this to ever happen. There would have to be a major shift in population for that to happen. You can bark like a rabid dog, and froth at the mouth, but that will not change the geographical location of this city. The only ones to benefit from a multiplex will be the elite members of the Ambassadors Northwest club, some of whom are the biggest contractors, in Thunder Bay, and some of the wealthiest people in this city. They will be the only ones to benefit from this farce, if it ever happens. All at the expense of those who struggle payday to payday
2/10/2014 11:13:12 PM
fastball says:
What we need is another viable option to bring people and money here. The glory days of TBay as a provider and mover of natural resources are over. The grain is a trickle of what it used to be, the mills are shutting down bit by bit - just look at our local economy...it's not a big mystery.
Our geographical location means that TBay might be a viable half-way point for national events. Sending people all the way crosscountry might be prohibitive for some groups - but sending them halfway might be more palatable.
By your logic - we should just lie down and die, right? Just quit kicking and accept our fate?
The only ones left here will be the tinfoil hat crowd - convinced that the fix is in...and the only beneficiaries will be the elite construction industry and the fat-cats who run the restaurants and bars on the North Side.
Honestly, why should this town keep the bar so low? Why do we need to keep it at the level of the "struggling pay-to-pay" people?
2/11/2014 7:44:55 AM
Eastender says:
All I can say at this point is that you are in denial of reality. You are like the guy who is on minimum wage, has trouble making his car payment mortgage payments, heat, grocery and utilities payments, but being the eternal optimist, is planning a trip to Vegas, in hopes of hitting it big, so he can throw a party, and impress his friends.

2/11/2014 9:38:56 AM
SomeGuy says:
"better hospital staff" Healthcare is a provincial responsibility not a city one. Our city council has ZERO things to do with the hospital staff.
2/10/2014 10:20:58 PM
Kam River says:
Coun. Ken Boshcoff said “Every elected member of council campaigned for the event centre. The few candidates that were opposed received very votes,” he said, reached in Charlottetown.

Maybe it is time for this group after 8 plus year to be put out to pasture.
We can not afford it Have you seen your hydro and gas bill for this month.
2/10/2014 3:40:28 PM
p.o.ed taxpayer says:
Before the election the talk was about building a multiplex, not an event center. There was no location and no estimated cost...so to suggest that everyone gave the go ahead on this is disingenuous at best. Boschoff has also said "If not now, then when?" How about when the city's crumbling infrastructure is taken care and the community can afford this without mortgaging the future...
2/10/2014 5:45:14 PM
fastball says:
Yes, because the high hydro and gas bills (for the coldest winter in a decade or so) are the city's fault, right?
2/10/2014 6:11:31 PM
ring of fire dude says:
What the heck is Boshkoff doing in Charlottetown when Council is in session ??? Paid Holiday ?
2/10/2014 10:46:20 PM
ou812 says:
Get over it Kam! Oh my hydro bill, my water bill, my taxes, my… my… my…

I'm sick of the complainers in this town. I applaud city council for getting this event centre going although it should have been started 10 years ago.

2/11/2014 8:21:20 AM
jonthunder says:
The question for this election could be, should there be a plebiscite before the project is given final approval; that would bind the city to a plebiscite when all the funding is in place and a real decision is ready to be made. This could be a compromise for everyone, and yes, it would bind a future council with the wishes of the citizens. To democratically do nothing, should not be on the agenda.
2/10/2014 3:39:35 PM
musicferret says:
A little early!? What? You want to wait until things have moved along as far as possible so that its even tougher to stop this runaway tax train?

Plebiscite during this municipal election on the same ballot.
Both yes or no, and if it was being built anyway, what location would you support. Two simple questions. Put it to the taxpayers!
2/10/2014 3:36:01 PM
p.o.ed taxpayer says:
Council and Admin. know full well that if they can stall long enough they will not have time to have this matter added to the election and they will be free to push ahead and pull the public along kicking and screaming...The city needs an auditor general to expose all the double talk and deception going on here...of course it would have to come from outside because this council would never suggest or agree to this.
2/10/2014 8:26:23 PM
Common cents says:
Are you in favor of a new events centre YES

Are you in favor of a downtown location NO
2/11/2014 6:43:19 PM
BetterThunderBay says:
While I'd rather not see this go to plebiscite, I wouldn't be devastated if people have a chance to give it a thumbs up or down (build or not).

The location question however, is not appropriate. There has been lots of public consultation, tons of research by professionals including a full scale investigation and report regarding the issue of location. After all of this, that issue at least has been put to bed.

The primary issue the Innova crowd keeps bringing up is parking. There are lots of things that go into making decisions like this, and considering only parking is a huge mistake. Parking was already addressed in great detail for both locations, and the Waterfront be able to handle Canada Day sized crowds - it has before. Perhaps it isn't fair to ask everyone to understand city planning - there's a lot to it - but I think it is fair to ask that people consider all of the variables that led to the selection of the site.

There is more than one way to get places.
2/11/2014 9:35:55 PM
S Duncan says:
If there is more than one way to get to places, then Innova Park would still be one of those places you can get to.

If parking is so wonderful why is it whenever those warships come here, you have to park at the auditorium and catch a shuttle to the marina?

Canada day parking isn't so wonderful either but what youre forgetting is that fireworks are up in the sky, so its not all that important to get to one particular place to watch them.

Can you say the same for a welfare hockey game?
2/11/2014 11:17:59 PM
BetterThunderBay says:
Your post is still just about parking. I did attempt to highlight that parking is one thing, not all things.

I think my point may have been missed - of course, as you say, Innova is a place you could get to (although it is further from higher density areas - so it would attract more cars, and be more difficult for more people who want to arrive by other means). The bottom line is that it has none of the other benefits of the chosen location.

I was just using Canada Day as an example, there are others, with more centralized activities - RibFest, Bluesfest, whatever.

Sure, as with the ships, why not choose to take the bus and get dropped off at the front door? You've solved your own problem. Or if that doesn't suit you, show up a bit early and get the best parking spot ever!
2/12/2014 1:04:01 PM
Common cents says:
The prinary issue at hand here is to built this city for the future, not just to please the waterfront district.

We are not talking 10 or 20 years from now.... lets talk 50 to 75 years from now,

we are building for our childrens children

nuff said!
2/12/2014 8:34:26 PM
BetterThunderBay says:
I agree with you that we should build for the future. That is more reason to focus on developing a core instead of putting it at Innova.
2/13/2014 12:31:22 PM
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