Tbnewswatch Local News
Saturday July 4 2015
6:29 PM EDT
2014-02-20 at 15:41

Funding Phase 3

MP Greg Rickford speaks in Thunder Bay Thursday morning.
Jamie Smith, tbnewswatch.com
MP Greg Rickford speaks in Thunder Bay Thursday morning.
By Jamie Smith, tbnewswatch.com

The provincial and federal governments have chipped in to finish the final phase of a proposed events centre, but it's too early to say what that might mean when the city comes asking for big money to get it built.

FedNor and the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation gave the city more than $577,000 each to complete Phase 3 of the events centre, which includes everything from schematics and engineering studies to business and economic development plans.

City facilities manager Michael Smith said by the end of September when Phase 3 is completed, the project would be ready to break ground should funding partners be found to help with the $106 million needed and council approves.

"We are very optimistic," Smith said Thursday morning when the Phase Three funding was announced.
Northern Development Minister Michael Gravelle said he's a big supporter of the project. But there's still a lot of work to be done before the city is ready to ask the province for a big financial commitment.

"I will be doing more than my share to advocate for support when the time comes," he said.

MP and minister responsible for FedNor Greg Rickford said the centre could mean big things not only for Thunder Bay but the entire region. It has the opportunity for major economic development and the federal government is looking to invest in the right projects at the right time with the right partners.

"I think this fits the test on every level," Rickford said.

The federal government's investment in the project shows it's committed to where the city is at in the process. When Thunder Bay is ready to move ahead and wants the events centre to be a priority, that's when discussions would begin.

"We're not there yet," he said.



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waldo says:
fastball: you forgot city employee.
2/24/2014 11:43:45 AM
fastball says:
What would it matter if I was a garbageman or worked on the pothole crew? What would it matter if I drove a snowplow or grader?
2/24/2014 5:49:47 PM
waldo says:
Fastball: Anyone who tries to distract democracy (plebescite) do so for their own gain or agenda. History has taught us that. So what are you? City employee, downtown land or business owner, consultant / contractor - all of whom want this for the wrong reason being self interest. Time you and other promoters admit you have a conflict of interest because I for one have zero. Plebiscite please! Let's all have say!
2/22/2014 12:39:03 PM
fastball says:
So, if one argues AGAINST a plebiscite - one then MUST automatically have an ulterior motive, right? Democracy is elections - plebiscites are mob rule.
I have absolutely no personal stake in this whatsoever. I am no landowner, nor contractor, nor promoter. I have no financial dog in this fight.
I'm just tired of seeing other attractions and events go whizzing by this city. I'm tired of hearing about other cities getting economic gain and positive reviews while we sit in our 70 year old FW Gardens, saying "Yeah, this isn't so bad. A splash of paint and we're good for another 20 years". We pat ourselves on the back because we saved a penny..while we watch loonies fly by overhead.
Wake up - we need to attract new businesses or professionals here to remain vital and relevant - yet we wonder why they always seem to end up someplace else. We need opportunities here, and we need venues to attract and host these opportunities.
Today you're either moving forward - or falling behind.
2/22/2014 8:39:16 PM
S Duncan says:
You wont attract new businesses or professionals here by running a city in immense debt and with the highest taxes around.

Moving forward by going further into debt and saddling people with even greater taxes is actually falling behind.

if you want to see other attractions and events, then go see them. Nobody is stopping you.

if you cannot afford to go see them now, you cannot afford to go see them here.

plus we know youre a city worker. you have no concept of how to earn a living, only to take one.
2/23/2014 6:26:48 PM
fastball says:
Your final sentence is ignorant enough to be considered offensive.
Are you saying that a garbage worker, or bus driver or road crew or the parks-and-rec guys only know how to "take a living"? Seriously? Like they're parasites or something?
These "city worker" jobs are real, decent, essential jobs. Honest jobs. Most of those guys make 20-25 bucks an hour...certainly not on any gravy-train. Barely the national average, which is 38-43K a year. No one's buying a vacation home in Whistler on that, buddy.
You sound like a man who feels the world owes him something. What, you didn't get a "city job" at some point in your life ...and now you're a ball of miserable, jealous resentment?
The real difference between you and I is that I wouldn't have any qualms about saying anything I've posted here to someone's face. I'd like to see you try to say what you implied about their jobs to a "city worker's" face.
Hope you know a good dentist.
Honestly, you're offensive.
2/24/2014 6:12:00 PM
mystified says:
Interesting that I just read somewhere else that you need to have more than 50% voter turnout for a plebiscite to be valid and Thunder Bay has had less than 50% turnout in the last couple of elections.
2/22/2014 10:41:59 AM
pc says:
You don't want it?
Let every level of government know this.
Flood their emails with letters, not just your local MP or MPP. They don't seem to care. at least in the 2 lib. ridings and the green party.
Every person in power you have an email address for.
If you know a candidate for the next election write to them as well.
If you stay the silent majority then you deserve what they hand you (at your cost of course)
Stop complaining here do it where it counts.
Vote against the party pushing for things you don't want.
Get like minded people doing the same.
Just a bit of advice from someone who has made a difference on the higher levels of gov.
2/22/2014 9:45:20 AM
lori says:
hey tiredofit. do you remember when we would disagree on everything. Not today.

if people honestly believe that we will attend the new centre and it's events, plus continue to support the auditorium to the same degree, are either intentionally naive, or dumber than I give them credit for.

As people are found to say about governments, there is only so much free money, after taxes, mortgage, expenses etc.

If you go to the hockey game tonight, are you going to the auditorium tomorrow.

The loss estimate for this facility is based on 4500 people per game.

So take off 500 per game off that estimate which is not unreasonable and the loss increases. The loss to the auditorium will increase, but like the mistake by the lake, the "supporters" do not care how much is spent, only that it is.

65 million for that little bit at Marina and the same people are making the call on this project, the same people who gave us the wind farm disaster.

Gee, why should any of us worry
2/21/2014 7:22:26 PM
pc says:
Cannot believe I am writing this to you.
You are actually making sense and I agree with you.
the center is not a necessity the hospital capacity is. I just wrote to Mr. Harper and Mr. Flaherty telling them this. I intend to write to all MP's letting them know how I feel. Won't bother with the Libs in Ont. since it is election year and the squeaky wheel and ridings at risk will get money poured into them. Useless ideas and all.
2/22/2014 12:09:38 PM
musicferret says:
Agree with Waldo. Every poll, and a large majority of those I hear speaking around town are against the centre. Was the poll the other day the same?

Regardless, we need a real check on public support, and we happen to have a virtually free way to do that: a plebiscite. Whats the harm? Beats the "cram it down our throats, spend all the money" thing we've got going now.
2/21/2014 6:14:06 PM
Watchful says:
I was trying to be polite when saying those against a plebisite must be afraid. It would appear that anyone here who questions the events centre is insulted on a regular basis, you know the usual comments such as "cane shakers or plain old get out of this city". If our taxes only went up $20.00 a year that is not bad, but this council has had the history of lying on a regular basis. For many of our citizens, taxes also include in their lifestyle water rates which are over inflated and super high hydro bills.. No one deserves to be told to get out because they question big ticket items. Believe me, after I get all info, I will make an informed decision and should I dislike the decision made, it will be my choice on whether to stay here or move, not the threats of over zealous renters. I believe that everyone should be respected and instead of threatening those who oppose, educate them with clean honest facts. Surprise, you may win them over.
2/21/2014 5:27:18 PM
fastball says:
I'd be a bit more gracious to the anti-faction, if only they'd come up with something a bit more fact-based than the generic "we can't afford it" line, or the increasingly-tiresome "wrong location" debate.
Bottom line is - at this point, nobody knows what this will cost. Nobody knows what revenue we may receive from other sources. Nobody knows exactly what amount we'll end up paying. Nobody knows what that will translate on our individual tax bill. Nobody here is intimately aware of the city's financial picture now, or in a decade.
I will admit to being a little less than tolerant of the NO faction - but only because they remind me of a mob scene, fanned by the rhetoric of a very small minority who think they are acting in the best interest of the community - yet possess very few actual facts.
I'm also convinced that some people would rather NOT have a facility - than have one at the proposed location.
Could we perhaps un-twist our knickers until we actually have some numbers?
2/22/2014 11:27:38 AM
glass half full says:

The entire project should be privately funded .... No tax payer money !

If there is so much interest and it is such a good thing, let the private companies with money to spend go ahead and build it.

The City should promote it to wealthy private investors but that's it. Sell the idea and then sit back and collect the taxes it will generate.

As far as location... Knock down the big elephant called Vic Ville! construct the event center near our new court house.
2/23/2014 1:44:19 PM
lori says:
dear Reg, my apologies. I thought I was commenting on the gas tax and where that money came from. Facts sorry for confusing you.
2/21/2014 2:41:46 PM
waldo says:
62% of those polled on tbnewswatch yesterday (over 1100) said "NO" to the event centre. Every poll so far has the same result. Plebescite please.
2/21/2014 1:25:22 PM
fastball says:
So basically...what you've got is 600 people (who may or may not have voted multiple times) who expressed a negative opinion.
Do we know how much this would cost? Do we know how much it would average out to the ordinary tax payer? Did we see how much other sources would chip in? No, no and no.
How can you vote intelligently on a question, given no facts whatsoever? And if those people - ones that don't need any facts to form an opinion - are the ones that are now running this town...then heaven help this place.
Bottom line - less than 1 percent of the population don't want an event centre built.
2/21/2014 8:43:58 PM
cm punk says:
A clear indicator where the priorities are for the various levels of government.
Events centre first and foremost.
Hospital crisis, Ahh, who really cares
2/21/2014 12:16:15 PM
glass half full says:

Money is flowing....

I wish it was an election year for all levels every other year...

Cheers... Keep the consultants paid!
2/21/2014 11:41:54 AM
pc says:
To my way of thinking a budget is wants and needs.
The hospital expansion is a want the sports center is a want.
Doing a budget for my simple family life you get the needs then work on the wants.
Too bad politicians think the other way around.
2/21/2014 11:17:53 AM
John@otb says:
Best news ever! I look forward to continue to watch the exciting transformation of the downtown Waterfront District, and witness as well as take part in this area becoming vibrant and filled with energy. Pushing forward Thunder Bay! Keep it up!
2/21/2014 10:50:21 AM
Reg says:
Dear lori the last time I checked your buddie Greg Rickford was a minister in the federal conservative party and he brought you tax dollars to Thunder Bay. So waldo enjoy the welfare money.
2/21/2014 8:07:33 AM
Watchful says:
So jetpowered why are you afraid of a plebisite? If this is a go,it should not bother you at all. I am neither for or against, but I do want truthful facts not just dancing in the street. I want all questions on finance answered. Then I as a tax payer can make an informed decision. Yes I have that right to vote on this big of an issue, it does affect my lifestyle.
2/20/2014 11:48:23 PM
fastball says:
So is that the only retort here?
If you don't agree with a plebiscite - so therefore, you must be automatically "afraid" of one?
I do agree with the notion of having ALL the facts here - including how much we're paying and also what that cost will work out to on the average tax bill. We could go 30-50M into this facility, and that might work out to an extra 20 bucks on our taxes. Is that amount worth all the aggravation?
2/21/2014 11:28:58 AM
Dunroamin says:
Growing properly one step at a time just like they said they would this is good news.remember all those negative comments and mis informed judgements about the new hospital how did that work out for Thunder Bay.all I ask is the silent majority of Thunder Bay keep to the plan of growing Thunder Bay with major projects =jobs and more tax revenues from the growth it creates just like the hospital is doing and keeps doing
Q for editor where did the Anthony Leblanc story go.?
2/20/2014 10:31:58 PM
Leith Dunick says:
2/20/2014 10:55:16 PM
Mrbusinessman says:
It's so much fun to read all of theses NIMBY's rambling on about their distaste for the idea of a new multi-plex. They all seem to think that Thunder Bay is perfect staying stuck in a time warp... A 60+ year old gardens (one of the oldest in canada) is supposed to continue on for another 30 or 40 years they seem to think.... Nobody in our city wants a new multiplex they say ... Well they are wrong, in fact there are many of us who can't wait for them to break ground on this fantastic project ... Let's make this city a more modern, progressive city ... Let the building begin ASAP!
2/20/2014 9:28:21 PM
Tiredofit says:
Ah there's that name again NIMBY! What about the current auditorium? It runs a deficit now, you think it's going to get any smaller when this opens? Who's paying for that? Our taxes continue to sky rocket because of poor management, our infrastructure is crumbling around us.

You mention the gardens, they want to reuse it for something new. If it's ok for that then it should be ok for the current programs!

Let's build it, we can simply increase the taxes until no one can afford them anymore! We have on of the largest tax rates in Canada , but hey it's only 2-3% right? Plus water increase, hydro increases (again the highest rates in Canada). It's 2-10% every where that's killing us! Our hospital in in almost constant gridlock, but that's a Provincial issue, so we needn't worry about that.. City knew what they were doing there as well didn't they! That's why they are being fined thru the nose by the Fire Marshall!

Yeah I know, don't like it move....
2/21/2014 6:23:40 AM
Hey Boy says:
Couldn't agree with you more Mrbusinessman. This city is 20 years behind the times and people around here seem content with that and it's sad. The people that are bitterly opposed to this project don't realize they are the minority. I can't wait until this building is built. Beautiful project to be proud of. Time to move on Thunder Bay or we'll be left behind. Just build it!!!
2/21/2014 9:35:49 AM
Kam River says:
I guess Mike and Billy are not ware that our hospital has been in gridlock since the end of December
FedNor and the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund gave over $1milion dollars for a rock concert hall.
It appear that they do not care about our citizen and there health care needs.
Admin has convinced that the Multiplex is more important.
Hopefully when a new council is elected in Oct they will care about all our citizens. Not a select few who want to party.
2/20/2014 7:46:56 PM
lori says:
small point Waldo. The gas tax money is coming to the city from the province not the Feds.

And to all of my friends out there who hate the liberals,

I do not like this project at all and do not want it to go ahead and I laughed when I read the comments from Mr. Gravelle.

Understating is not a strength of Mr. Gravelle.
2/20/2014 7:46:29 PM
chezhank says:
Not to fault Minister Gravelle,he had no idea that the Phase three costs doubled from the 2013 city budget.
But Lori, Waldo is right....not that the truth matters much in Thunder Bay.

Fed Gas Tax ...$6.9 million
Prov Gas Tax...$1.9 million
2/21/2014 7:20:09 AM
REG says:
How can all you conservatives stand that the feds are going to give our tax dollars to this project! All I kept hearing from you local cons was this is a welfare project now your buddies are chipping in. Sleep tight and watch this building go up this should be great for all citizens of Thunder bay love it!!!
2/20/2014 6:42:42 PM
pc says:
I for one have written to many of the MP's plus Mr. Harper saying I am against it.
May not do much but it is better than just complaining here.
I won't bother with the Libs. since they hold this riding and money will pour in as it is election year and there might be a chance of keeping it Lib if they spend enough of our money buying the votes.
2/27/2014 4:42:31 PM
chezhank says:
When I asked mayor Hobbs how the cost for Phase 3 of the proposed event centre doubled from 2013,I was directed to Michael Smith who declined to comment.
In the 2013 budget it was $930,000.00,in 2014 the price tag climbed to $1.96 million.
Good thing inflation in Thunder Bay was only 0.85% for 2013.
2/20/2014 6:39:55 PM
theendgame says:
when you look at this picture, it's a picture of 5 guys who got owned and taken to the woodshed by horizon wind.
2/22/2014 7:38:09 AM
Curious says:
I guess it is a done deal. They say it is too early for a plebescite, yet it is practically a definite go.
2/20/2014 6:11:14 PM
The Ultimate Warrior says:


2/20/2014 5:37:17 PM
Jetpowered says:
I can't wait for this to be built......it will be amazing.....progress people! Yes it costs money but guess what? You lost! It will be built whether you like it or not now quit complaining every time the city wants to move us forward....it's always the same complainers....now they are just mad because it won't be built where they wanted so now they want to kill the whole project....well guess what you will lose! There is already to much money invested! So when it opens and the AHL is in town stay home .
So let's hear some more pointless complaining from Smith and his merry men!
2/20/2014 5:28:58 PM
fastball says:
Only in Thunder Bay can the gift of a million dollars - and a strong sense of possibly tens of millions more forthcoming - be viewed with such disdain.
Honestly, the sour-grapes mentality is embarrassing to the point of offensiveness.
2/20/2014 5:26:01 PM
common cents says:
Because its soon wrong to continue to patch a patched downtown core!
2/24/2014 5:44:03 PM
dockboy says:
Come hell or high water this council is determined to build this ridiculous structure. God have mercy on us all.
2/20/2014 4:51:56 PM
conker2012 says:
Who need a so called "God" when we have sound economic and financial analysis on our sides.

2/20/2014 4:57:01 PM
waldo says:
The new federal $53-billion New Building Canada Plan starting in 2014-15 is just a redistribution of the gas tax the City was already getting. Point is the 2/3 from province and feds city expects for multiplex will not be new $ to city it will be $ reallocated.
2/20/2014 4:33:20 PM
ring of fire dude says:
And away we go ! ( I mean pay thru the nose for the next 30 years ),
2/20/2014 4:14:18 PM
musicferret says:
Of course they are.

There are elections coming up and the final funding won't be required until after those elections..... so by putting forward this tiny drop, they can make it look like they will still support the project, and then say no after the election.

Although, the feds have already specifically said they will NOT give money to this type of project, as per the recent budget infrastructure spending announcement. It specifically precludes sports and events centres like this.
2/20/2014 4:13:17 PM
conker2012 says:
And you only read one line from the budget. Good job!

Yes under chapter 3 there is a line that states that a specific fund cannot be used for sports facilities, but does not exclude all the other funding pots in this chapter. This is called selective reading.
2/20/2014 4:54:08 PM
musicferret says:
So what you are saying is, even though the budget specifically stated that the giant infrastructure pot can't be used on this type of project, and even though they have very recently publicly stated that they are not in the business of supporting this type of project (they brought up examples like Quebec city's new possible arena and Red Deer).

Soooo..... you're suggesting that just because they said they won't, and then laid out infrastructure money and specifically said that it can't be used for this type of thing, that somehow they have million just sitting there ready to give to us? Perhaps you saw that line in the budget under "secret sports funding" that I missed?

Seems to me that the line I saw under "NOT GOING TO FUND IT" is a little more concrete.
2/20/2014 11:35:50 PM
waldo says:
Sound like time for a plebescite!
2/20/2014 3:51:32 PM
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