Tbnewswatch Local News
Tuesday June 30 2015
9:51 PM EDT
2014-04-01 at 22:31

Chance of a plebiscite?

A member of the audience asks a question during Tuesday
Matt Vis, tbnewswatch.com
A member of the audience asks a question during Tuesday's event centre plebiscite public meeting.
By Matt Vis, tbnewswatch.com

With time starting to run out, the plebiscite push might be gaining traction at city hall.

Despite it looking like the deadline to add a ballot question would just slide past, talk at Tuesday evening’s public meeting pushing to include an event centre vote on October’s municipal election ballot indicated the issue might be discussed at city council.

At-large council candidate Kimberly Coreau addressed the meeting and said there are some current councillors who may look to raise the plebiscite issue at an upcoming council meeting.

She claims Coun. Larry Hebert is in favour of a ballot question, adding that he is supposedly working on composing a specific question.

In an email response sent to Dougall Media later in the evening, Hebert said that he is “trying to get a comprehensive memo to council” as soon as possible.

She also claimed Coun. Linda Rydholm is looking at the issue and that conversations with Coun. Rebecca Johnson and Coun. Joe Virdiramo suggest they believe there may be a plebiscite added to the ballot.

That would be news to Concerned Citizens of Thunder Bay (CTTB) chairman Ray Smith, who acknowledged the low chances of seeing a question on the ballot despite his belief an overwhelming portion of the population wants a say.

“I don’t think there’s any (support from council) but we’re going to push anyways. Maybe some (councillors) will wake up and understand what the public is saying,” he told local media before the meeting, which was held at the Da Vinci Centre.

“The public wants a vote. You can go anywhere around town--coffee shops, shopping malls, to your friends, to your neighbours--and what do they say? They say there should be a plebiscite.”

Approximately 100 people, mostly over the age of 50, braved the weather and attended the meeting. Of those, there desire for a plebiscite was unmistakable.

A quick show of hands at the beginning of the meeting saw only four individuals indicate they were opposed to the plebiscite.

City manager Tim Commisso voluntarily stepped into the frying pan by attending the meeting, following the lead of mayor Keith Hobbs who was in the audience for a recent meeting.

Commisso was the target for a significant number of the speakers either in favour of a plebiscite or completely against the project, including Smith.

He was shouted down during his initial attempts to speak to the crowd before order was restored and he was allowed to discuss federal and provincial funding as well as the Renew Thunder Bay Fund.

Story continues after video...



There were many vocal audience members throughout the course of the meeting.

One audience member threatened to riot and withhold his taxes if a plebiscite was not on the October ballot while invoking comparisons to Russia.

Guest speaker Jim McConnell provided multiple history lessons, including the role of the nearly 800-year-old Magna Carta in preventing “excessive oppressive governments” and said city council is not following it.

Some of the most common reasons given in opposition to the event centre included increasing taxes, need for improved infrastructure and the cost of the project.

Andrew Bryan, who says he has a business degree from McMaster University and has been a travelling musician, spoke out against the project.

He compared the thought of an event centre to “offering candy” to the public and said most people get too caught up with the thought of the project and lose a sense of reality.

Bryan acknowledged his relative youth compared to the rest of the audience and said his touring experience has left him with a negative view of similar facilities.

“Those facilities are a cash drain on these cities,” Bryan said. “It’s a difficult place to be because your fixed costs of running a show are very high.”

He doesn’t buy the argument that people from the region and surrounding areas will come flocking to the city. He said potential tourists south of the border would just go to Minneapolis and those in the Kenora region would head to Winnipeg.

“Why on earth would anyone drive to Thunder Bay and pay the high price to justify any type of act coming in a smaller theatre to come here?” Bryan asked.

While most of the audience supported those asking for a plebiscite or directly against the project, there were some who spoke in favour of the other side.

Steve Robinson takes issue with Smith’s claims to be representing the majority of Thunder Bay citizens.

He stood in front of the crowd to voice his support for the current proposal and was promptly heckled and berated.

He expected that would come with the territory.

“I think for anybody to make a statement that they represent any group of people is just a little misleading,” Robinson said.

“I think right now a group like this is getting a lot more attention and the other side will get their voice.”

The CTTB are planning on holding a rally in front of city hall prior to the next council meeting on Monday.

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Pandora says:


$103 MILLION QUOTED TODAY WILL BE MIN $150 before they get anywhere close to finished. AND WE WILL BE HEARING, IT'S TOO LATE NOW....




4/4/2014 6:42:41 PM
Jon Powers says:

" @Jon - Have you even read the Phase 2 feasibility report? It is obvious you haven't read the report or are so desperate that you'll make anything up to try and prove a point. The Phase 2 feasibility study, available on the City of Thunder Bay website, specifically recommends a seating bowl with a capactiy of 5,700 fixed seats.

Jon, as per usual, it is incredibly difficult to take anything you write seriously."

1, 5,700 fixed seats for Hockey!

2, 7,400 seats for Championship Boxing/MMA!

3, 6,000+ seats for Non-Sport Mode ie concert!

Source Phase 2 Report!

What you can't read?

What a "Cane-Shaker"!

Great Posts Everyone!
4/3/2014 1:01:19 PM
Sam1234 says:
Just by looking at the amount of likes to each side of the debate, the number of people supporting the event centre is way more than the number of people opposing...
4/2/2014 7:02:53 PM
fastball says:
Mr. Commisso made a lot of sense. If our share is going to be 30 million (give or take) and we've already got 25M or so in the kitty - the city isn't going to have to borrow an onerous amount of money to cover the difference. Let's also not forget there may be private money coming in from corporations, naming rights and if the Jets want this place to be a home to their team, they can cough up a few shekels too.
Having to (maybe) borrow 5-odd million dollars is a far cry from the 106M dollar figure that Ray Smith & Company has been screaming from the top of every mountain. And if there's no money coming from other sources - the project is dead.
Let's call it like it is, Mr. Smith - you're pissed off that the downtown site was chosen. Plain and simple. Period. Those little comments about the location being "wrong" every time your get wound up gives it all away.
As the previous poster stated...if you can't play ball YOUR way - you're gonna make sure that no one's going play ball.
4/2/2014 5:54:36 PM
progress now says:
Interesting comment:

"Mr. Commisso made a lot of sense. If our share is going to be 30 million (give or take) and we've already got 25M or so in the kitty - the city isn't going to have to borrow an onerous amount of money..."

Its a shell game. You say you don't borrow for the event centre, but borrow to cover expenses elsewhere. Its all out of the same pot. Don't be tricked buy that silliness.

The event centre is a good idea or the event centre is a bad idea - you take your pick and god bless you. But don't offer up Mr. C's parlour tricks in support.
4/2/2014 9:59:10 PM
Renegade120860 says:
What is becoming apparent in this debate, on both sides of the issue, is that any chance of reasonable discussion is being hijacked by rude, boorish, obnoxious hicks!
4/2/2014 5:26:37 PM
progress now says:
I agree there is no room for rudeness in public debate.

I should point out that city council in hearing deputations from citizens was reported to be and was in fact obnoxious and disrespectful.

This whole event centre thing was handled badly from the beginning.

No one can be accused of sound leadership on either side.
4/2/2014 6:15:34 PM
grazzroots says:
First of all i am a senior that lives in Northwood and i support the location in downtown as the best site. This Smith guy was on the directors of the Twins and when they folded he only set foot in the Gardens when he was handing out pamphlets. He also formed a group to oppose raising of golf fees they listened to him and now Municipal is closing. He supported a nnew arena in Inova park and when that site was turned down he dident want any arena. He has been a "if you dont want to do as i say i'm taking my ball and going home" person . Check out the facts he is feeding you coolade
4/2/2014 4:45:48 PM
hermannelson says:
I have lived here most of my life wish I had moved and I'm stuck here for the rest. I'm a huge supporter of hockey most of all at at lower levels than pro and semi pro. It is very very disappointing at what this city is doing to the Thunder Bay North Stars Junior A team. In the next week or so they are shutting down the ice to the North Stars forcing them to go to a small crowded can't see the game properly venue.Thank you Thunder Bay for your lousy support of junior hockey and it's players representing this town.Oh but you are going to build a new arena and hope to bring an AHL team here. Good luck and who in this town is going to support that team and for how long.I agree we need a new facility but stop lying to us, and please let the North Stars finish their season in their home.Oh yes they do pay rent for the ice. Treat these players with respect after all they represent this city.If not you should be ashamed of yourselves.
4/2/2014 2:20:40 PM
old vienna says:
The reason the mayor doesn't want a plebiscite is because his campaign team have been conducting their own polls and surprise surprise the results show 65-75% would vote not to build an event center.
4/2/2014 2:16:17 PM
JubJub says:
The next poll on tbnewswatch should be:

Are you a cane shaker
Are you a skateboard shaker
4/2/2014 1:37:49 PM
Reignmaker says:

FYI the stuff that was marble shaped came from the thrust jets stage side. Also, the roof at the Gardens isn't plaster.
4/2/2014 1:11:36 PM
Jon Powers says:
Leith Dunick:

"I spoke to the mayor on March 21 and he told me the city is looking to try to reduce the cost to $90 million and possibly lower the scale of the facility from 5,600 seats to 5,000. (I also understand that $1 would be too much for some, just passing along the information here)."

What happend to the 7,400 seat complex as outlined in Phase 2?

It's so very nice to see our Mayor Hobbs selling the community short on seats!

Talk about "Flip-Flopping"!

What a "Sell-Out"!

What a "Liberal"!

It's still too small in concert mode and its in the wrong location.

I've read all the citys' 27 "Arena" projects from 1970-2014. Under 20,000 pages of info.

I've said this before; If the hospital or casino plebiscite were to come up during this councils term?

Guess what we wouldn't have those buildings or jobs either!

So much for being for developement!


Great Article!
Great Posts Everyone!
4/2/2014 1:03:10 PM
bttnk says:
@Jon - Have you even read the Phase 2 feasibility report? It is obvious you haven't read the report or are so desperate that you'll make anything up to try and prove a point. The Phase 2 feasibility study, available on the City of Thunder Bay website, specifically recommends a seating bowl with a capactiy of 5,700 fixed seats.

Jon, as per usual, it is incredibly difficult to take anything you write seriously.
4/2/2014 2:46:27 PM
Jack Frost says:
Very Disappointed...

I attended this somewhat disorganised meeting last night, and I was very disappointed with all the rude behaviour and shameful heckling from many in attendance.

Many people were hostile and very rude towards Tim Commisso and also towards the LU Professor while he attempted to bring forth valuable information to help everyone.

Ray Smith was not at all impressive to say the least and Vern Seymour had a shocking and inexcusable temper tantrum "spazzing out" towards the LU Professor while he was speaking.

Guest speaker Jim McConnell was really the only welcome highlight, providing multiple history lessons, including the role of the nearly 800-year-old Magna Carta in preventing
“excessive oppressive governments” and said city council is not following it.

This is and was my first and last time that I will ever waste my time attending these sorts of gatherings run by "Sugar Ray" and "mayor in waiting" Hank... LOL !!

So sad for Thunder Bay and it's fine citizens.
4/2/2014 1:00:13 PM
S Duncan says:
Tim Commisso makes over $200K/year.

The LU prof is probably over $100K/year.

do you think they can afford to have their taxes increase more so than the people of Thunder Bay with an average family income around $55-$75K?

also, is Commisso a city tax payer? does he live within the city limits? How about the LU prof? does he actually pay taxes to the city?

again, unless you are an enumerated person in Thunder Bay, your opinion does not count. The easiest, cost effective way to gauge support for or against this is with a plebiscite.

That way we are sure to ask the people that will be paying for it whether they want it or not. The system of registering voters is already in place an proven to work.

If the mayor can accept the vote of the public for his position of mayor, then he must accept the vote of the public if they want this welfare dome or not.

How can he claim the voters are uneducated but he can accept their uneducated vote for his position?

what does that make him?
4/2/2014 1:49:59 PM
razor_burn says:
Hahaha. Wow. What a bunch of know nothing whiners. What else is new though. We don't need an event center. We didn't need a new courthouse either. Any argument that we do/did is uneducated and invalid.
4/2/2014 12:58:16 PM
S Duncan says:
and again,


someone care to answer that question?

and conker, you keep yammering about it costing $100s of thousands for a plebiscite. That is totally incorrect. With a plebiscite the cost is a mere $50K and that's only related to advertising. The actual cost is minimal. Stop making deliberate incorrect statements.

Fatball keeps claiming that we don't know the costs, but that's not true in the least. we have spent those hundreds of thousands already buying opinions of consultants to help sway Commisso's dream of welfare hockey to come true.

The costs of a plebiscite are minimal in dollar figures, but the cost of this welfare dome is huge. Not just once, but every year it is now projected to LOSE $1.2 Million!! that's every year folks.

that's not interest on the debt, that's the operational losses the taxpayer will have to cough up.

not including the ongoing auditorium which will suffer as well as the gardens.

its a terrible plan.
4/2/2014 12:49:27 PM
bttnk says:
@S Duncan - Conker keeps suggesting the plebiscite will cost a few hundred thousand dollars because that is what council and the mayor estimated the cost to be.

Where exactly did you get your estimate of $50K?
4/2/2014 1:19:34 PM
S Duncan says:

If they put out a special survey/vote to the public the costs would have exceeded $100K, most likely being near to $200K.

Adding the plebiscite to this October's election will be minimal, as estimated to be $50-$55K and most of it was for advertising.

That info is from the city itself and has been included in more than one story right on this website.

Are you still AGAINST democracy and people having a vote?
4/2/2014 2:15:04 PM
S Duncan says:
here it is, its contained in this story.

4/2/2014 2:18:03 PM
fastball says:
Did I miss the meeting where the city's share of the cost was announced? Are we paying 20M or 40M or 80M dollars? THOSE are the numbers I'm talking about, S Dumbcan. (oh, I'm sorry...did I accidently misspell your name? I must have - because deliberately misspelling it would be stupid to the point of juvenile)
Stay classy, though. You fit right in.
4/2/2014 3:01:02 PM
festus says:
I call BS on you and everyone who keeps saying this Event Centar losing money.
With this "Thunder Bay Live" group which include Global Spectrum, events will come.
It will be a great place to enjoy what may come.
4/2/2014 3:14:29 PM
S Duncan says:
the city's own optimistic estimates in phase 2 say $1,200,000.00

every year, projected losses.

call it want you want but its a loss.

that's AFTER your events!
4/2/2014 4:00:22 PM
fastball says:
Why do you characterize everyone who doesn't want a plebiscite as "Afraid"?
Why don't I want one? Firstly, how can one say that we can't afford an event centre when we don't know how much our share will be?
If the Yes side prevails...that means the project MUST proceed. Even if the other levels of gov't decide not to contribute a dime, our city will be on the hook to build and pay for the whole thing ourselves. You cannot ask a question whether to build one, get a Yes vote, and then decide that the time isn't right and shelve the project. Gosh, that would be subverting the will of the people! Undemocratic.
4/2/2014 10:03:02 PM
Eastender says:
Yes you can get a yes vote that can be contingent on the cost of building. The English language is quite flexible to accomodate such a question.
4/3/2014 8:51:52 AM
S Duncan says:
Mentioning the age of people in attendance is almost unprofessional.

It may be true, it may not be true. If you are not using any method to back up that statement, then facts become opinions.

but I wont dwell on that.

Have any of you ever been to ward meetings? Every meeting is largely attended by people above 50.

They are the ones who have time, the concerns, the experience, and the knowledge to see how this is playing out.

On election day, the people most likely to vote are the older folks among us, not the young. The young are too busy and most likely the most uninformed of all voters.

So the age of people in attendance is consistent with the age of all civic matters similar to this. That's who is interested in politics more than any other age group.

Next, How is it that people can still say the public is uninformed or uneducated on the matter and we should let our elected people decide?

Heres the problem, how can those uninformed people suddenly choose an informed council?
4/2/2014 12:42:51 PM
The Beaver..... says:
YQT why.. please tell me would I support you with so little respect for others, and help you build a complex.
That is never going to happen I promise
4/2/2014 11:55:35 AM
yqt says:
Just cause you might be cash strapped, doesn't mean the rest of us are.

"so little respect"? You wanna see so little respect, go to one of those anti-mutlipex meeting, you'll see plenty of that there.

You promise? Hmmm... A promise is a commitment by someone to do or not do something. What is it you intend or don't intend to do?
4/2/2014 11:02:09 PM
Rusty Nails says:
Just how much money exactly are the NHL
Winnipeg Jets contributing to the total building costs, plus upkeep and maintenance for their farm team's new play ground and for how long ???

And, from where exactly, are all the supposed countless "bus loads" of people with money going to be coming from ?!

Remember all the Casino promises with "bus loads" of cash bearing folks ...

Hey, let's get the Casino to fund this project
as they are now the only one's with this sort of disposable cash !!
4/2/2014 11:54:49 AM
thunder-bay-guy says:
@Kam River I take offence to you stating the I am not a "real" professional. I work for a large corporation that is investing long term in this city. My family owns various businesses in this city that contribute to the economy of Thunder Bay. I am concerned about the long term costs of this facility, but also trust that city council and city administration are doing their due dilligence to make sure that the citizens of this city will be good moving forward. It's time for Thunder Bay to move forward with a proper events centre so we can bring more tourism dollars to this city. The Fort William Gardens in long passed its prime as a venue for events. The new events centre will give this city, a city that has the capability of hosting world class events, to host even more. Trade shows, auto shows, The Tim Horton's Brier, Scotties Tournament of Heart, World Curling Events, and large scale conferences. Bring on the new events centre, it's time to move forward
4/2/2014 11:49:34 AM
youngintbay says:
The cane shakers in my family are for the new ebent center being built at the water front. How is Innova Park going to make money for this city. Once the hockey game or concert is over were do you go after? Usually people will go to a pub or bar for a drink and apps. Where in Innova park do you have this? If you Build it, They will come!
4/2/2014 11:28:28 AM
S Duncan says:
If they are for the event center then wouldn't you want them to have their vote on it?

PS the welfare dome will not make money for Thunder Bay regardless of its location. It will lose $1.2 million every year just to operate it.

Is that difficult to understand?
4/2/2014 4:10:40 PM
Event Centre Fan says:
Conservative estimate, there's 40,000 households in Thunder Bay, all of which pay taxes directly or indirectly. That's $30 a year, or about $2.50 a month, if the entire amount was needed.

Add in a few more businesses that spring up in the area. There's more money in the kitty, more jobs, more support of local business.

What I want to know is where is the hue and cry over the losses incurred by the Canada Games Complex, a facility that consistently loses more than a million dollars every year and competes with privately owned gyms and other publicly owned pools. Other than the diving club, what unique services does it offer that couldn't be transferred to Lakehead University's pool or another city owned pool?
4/2/2014 4:19:01 PM
Event Centre Fan says:
And as for your call for a plebiscite, how about chilling out and waiting for all the facts to be known? Why are you afraid to wait? Scared that once the truth about the costs are out there for everyone to evaluate that it'll gain even more support? Why the rush? Worried voters will see through the anti-event-centre group's campaign of misinformation and lies?
4/2/2014 4:29:24 PM
tbaycat says:
“Event Centre Fan”. Perhaps at the time we old “cane shakers”, “backwards thinkers” thought it was a good idea for our community to have this kind of facility built. Are you now saying that we were wrong to try to move our city forward out of the dark ages?

What you have inadvertently done with your statement about the Canada games complex is to show exactly what happens when people are fed a grand idea and then get all caught up on it. Damn the torpedoes! Who cares what it will cost now and in the future!

City councils are always looking to make their mark with legacy projects. Canada games complex, auditorium, revitalization of the downtown cores, Victoriaville, Keskus….. I could go on and on. What you need to know is that no matter what they say, they really don’t know what’s going on. They get fed the “facts” from consultants and people who are looking to make a quick buck. What usually ends up happening is the taxpayer gets stuck paying the bill for a long, long time.
4/3/2014 2:27:10 AM
YQT says:
I had it all wrong last time. It wasn't a coffee and donut collection at library meeting .... It's was a bus fare collection to get all those opposed to this project down to city hall for the rally. My apologies.
4/2/2014 11:11:10 AM
tbaycat says:
Wow yqt. What an intelligent comment. It just proves ONCE AGAIN that your side can’t come up with anything more than cheap shots to back up your case. I suggest that you grow up a little before you try again to join the grownups in this discussion

4/3/2014 1:07:49 AM
yqt says:
I don't need cheap shots to back up my case. (although you leave the door wide open for it) Paying my property tax bill every year is my voice; And if it involves paying more each year for a new arena, so be it. For those who think that their property taxes are more than they can afford, maybe your living beyond you means.
4/3/2014 4:42:09 PM
sam says:
I really wish the people using the term "cane shakers" would stop using that term, they are talking about their parents, and grandparents. They probably think it is funny, but call them seniors, or even call the old people, but don't ridicule them with that awful term.
4/2/2014 11:03:34 AM
yqtyqt says:
They haven't yet realized that they're future cane shakers.

Of course it's offensive and discriminatory. Too bad that tbnewswatch hasn't figured it out yet.

I thought that there were guidelines on this site for posting. Maybe not?

4/2/2014 11:39:02 AM
animiki says:
I admit to having misgivings about the event center project, mainly because of the ongoing operating costs issue, less so the capital construction costs. That said, I haven't really settled on an opinion, yet. I like to see new development in the city, that moves us forward. However, given that we have limited resources, we have to ensure that what we're purchasing with our money will give us the best value. I've yet to see a clear business case put forward for the ongoing financial viability of this center, and that's a huge missing piece.

The big question for me is, to those opposed to a plebiscite, why the opposition? Put aside the controversy--this is a massive project with huge cost. Why not publicize the business case in clear, unambiguous terms, then allow the people to vote? To both sides, I then further ask--will you live with the results? If you're opposed, will you accept the will of the majority if the vote is yes/proceed, or will you continue your opposition?
4/2/2014 11:01:01 AM
ou812 says:
Ray Smith gets way too much pub! He did it in the 90s and he's trying to do it again...

Ray Smith and his buddies are just upset about the location. They can't support anything outside of Fort William. they can't possibly venture North into PA for anything. It's like they think the earth is flat and if they go too far up Memorial or Balmoral they will fall off the edge and die.

The Earth is round guys... Come North, the air is cleaner up here and there's a beautiful view of the lake from the new Waterfront.

The choice has been made. The public had their chance, there were three meetings to voice concerns. That time has past.

Council please don't flip flop on this one! Our future depends on you

4/2/2014 10:56:46 AM
festus says:
We have a city council to do what is best for this city. Everyone keeps saying they want a decision in what is done with there tax money. and want a plebiscite.
If thats the case I want a plebiscite on every thing thats done at city hall. Save money by having a Mayor and 3-4 councillors. put everything to a plebiscite.
4/2/2014 10:54:12 AM
Hank says:
You gotta hand it to Commisso for standing up and being chastised by a bunch of ignorant childish whiners. Maybe those people should hold their breath till they get their way. Commisso for Mayor! Or at least councillor at large...
4/2/2014 10:54:05 AM
Kam River says:
thunder-bay-guy says "I am a young professional in this city."
Wants the community to move foreward with something that the community can not afford
If you are a real professional you would have concerns about the long term costs.
4/2/2014 10:36:42 AM
conker2012 says:
As a young professional I would suggest some reading www.thecostofsprawl.com . One condo pays for the estimated revenue shortfall of the event center. A second condo will increase revenue while reducing the demand on everyone.

Intensification is the only way of reasonably reducing taxation. The event center will promote intensification, you want lower taxes build the event centre.
4/2/2014 12:10:42 PM
Leith Dunick says:
Just an FYI to everyone. I spoke to the mayor on March 21 and he told me the city is looking to try to reduce the cost to $90 million and possibly lower the scale of the facility from 5,600 seats to 5,000. (I also understand that $1 would be too much for some, just passing along the information here).
4/2/2014 10:36:28 AM
musicferret says:
I think we need to come to an understanding why this thing is more than double most other projects of the same size in other cities.

Thats the question we all have. It would be a very different discussion if we were still looking at $50m or so.
Yes, construction costs have risen in recent years, but more than double the whole project?
4/2/2014 10:55:16 AM
yqtyqt says:
Let's call it the Thunder Bay factor:

1. If Administration says its going to cost $1million, then you can assume that the final cost will be $1.5million. Sound familiar anyone? Leave it to Admin to dig into the excuse bag for an explanation later.

2. Labour costs / disruptions / stop orders etc. Once this thing starts, it's ripe for cherry picking and profit taking.

3. Because contractors know that the City will fold like a cheap card table when they want more money. In larger communities, there's more competition.

4. Proponents & management follow a playbook and instructions from Council on how to hook & bait the taxpayers on costs. They'll estimate low to sell the project, bait the residents with over-inflated expectations, and then hit them with reality once the project is underway. It's happened over and over in all major capital projects in Tbay. The outcome is predictable before it even begins.

5. Because politicians can't say no. No guts, no sense of fiscal responsibility.
4/2/2014 11:34:14 AM
progress now says:
My impression is that it would be required to get the cost below 100 million to be eligible for federal funding - and not to keep the cost down for the sake of good government.

I think people want to get this thing right, not kill the project. There has just been a lot to deal with. The gardens need replacing - they don't need replacing. The cost of the centre is said to have been approved at 50 million which now represents pre-approval of 106 million. We still can't figure out the whole parking structure thing. All this after cost overruns and more at PAL, which the city attributed to not being "realistic" before the last election. Well, we are heading into another one. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.

Its not black and white, there are shades of grey here. Media reporting is never that nuanced. And that is part of the problem too.

4/2/2014 2:32:41 PM
Reignmaker says:
I disagree with the antics of the group opposed. However, it doesn't change the costs of the center being ridiculous, the site being stupid or the burden it will leave for us under forty.

If you keep using the meetings as justification for why the ccotb will fail, then you really need to look at the supporters there as well. Apparently, there are alot less people for than against. Either stop spewing the 100 as a whole or take the low number for it as a whole as well.

FYI our last major concert didn't come close to selling out even the gardens. Why would we need almost 3000 more seats? Event Center is a nice idea but not overly needed and to expensive to make worthwhile given the stakes for our future.
4/2/2014 10:31:16 AM
Alexa says:
I suspect that alot of these people aren't against the centre itself but they are against the location choice and would like it at Innova park. If I were to guess further, I bet alot of these people showing up at the meetings live on the south side of town. Maybe alot of this is still disapproval is still based on the Port Arthur versus the Fort William thing......... I am not sure if anyone would own up to those feelings, but I bet they are at the heart of some of this. I think downtown north core is the logical place for this. And by the way. STOP lumping all people over 50 in a particular group. There are lots of over 50 people who are in favour of this and other development and are forward thinkers.
4/2/2014 10:28:19 AM
Dan Dan says:
You have to hand it to Ray Smith. He has effectively misled a small but militant gang of seniors into campaigning for a plebiscite. And they're getting headlines. Time for the rest of the citizenry to be equally vocal in their support for a new events centre!
4/2/2014 10:06:22 AM
TBAY Duffer says:
Agreed. Which is why you have nothing to fear with a vote on the question.

4/2/2014 12:05:36 PM
Eastender says:
Good luck with that!
4/2/2014 7:42:48 PM
Inwiththenew says:
I commend the 100 or so who took the time to attend the meeting in the wild and wicked weather Mother Nature serves up for us. However, I must say this........

Take a look at Duluth with Amsel Arena and Sault Ste Marie with the Essar Centre. Very nice facilities for the people to enjoy for years to come.

May I point out that both of these cities are smaller than ours and they took the leap of faith for their citizens to provide a facility for the youth too enjoy for many years. And heck we may even enjoy a semi pro hockey game and some great entertainment that you can actually hear. (Sorry FWG)

It simple

Build it. Period. Move on.
4/2/2014 10:03:21 AM
keiths31 says:
Look at Duluth, with it's metropolitan population of over 200,000 people to draw from.

Look at Sault Ste. Marie, which has an OHL team that is over 50 years old and will be a primary tenant for another 50.

I am all for the events centre, but do have issues with the size and location. Unlike the other cities you have compared us to, they did not have two cities combined into one. Why is this a relevant point? Well our two downtowns are much smaller than either of the Duluth's or Sault's downtowns as those cities developed one large downtown area. The larger downtown areas have the infrastructure, parking and space for their arenas. If Thunder Bay had developed as one city from the get go and had a 'proper' singular downtown, there would be no issue.

I support the event centre, but at Innova Park.
4/2/2014 11:27:38 AM
bttnk says:
@Keiths31 - I am glad that you are a supporter of the event centre, but I have to point out that the decision on the location has been determined after a lengthy conslutant review. At this point, if you are in support of the event centre, you are supporting a build in the Waterfront District.
4/2/2014 1:11:36 PM
Sandwiches1123 says:
Sadly, this city has two separate but important divisions it is still dealing with. In many cases, the "Port Arthur vs Fort William" divide is alive and well. However, we have a new battleground as well. I don't know what to call it nor what specific cut off is, but the divide is based on age. I sit on the fence on this issue. We should have built this 10 years ago because we need to replace the Gardens. Does the location work? I don't know, I'm not qualified to answer this question, which makes me wonder who is qualified to answer the question.

Our politicians have been developing our City to be a retirement community because of the "Silver Tsunami". Yet there is a concern that our population is stagnant or declining. It is difficult to grow a population, when you effectively alienate people below a certain age. But, we also face the issue that the tax payers who show up to meetings and call politicians are the ones who are heard.

4/2/2014 10:02:32 AM
hounddog says:
Like it or not there are those of us in all age groups - myself being in the generation Y category that want a say where our money will be spent. Our taxes are already high and I should be able to say if I agree with a) an Event Centre and b) where it should be located. We all will be paying for this project for many years to come and all are entitled to a say. No I did not attend the meeting last night because of the negative attitude of those that are for the Event Centre that do not give those of us that are on the fence respect and consideration but instead insult and attack us for saying hey wait a minute lets think about this.
4/2/2014 9:52:08 AM
nascarrulez says:
For all those people that think that the Gardens is still in great shape and can be used for 10-20 more years, so don't build the event centre, maybe you should have been at the Hedley concert on this past Monday. During the course of the concert, there were pieces of the ceiling falling to the floor. If sound waves can make marble sized chunks of the plaster shake loose, maybe it's time to come to terms that the Gardens has outlived it's usefulness. Or maybe we should wait until a huge chunk falls on someone or better yet, lets sink another $20 million into renovating it. The new event centre is the right way to go.
4/2/2014 9:25:37 AM
dockboy says:
Wait for the movie.
4/2/2014 9:24:33 AM
youngintbay says:
Just build the dam event center. I pay taxes so let my words be heard. And when the election comes up I`m voting Hobbs again. Its funny to look at these photos from these meetings and seeing all the cane shakers there. Go enjoy the rest of your life why are you wasting it at these functions. People will come if they truly are a fan of a band that comes to Thunder Bay. Lots of our youth in this city my get more into sports or get noticed if we have this event center. Do it for the Younger generation of this city.
4/2/2014 9:07:43 AM
sideways says:
Ok I have stayed out of this but really "Mayor in waiting". Henry Wojack you have now guaranteed I would never EVER vote for you or any person associated with you.Your arrogance and fear mongering is an embarrassment to any person with the ability to see through the smokescreen you and others keep putting up.
I will repeat what has been stated at least 100 times to all of you archaic dinosaurs "there will be no event center with out all levels of government involvement". The price tag and the "data" you and your following are using is flawed and misleading I am not stupid and I have the ability to read the data gathered in a tried and valid scientific method.
4/2/2014 9:06:40 AM
conker2012 says:
For a second time this group demands a "pebliscite" or is it "Pliebiscite" , I am confused.

I thought they wanted a Plebiscite, but have posted two illegal blackboard signs on city property where they have miss-spelled plebiscite twice.

Ray and his gang make personal attacks against council members, administration and the group supports the event center, while they makeup information claiming it to be fact. How can council members support such childish behavior?

Many of the people are miss-informed about the event centre, urban growth and even their "leader".

Here is some truth

In my opinion, Mr. Smith destroyed a chance for the upper levels of government to pay for a new arena for our community 20 years ago. He also lies at the meeting to the attendees because he is not opposed to the event center, he is for it at Innova and even maintains a web blog on the topic.

If you want the truth and want credible information see the Citizens for a North Core Multiplex group on Facebook.
4/2/2014 9:06:11 AM
Molly says:
I recall Mr. Smith protesting the Marina project as well. Waving a sign at cars on a Water St.
We now see this project successfully bringing in people to the cores with several new residential properties, each of these adding tax revenue to help pave the roads and fix the sewers. It seems like it's working out just fine.
4/2/2014 9:03:40 AM
grs says:
Good thing Matlock isn't on the air anymore otherwise there would have only been two or three in attendance.

Heh, yeah, I went there...
4/2/2014 8:58:47 AM
Jimmyjames says:
90% of the people in those pictures will be dead or unable to care for themselves in 5-10 years anyway. Why do they care if citizens have to pay for a long time?
4/2/2014 8:53:32 AM
working_man says:
approx. 100 people, if I remember correctly wasn't that the approx. # of people at the last "rally"?
$5.00 says that you could have heard a pin drop at all the Tim's Horton's in town while the "rally" was taking place.
4/2/2014 8:47:01 AM
buzz says:
I just heard audio of the meeting on CBC, Ray Smith and his gang of Ignorant Citizens should be ashamed of their behaviour. The name calling and heckling of Mr. Commiso and Mr Robinson just proves how closed minded these indiviuals are. They say citizens should have a voice on the issue, based on what I heard you can only have an opinion or a voice if you agree with them. Instead of listening to differing opionions they just shout out "Your an Idiot" and bury their heads in the sand. It was clear they did not want to gain any information on the issue they just want to continue believing the misinformation be spouted in the coffee shops. Based on what I saw and heard maybe they should change their name to "The Grumpy Old Men of Thunder Bay" For the record I do support a plebiscite, once we have full information on funding and costs, until that is available we would be voting based on misinformation and conjecture.
4/2/2014 8:24:06 AM
bttnk says:
@buzz - I couldn't agree with you more. The behaviour was downright shameful and proves that there is no rationalizing with this group. But is anyone surprised? If you've following City initiatives closely over the year, chances are you've run into Ragin Ray Smith. And make no mistake, it wouldn't stop after the public voted to build the event centre. Ragin Ray would keep on fighting.
4/2/2014 9:50:16 AM
SMB says:
Oh, Dear Henry...there's a hole in your bucket and you think you know how to fix it...by drawing straws.
Henry, we DON'T live in democracy. We live in a constitutional monarchy. The way laws and decisions are made here are different than in Ancient Greece.
4/2/2014 8:22:17 AM
thunder-bay-guy says:
I am a young professional in this city. I do not own property or a business in the north core but I am for the events centre in this location. I laugh at this group for saying they went democracy and a fair vote but when anyone brings forward an opinion contrary to theirs those people are heckled and unable to state theire opinion. I can't wait until the event centre moves forward and this small minority of people who don't want to see this city move forward finally see that they are wrong.
4/2/2014 8:20:38 AM
Alexa says:
100 people? how does Ray Smith even pretend to say this is represents a majority. We can't have a plebisite everytime the council is to make a decision, nothing would get accomplished.......democracy doesn't mean you have a bunch a plebisites it means you elect people into office and they make the decisions. If you don't like the decisions, you don't vote for them next time. And I am offer 50 and in favour of the event center as planned.
4/2/2014 8:14:47 AM
The Beaver..... says:
Here is a novel idea
Give all the over 50 citizens a guarantee that they will not be burdened with any taxes to help support the cost of building and running this complex. Then go ahead and build it....after all the over 50 have already build one.
4/2/2014 8:10:43 AM
tooligittoquit says:
I say hold a plebiscite. That's the only way you're going to get young people to ACTUALLY come out and vote in the next municipal election.The only way one can show they actually care about the city is to VOTE!
4/2/2014 7:58:28 AM
t-bone says:
"Approximately 100 people, mostly over the age of 50"
Sky High is so spot on in his/her comments. As long as the 50+ community has the resounding majority of input nothing will improve in this city. Throw a grenade in the gardens, stuff your plebiscite, start a riot and withold your taxes old fella (come on seriously?...) and lets get on with trying to lose the reputation we have for being behind the times, old fashioned and very much out of touch.
4/2/2014 7:57:35 AM
Kidknapp says:
Our city council does not want a plebiscite because they already know the answer is "NO". They will continue to do as THEY please and not consider the best interests of the public! You weak minded people keep thinking that we live in a democracy and they rest of us will accept that it is nothing but a silent dictatorship! Wake up people! When it comes to vote, take a look at where your "loyalties" lie and quit following the path that is going nowhere. We need a drastic change!
4/2/2014 7:42:04 AM
Watchmaker says:
Ray gets ~100 people out to a couple of meetings, meets with his cronies at Timmies, and spends a night shaking canes and presents himself as the voice of the majority. Hank weighs in as the self-proclaimed "mayor in waiting". I hope no one takes this seriously - the Gardens has served its time and has been essentially on life support for the past 20 years. The place for a new arena is in one of the downtown cores - not Innova Park. Turn the page people.
4/2/2014 7:38:40 AM
Clete says:
On the say plebiscite why don't we see if we stop spending money on the 55 plus centers.
4/2/2014 7:22:36 AM
tsb says:
If I have learned anything from the Concerned Taxpayers/Citizens of Thunder Bay, it is that as a young person, I do not belong in Thunder Bay.
4/2/2014 7:02:08 AM
Enquirer says:
You're right, tsb.

As a young professional, this city alienates me more and more every day. Of course when expansion happened in the 60s it was for the better and done correctly. Now that that generation has aged, any development must be fought. I honestly cannot point to one piece of recent development in this city that did not face opposition from this demographic.

As I have said before, this only serves to inevitably shrink our tax base. Sure, you save money today by not investing in such ventures, but this causes emigration from the city over the following years. I seem to be in the minority that understands this.

As a younger professional who is about to make big decisions on my future, what is keeping me here? Not much.

No investment in the future means no future for this city; surely not one I will be a part of.

But hey, at least we'll have potholes filled, that will attract the youth!

Why must this generation be gone before any sort of development can happen?
4/2/2014 9:14:16 AM
yqtyqt says:
Here's an idea.

Every good project for which there is said to be substantial support should demonstrate their support via fundraising. It would be an awesome way of showing all concerned that the demand for this facility is so large that they are willing to raise 10-15% of the final capital costs by citizens donations. If that could be augmented by another 10-15% by corporate donations, I think a lot of people would be sold. In other words, put your money where you mouth is.

Now if Council/Administration could give us some realistic & honest capital costs, and some realistic & honest projections of operating losses, then the public and corporate fundraising targets can be set. We all know that these projects are infested with cost over-runs, understated operating losses & over-inflated projections on usage. The names of similar facilities guilty of bogus claims is a long & sorry one.

I'm 100% in, if the proponents want this project badly enough to throw their wallets into the fire.
4/2/2014 10:25:03 AM
Enquirer says:
You posit your argument in the fact that if a project is to proceed it must show support in raw numbers and fundraising efforts from said people.

If this is to be so, that would mean that every capital expenditure in this city should be put to a vote. A scenario:

I am a cyclist who never uses some main artery roads while cycling yet that road is up for major repairs. I have 100 other cyclist friends who are against renovating this road because it is highly costly and we do not have any desire to use it.

Should this go to a plebiscite? Should those who want this road upgraded and maintained by willing to raise 10-15% of the final costs for the road and have proper research outlining the costs?

Of course not!

Do you see what happens when you are of the belief that because one is for one expenditure they should raise the funds themselves? This is completely unfeasible and frankly, asinine.
4/2/2014 10:52:36 AM
yqtyqt says:
"You posit(?) your argument in the fact that if a project is to proceed it must show support in raw numbers and fundraising efforts from said people"

Where exactly did I say that every project must show support. The Community Auditorium had a public fundraising portion. And they went out and raised the money. I wasn't in favour, but it was hard to deny when there was a commitment by the proponents.

It is the expectation that the city provides essential or core services that affect the day to day safety/wellbeing of people. Water, sewer, protective services, roadways, etc. I often don't agree with the costs involved, but that's another discussion.

I have a difficult time believing that most people would find an event centre an essential service.

Actually, you're belief is "asinine" if you think that we should fund every wish-list item that comes forward. Where would you begin and end? If ever? Hopefully its before we go bankrupt. Did I tell you how far in debt the city actually is?
4/2/2014 12:04:13 PM
Enquirer says:
"Posit: a proposition that is accepted as true in order to provide a basis for logical reasoning"

You have little to no understanding of how government debt works; it is starkly different from personal debt in that, investment which leads to debt at a governmental level can see return on that investment, going into debt on a personal level does not yield this possibility on that level.

I never said you did say every project must show support, I merely gave you an example of how a vocal minority of people can disrupt the funding process of what others see as 'necessary'. Does this sound familiar?

Funding for expenditures outside of usual ones can be considered essential in that, as I said previously, no investment in future facilities etc., leads to net emigration from the city, raising taxes and shrinking the base. Do you want higher taxes in the future? I don't!

Where did I say fund every idea that comes forth? You're grabbing at straws and fail to address the crux of my posts.
4/2/2014 1:34:18 PM
YQT says:
Oh yeah, sure your 100% in.

And when there is a game, or concert at the facility; a $200 surcharge on top of your ticket sounds reasonable too.

No free ride here pal !!!!!!
4/2/2014 11:21:32 AM
Eastender says:
The problem with your thinking, is that an Event Centre, is not an investment. Its a luxury, a cost that should come as a result of excess capital. In order to have excess capital one must produce something of value and sell it for a profit.

This cities production of goods has been continually diminishing over many years now. Young people go where the jobs are. Not where the concerts are. Because where I come from, you work first, in order to earn the right to play, not the other way around. Apparently your generation seems to believe that they are entitled to the play without producing anything of value.
Let me reiterate. An Event Centre does not produce assets, it is strictly entertainment for those who have aquired assets by producing desireable goods.

Get this clear, Thunder Bay is no Hollywood, not Vegas or New York. It will never be the playground of the north.
Ask yourself why you came here in the first place. Was it because of the possibility of an Event Centre?

4/3/2014 8:28:55 AM
n00n says:

As a large building(s) and property owner in the North core, you are very welcome down there and very much belong in Thunder Bay. The waterfront and downtown area are 'booming'...any business owner in the City AND outside of the City are looking to setup shop there.

The North core is a microcosm of the 'progressive movement' in Thunder Bay, the group that wants new restaurants, new pubs, shows, shopping, events...it is all taking place right in the core. It will continue to be that way regardless of what the rest of the City is doing or the opinions of any group.

In the coming years, Thunder Bay will be a real destination with everything our youth and progressive older crowd would want. It will take time AND lots of cash/debt, but it is worth it and I'm willing spend my tax dollars to achieve it..more importantly it will take resolve. The result is going to be awesome!!

Please keep supporting the future of our City.
4/2/2014 1:10:24 PM
YellowSnow13 says:
If council and the general public is so sure that most people want this centre, put it to a vote. What are you afraid of? By the way, I'm VERY OFFENDED by the term "Cane Shakers". I'm not that old but I can see this city can't afford to build it since they don't even have the budget for snow removal. Everything they are saying about bringing people to this city is a lie. The complex, Auditorium, and Casino were all suppose to bring people here. Where are they? We have buses EVERYDAY taking people away to Grand Portage to gamble. Don't believe everything you hear.
4/2/2014 6:54:46 AM
lori says:
people over 50 years old.. somehow that is a main point of the story.

If this event centre is a good a deal as council and the supporters would like us to believe, then they have nothing to fear with a vote.

If council does not think a vote is possible, then commit to one after all of the facts and figures are in even if it is after the election. we are talking about spending 106 million. Do we care that an extra vote next year will cost us a couple hundred grand. I vote for council to pave the roads, make sure the sewers work, collect my garbage and basically run the city. I don't vote for them to build a legacy project and to saddle the future with a building that will not be near as popular

as the article quoted-no one from Duluth, Minneapolis or Kenora is going to come here to see a show that they can see there or in Winnipeg. People are delusional to think otherwise. And I can just see the company from Vegas saying, Hey, let's go to the Bay. They have condo's. not a chance
4/2/2014 6:53:36 AM
yqtyqt says:
Mark today on your calendar folks.

Today (and only on this subject), I actually agree with Lori.

This project is so huge in terms of financial impact and the support for the event centre is so divided, put it to a vote. It seems to me that this project has been on a one way track with the idea of railroading it through.

I don't know who came up with the notion that this was a "50 & over" thing. Why not divide based on rich & poor people, short & tall, white, black or other ethnic people. It just points to a lack of intelligence by a small group of idiots.

The event will be or won't be a place for all citizens. Even those who are over 50 years old.

4/2/2014 9:39:08 AM
Tbaylifer 1 says:
And here comes the baby rattle shakes using humiliation and insults to make their point. Shake it hard Sky High.
4/2/2014 6:29:36 AM
Rob20 says:
The root of this whole argument is still to location. Despite what the so-called experts recommended, the fact is the cost between the two sites of the marina or Innova park ... Which was not that great of a difference when you look at the overall amount being spent. If a plebiscite been done for the location then this problem would've been avoided because that's really what the whole argument is about. The challenges that come with each location.
4/2/2014 5:52:05 AM
tbayvoter says:
I will refrain from any sort of name calling of any type as some have done. I will simply state the facts that affect my family. I am approaching my mid 30s and have been a home owner inside the city for 16 years. Fact #1 is my property taxes have gone up in that time by 91% while the property value has only gone up by 32%. No major tax increases says Hobbs??? Well if that isn't I don't know what is. The "little" increases year after year compound to make the overall a quite hefty increase. All I am wanting from this is the opportunity to let EVERYONE that wants to vote on it to be allowed the option of doing so. I Voted for Mayor Hobbs as he stated himself at the time that a plebiscite should be done with major expenditures. IF the vote comes out YES then build it.... If the vote comes out NO then that is the will of the citizens council represents. I am NOT afraid of either side... I just want everyone to be able to have their say. IF you don't vote then by all means KEEP QUIET...
4/2/2014 1:55:57 AM
fastball says:
Well, the price of practically all other consumer goods has gone up in nibbles and bites for the past few decades as well.
Do you expect city taxes to stay static, while the price of paving, snow removal and all the other city services go up? The city would be in worse financial shape than it (allegedly) currently is.
As long as taxes go up in a reasonable and rational amount - 1 or 2 percent a year, for example - I can live with it (as if we have a choice).
4/2/2014 11:50:31 AM
chezhank says:
Raymond Smith has done what this city council and administration have failed to do,and that is to engage the residents.To correct the wrong they should give residents a plebiscite.
Please join in the Rally in front of city hall on Monday,April 07 at 5:45 pm to let council know we would appreciate some direct democracy and council should let residents make the decision with a plebiscite,the truest form of democracy!

henry wojak
mayor in waiting

Pots and Pans welcome at the rally.
4/2/2014 12:02:12 AM
YQT says:
5:45? That's an interesting time. Is that the scheduled time the city bus routes converge on city hall to let off all those who oppose this project?

Yup, pots and pan rally, a clear indication of those who oppose.

"Mayor in waiting"? You sealed your fate with that ridiculous statement right there. Truly laughable.
4/2/2014 10:40:21 AM
fastball says:
5:45pm is a perfectly acceptable time...if you're retired, and not coming home from work.
What a lucky coincidence, though! Seems like 90 percent of The Hank & Ray Traveling Show is of a similar demographic.
4/2/2014 11:02:12 AM
S Duncan says:
what time does city council meetings commence?

and what time will the councillors arrive and see the people?
4/2/2014 6:09:38 PM
signman says:
Why is city council afraid to let the public vote? Plan to attend the rally in front of city hall April 7 at 5:45 pm.
4/1/2014 11:43:43 PM
progress now says:
A hundred people is a lot, particularly in this weather.

It is of note that the meeting was attended by mostly people over 50. The majority of the voting age population in this community resides in this demographic, and as other age groups attended, this would suggest a representative sample by age. This, no doubt, is the reason the writer chose to include that information.

I couldn't make the meeting but I understand it was a bit of a free for all in places - but that is probably the result of poor/hasty organization.

Mr. Commisso should be commended for attending and speaking as should the LU prof who was shouted down.

The talk of a plebiscite request originating from council is interesting given Mr. Hobbs adamant declarations to the contrary.

This drama has everything: an uncoordinated council, disrespectful council meetings, raucous public meetings, and an administration that has lost control of the message.

What a mess.

4/1/2014 11:37:54 PM
fastball says:
Yup...there's a hundred people dedicated to the cause. And God bless 'em for their convictions.
But, bottom line - there's a hundred of them. That's less than than one-half of one percent of the voting public wanting to impose their will on the process.
Don't say "well, there's thousands more that never showed up"...that doesn't cut it for me. This is their SECOND kick at the cat, and you still have the same 100 grey-haired crowd. However, it's probably enough to get Rydholm and Johnson to do their usual routine of sticking their finger in the air to see where the wind is blowing.
So far, there's 1744 members of a Facebook page that's advocating an event centre downtown. That's almost TWENTY TIMES as many people supporting the proposal than apparently are opposed. If I could offer Councillors Rydholm & Co., any advice - if you want to start figuring out where your political futures lie - I'd suggest maybe throwing your support with the bigger and younger numbers.
4/1/2014 11:33:16 PM
p.o.ed taxpayer says:
All this from the person who constantly chastises everyone that we have to wait for ALL of the information...wonder what your vested interest is or who you are tied to with this council or admin?...100 plus people took the time to attend a couple of meetings to voice their concerns, yet they should bow to the voices of Facebook...yeh that surely translates into solid support for this project...you surely do like FACTS, after all you can post ten times on these issues and how many more on Facebook?
4/2/2014 7:18:58 AM
S Duncan says:
facebook doesn't count.

who are they and do they pay taxes in Thunder Bay? People that live outside of the city wont be paying for it so of course they want it.

that also goes for all the supposed "support" the mayor claims.

The only support that matters is that of which comes from those enumerated within the city.

Unless you pay taxes within the city, your opinion does not count.

and getting out 100 people in yesterday's weather is pretty impressive. I was unable to attend again, and I can assure you that 8-10 people I know which are completely against this idea/project were not there either.

4/2/2014 8:40:48 AM
ou812 says:
Facebook does count. Have you been living under a rock for the last 5 years! and wow! another 8 to 10 people you know are against this, oh my goodness. Well I know a heck of a lot more people than that and they are all for it! As far as these waffling councillors.. Johnson et all, they are part of the progress suppressing problem in this town too
4/2/2014 10:15:14 AM
S Duncan says:
is facebook paying for it? will they be issuing the $1,200,000.00 check for its operational losses every year?

the taxpayers within this city matter, not yappy kids on facebook.
4/2/2014 3:48:19 PM
Event Centre Fan says:
First of all, my 77-year-old mother uses Facebook, so it's not just "yappy kids." It's soccer moms and dads that have populated Facebook. Kids are turning away from it because it's not cool anymore. But I digress.

Why would Facebook pay for it? The pro-event centre page is simply an online gathering spot for people who are in favour of the facility to speak their minds. I'm guessing the vast majority of them are from Thunder Bay. Why would someone from out of town even care, unless they have ties to the community? They are the taxpayers.

And if they happen to be renters, they have just as much say as you do at the polls and in matters of public interest, regardless of how much property you claim to own.

Renters pay taxes indirectly, and as others have said, certainly support tax-paying business owners in town.

You say you've got 1000s of supporters. Prove it.

Face it, you got 100 people to come out twice, including several wannabe public-trough feeders there to solicit votes
4/2/2014 4:04:49 PM
fastball says:
Once again...for the hard-of-hearing or slow-of-wit, I have no personal or business agenda. I've not changed my position at all - I'm still advocating for some kind of dollar figures to be worked out and presented to the public before posing any kind of potential question to the electorate.
As for the Facebook comparision - if guys like Wojak, Smith and Powers are pointing to their hundred-odd supporters as some irrefutable mandate from the masses....why should the 1750 Facebook people who apparently support some kind of event centre be sluffed off as irrelevant?
Again - at this point, I don't advocate any kind of question. Once the money issues get clarified - maybe at that time we can debate what is an acceptable expenditure for TBay.
4/2/2014 10:19:24 AM
Eastender says:
Fastball, you and bluebear, and the rest who think that there is just a 100 stodgy old cane shakers opposed to this centre, can trivialize it all you want, but the truth is anyone could have come to tnese meetings. True there were a few, perhaps ten or so in that hundred, including Hobbs, who were for the centre, but that to me would indicate the ratio of fors vs. against. If there is such a huge majority as you like to believe that are for the Event Centre, then why did they not come to any of the meetings in those large numbers, that you believe exist and let their voices be heard?

I'll tell you why, they dont exist. The ratio of 10 to a 100 pretty much is indicative of the proportion of people in this community who are for the building of this centre. Thats ten to one against the Event Centre.

You can trivialize it but if you believe that its only a hundred, you have got your head buried in the sand, but thats fine with me. We are many and we are strong, and we know it!
4/2/2014 7:11:30 PM
lake superior guy says:
Ray Smith believes that this small group represents the will of the majority of Thunder Bay? Not! Of course the lions share of the people in attendance are opposed to this project and as occurred at this meeting, those in favour are chastised. I would have attended this meeting if I could have but am positive that had I spoken out in favour of this complex, I too would have been subject to the negativity of the small group that makes all the noise in opposition. I will attend the meeting April 15th for those who support the centre and hopefully they can make as much noise in favour.
4/1/2014 11:31:56 PM
Baor says:
Quite the group. A whole hundred showed up, likely the same hundred that showed up at the last meeting.
Clearly there is no interest in a plebiscite. In fact I would say there is an overwhelming support for the centre as an insignificant amount of people are voicing against it....quiet majority.
NOf course we see what happens when one does speak in favour..."heckled and berated". Again...what a group. Time to call it a day people.
4/1/2014 11:24:31 PM
debt collector says:
Does "musicferret" ever have anything positive to say about our fine city?

He posts numerous negative comments on this site and others badmouthing the city, city initiatives and city owned utilities, yet when tasked with meeting the burden of proof, he spins the conversation in a totally different direction.

"Werd Na" you don't speak for me, I want this event centre built.
4/1/2014 11:22:42 PM
musicferret says:
Debt collector, I think you're right.

I am too negative overall, and I'm going to work on keeping a more open mind. I was thinking about that myself last night. Thanks for pointing it out.

There are positive things about the events centre; it could be good for the city. I am however not going to change my mind in regards to the cost issue: $106,000,000 is ridiculous when compared to other cities and their arena projects. I wish the 'yes' side would be more open to looking at that number and asking 'why is it so high compared to projects in other cities?'
4/2/2014 8:09:52 AM
bttnk says:
@musicferret - I believe that most, if not all, supporters of the event centre are also in favour of cost containment measures, up to and including a revised capital forecast that may more accurately reflect the cost to build.

There are considerations that need to be understood when you compare the $106M estimate with the cost to build other comparable event centres. Most notably, the significant increase construction costs over the past 2-5 years.

4/2/2014 9:44:12 AM
bluebear1985 says:
As far as I know, only a couple of councillors actually want to look into the issue. Also, note that around the same amount of people attended this meeting as did the one at the Mary J.L. Black Library, and that most of those in attendance were over 50 years of age. Shouldn't we have one where there's people in a younger age bracket, considering they're the ones who would eventually be interested in going to the event centre once it's built. The CTTB are going to have to realize that we need to look towards the future. About Ray Smith, I've heard something that he was for a new event centre years ago, but him and a group of people managed to shoot it down because it wasn't in the site he was hoping for. I'm guessing that site is Innova Business Park. Is this why this group is against the building of a waterfront multiplex? As far as I'm concerned, council has made its decision to build. Bring it on!
4/1/2014 11:18:44 PM
sinkoreswim says:
Abunch of grown adults acting like little children
4/1/2014 11:12:28 PM
S Duncan says:
youre referring to city council, right?
4/2/2014 2:42:11 PM
George Street Economist says:
Ray doesn't have the information required to determine that a majority of people want the project at Innova Park because his polls are extremely unscientific. I went to the first meeting and he was literally urging people to take ballots home, fill out as many as possible, and bring them to this meeting here. How is that in any way reliable?

Regardless, the location should be predicated by expert opinion after an extensive analysis of costs and benefits. It shouldn't be determined by cane shakers who still live in the Port Arthur vs. Fort William rivalry.

IF there is a plebiscite, (and I am against it because it sets a terrible precedent that will slow down progress even more in this city), the only question asked should be whether people want this to go forward. The upcoming municipal election will be a litmus test of that opinion.

As for "not having a say", there have been countless meetings on this issue and more than ample time for these people to contact their councilor.
4/1/2014 10:58:25 PM
Eastender says:
Why worry about a hundred inconsequetial old cane shakers? Just put the question on the ballot, event centre, yes-no. Its just 100 votes, costs almost nothing during an election any way, case closed. What could it hurt. Once the vote is over, and the event centre is overwhelmingly approved, those 100 will just shrivel up and go drown their sorrows in a Tims coffee cup. No?

No! The lollipopers are deathly afraid of the truth they keep denying. They know that the hundred are just the tip of the huge iceberg just below the waterline.
That is why they are so afraid of a plebiscite. Their weapon of choice, the only weapon they have, is name calling, and ridicule of the majority that opposes them.
None of the counciliors, nor Commisso, have addressed the real issue of cost overruns, moving the hydro station, parking, and future structures to accomodate parking, shortfall in the fund, presently at 22.8 million, (10 million short), ever increasing maintenance costs. Cont'd.
4/2/2014 10:18:51 AM
Eastender says:
This city will be on the hook for all these added costs in perpetuity. All this huff and puff about waiting to get the facts is just obfuscation of the real issue. That is to delay any plebiscite. There is no sense in worrying about the cost of the car, if you cant afford the gasoline and insurance. But that is exactly the logic that is being used, in order to justify this project that will only enrich the contractors, and developers, at the expense of our ever dwindling saving accounts.
4/2/2014 10:27:03 AM
conker2012 says:
What if the car does not required fuel or insurance. We don't even know. Your logic is wrong.

If you know what the annual cost is please share.

The phase two report only provided a conservative (over stated risk) estimate of what the cost could be. Without a final design and detailed understanding of the facility there is now way of pinning down this potential cost.

Don't selectively read, comprehend the entire document.
4/2/2014 11:12:42 AM
conker2012 says:
Those issues are estimated in the phase 2 study.

I know these are not final numbers, but the estimates are 92.6 million for the facility, 7.2 million for the parking structure and 6.3 million for the hydro structure removal. These are not final numbers, but they are available to you and the public.


4/2/2014 11:30:12 AM
conker2012 says:
You also say we cannot afford it..... well if we do not build it and we loose the developer for the Cumberland condo project we would loose a lot of tax revenue. How much?

how about $229 million dollars.......

Lets assume the average value of each 71 unit is $300k, the current tax rate is .04788474 for a multi unit, that the average increase to either the tax rate or the MPAC assessment is 1.5% (this is less than average inflation) and the building lasts 100 years. Using simple compounding interest calculator you would find out that the revenue generated is $228,803,043. Since no new roads or utility infrastructure is needed, no new additional expenditures will be created and the cost to the city to maintain services to this property are limited. If we are a little less optimistic and assume the building lasts 50 years then the revenue is about $74 Million.

We are at a point where we cannot miss this opportunity.
4/2/2014 11:42:03 AM
Eastender says:
How is the condo developer going to disappear? The condos are pretty much sold out and are being built. So that ship of yours has sailed. Those people that have prepurchased the condos are not going to change tneir minds if tne Event Centre is not built. Besides they did not buy the condos on tne condition that an Event Centre be built. They bought their condos there because of tne view, and proximity to heir boats. So your math though perhaps correct, proves nothing, since those tax dollars are in tne bag.

As for the hotel, are you saying, or admitting to the assumption that there was a stipulation that the hotel would only be built on tne condition that tne Event Centre was built at the Marina. I dont recall any such condition in the original proposal. Perhaps this deal was made behind closed doors, if so why was it hushed up? Smells awfully fishy to me.
4/2/2014 1:15:52 PM
Sprague Street Superman says:
Why is the city manager injecting himself into the political issues surrounding this?

In my opinion he has over stepped his bounds 10 fold. He should not be addressing the public, nor representing city council or the city's position in this.

Its the elected people that make the decisions and steer the ship. Commisso should be below deck shovelling coal.

Why is he at the forefront of all this discussion? He doesn't seem to know his place.
4/1/2014 10:53:13 PM
mikevirtanen1961 says:
As the person 'below decks shovelling coal', he was the only person in attendance who seemed to actually know how much 'coal' the city has. Informing the public of facts like that is certainly a role a city manager should have.
4/2/2014 10:23:58 AM
cm punk says:
If Daniel Bryan does not walk out of wrestle mania xxx as the WWE champion, we will riot.

Renew funds are dwindling after the snow removal and other pet projects facing shortfalls.
So no deal, stop whining, negative, and see if he will get a refund.
4/1/2014 10:52:43 PM
Me n My Opinion says:
Renew money has not, nor will not, be used to fill pot holes. The city has many many different reserve funds, probably a hundred or more, all with specific purposes to cover what they're designed for. The renew reserve fund is for "renewal". Yes, some was used for Golf Links Rd, I think more than they wanted to, but that road was in the plan for that fund right from the beginning. Pot holes will not diminish the level in the renew reserve fund.
4/2/2014 9:01:51 AM
sky high says:
Hard to believe that 100 cane shakers, having enjoyed the aged Gardens while they were young, would kibosh an Events Centre that the youth of this city could enjoy for the next 60 years. The selfishness of these people is astounding. I suppose they'd want to use the renewal money to fill potholes and promote square dancing. The selfishness is unprecedented.
4/1/2014 10:49:14 PM
maxumpat says:
Sky high has finally convinced me. Lets put these "cane shakers" in their place by having a plebiscite and prove that the majority wants this hockey rink.... Surely there would be only 100 votes against....YEAH RIGHT!!

4/2/2014 6:54:24 AM
Jasper says:
Once you get your GED, get a job, move out of your parents basement, purchase a house and actually have to pay taxes to fund this white elephant maybe then you will have a say. Until then keep shaking your skateboard, but be careful you still need it to get to work.
4/2/2014 8:19:42 AM
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S Duncan says:
skyhigh has a job, he's a boiler engineer watching over his mom's furnace when he's not playing video games and posting under 6 other names.
4/2/2014 1:52:12 PM
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Heather Woodbeck says:
If you can't argue your point without calling people names, then your argument for an event centre is pretty weak.

Everyone is entitled to their opinion. Calling older people names is a form of 'ageism'. This is just as bad a racism and is completely disrespectful.
The City of Thunder Bay has a policy against racism and obviously needs to add a policy against ageism.
Name calling should not be included in Thunder Bay News watch comments.

4/2/2014 10:06:28 AM
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sky high says:
Miss Woodbeck, why have you continuously throughout your life attempted to keep Thunder Bay in the 1940s era?
4/2/2014 5:06:29 PM
TBAY Duffer says:
@SKYHIGH. Don't break your mouse voting for yourself.

BTW. If there is so little real opposition to the events centre, what is the harm in trusting good old fashion Democracy ? Put it to a vote.

4/2/2014 10:11:15 AM
conker2012 says:
The harm is hundreds of thousands to add question to ballot, where nobody can make an informed decision because there are not final costs, no final funding information. The question is legally binding and we cannot turn back on it. WE will have wasted millions of dollars on the studies and design of a building that cannot be built if the plebiscite vote is no to event center.

If we wait until we have all the information and we can make an informed decision perhaps a plebiscite could be appropriate.

Nobody knows what this will cost. All we know is there is an estimate for a concept. Phase three will tell us the cost for a design. BIG DIFFERENCE!

Democracy is only useful when people can make informed decisions, PERIOD!

Based on your logic we should hold a waiting room vote on the treatment of each patient. The people in the waiting room are footing the bill so they should have a say, right? WRONG they are not informed, their say means nothing!
4/2/2014 11:01:59 AM
S Duncan says:
that's a flat out lie.

whether its from ignorance or deliberate its totally incorrect information.

the cost is NOT hundreds of thousands to add a question to the ballot. At best it is $50K, which is a tiny fraction of what's already been spent by the city to try and ram this unwanted project through.

the only reason to not put it to plebiscite is because city council and commisso already know the majority taxpayers of this city DO NOT SUPPORT it as it proposed.

If the city had pursued this instead of re-developing marina park for the 10th time, I would probably have been on board, but this legacy project business is bankrupting the city.

The city has spiralled out of control since Commisso came on board. Its time for him to step back from this as he's obviously personally invested in this a little too much to effectively maintain his title.

Commisso, step back, or step down.
4/2/2014 12:54:22 PM
S Duncan says:
this story has the information about the costs of the plebiscite or doing a stand alone survey.

you seem to think that a plebiscite will cost $100's of thousands.

that is flat out lies or deliberate misdirection.


the story claims the cost of adding the plebiscite to the ballot is literally NOTHING.

Why are you scared of allowing the public to vote?

Is it because you fear the majority will not support your ideas of welfare hockey?
4/2/2014 2:22:25 PM
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