Tbnewswatch Local News
Tuesday June 30 2015
8:42 AM EDT
2014-04-03 at 16:22

On the table

By Jamie Smith, tbnewswatch.com

Linda Rydholm wants to ask the public if the city should continue a process to build a proposed event centre.

The Neebing councillor is putting a motion forward Monday night that, if successful, would put the question on the ballot in the Oct. 27 municipal election.

"Are you in favour of city council continuing with the process to build the proposed event and convention centre in Thunder Bay?" Rydholm's question asks.

Rydholm said it would be premature to ask the public whether it wants an event centre at all, as the final phase of the feasibility study isn't expected until later this year. But putting her question on the ballot would engage the public and see if support is out there.

"It would be good to garner or at least assess community interest," she said. "Without that I feel the public is somewhat disengaged."

Some around the council table think they already know how the public feels about the project. But just assuming how the public feels isn't a wise way to govern Rydholm said.

"If they're so certain that everyone in town pretty well is in favour then I think thatt (a ballot question) would be favourable for us to get that positive vote when we go and ask the province and people in Ottawa for funding," she said.

But Coun. Rebecca Johnson said how can council go to the public and ask when all of the information isn't available. Funding, business plans and feasibility studies aren't done yet.

"We don't even know that ourselves," she said.

If the city did have a ballot question, Johnson said she's not sure Rydholm's is even the right one to ask.

Concerned Taxpayers of Thunder Bay head Ray Smith thinks it's a good question and similar to what he and the group have been proposing. He thinks council should pass it unanimously.

"We'd be very disappointed (if council refuses) because this is what the public has been asking for," he said. "Let's make this a community decision, a Thunder Bay decision."

Gauging public support is needed as it will be the people of Thunder Bay spending their money there if an event centre is built.
"Without their attendance it would be a big flop," Smith said.

SHIFT Network president Nathan Lawrence said the organization of about 450 young professionals supports an event centre as long as the city is spending properly, tax dollars are used effectively and it benefits business and the city's economy. Right now, there isn't enough information without the feasibility study's final phase to ask the public a legally binding question.

"We do feel that doing a plebiscite on this particular discussion right now is a bit premature," he said.

Meanwhile Citizens for a Waterfront Event Centre, as expected, announced they were totally opposed to Rydholm's motion, calling a plebiscite premature. 

"The deadline to legally allow plebiscite questions on a municipal election ballot is a little over a week away and therefore there is not enough time for council to properly  consider the issue, given the cost and the stakes involved in asking a legally binding question to the population of Thunder Bay," the group said in an email issued to media Thursday night. 

A question that gets on the ballot and garners responses from more than 50 per cent of eligible voters is a binding one, Johnson noted. 

Follow Jamie Smith on Twitter: @Jsmithreporting

Click here to submit a letter to the editor.

Click here to report a typo or error



We've improved our comment system.
Eastender says:
The administration and council was not prepared to deal with an event centre at that time as the marina was their priority. So it was conveniently pooh poohed. Now that the marina is done, the piper has changed his tune. To use a phrase from Fastball, politicians swing like a weather vane, when big money talks.
4/5/2014 8:14:46 PM
fastball says:
I guess the city's priority at the time was to get the Marina/Waterfront area off and running...which seems to have happened. The Marina and waterfront to be attractive and draws people, a deal with Delta hotels was reached and the place is being built, and all the condo units are pretty much sold already...so there's no reason to think that the area will flounder. Now they can concentrate on the next part of the revitalization...namely, some kind of event centre. I'm not sure it was "pooh-pooh'ed", but rather placed on the back burner for the time being. Now that the ground-work's been laid, it's time for the next step. That's not swinging in the wind...that's doing something systematically and logically, one step at a time.
And yes - when big money is involved, politicians should really should wake up and pay attention. When an opportunity presents itself to access money that hasn't been available up to now - you might as well do your homework, put in the effort and give it a shot.
4/6/2014 3:55:30 PM
S Duncan says:
We're not done paying for the marina nor are we even close to completing it.

What about all the phases that are now broke because the previous phases went 3 times overboard?

How is that getting paid for now? In case you haven't been paying attention, all talk about the marina development has ceased because it has all hinged onto this welfare dome.

Notice how we aren't hearing about the millions of dollars being spent on the sewage treatment plant either? Theres 40-50 guys there working non stop since May 2012.

The welfare dome is not affordable.

Notice how we don't know the total costs of either of those issues yet, but we're still going ahead with them?

Why aren't the "we don't know so we cant ask questions" people all in a rage about those projects?

Its well past time for a plebiscite. We have spent way too much money on these artists renderings already.

4/6/2014 5:20:27 PM
Pandora says:
I hope everyone on this site, whether your for or against, took the time to read the link provided by Henry Wojek (five posting in on this story) of the City's report on the proposal set forth by the Lakehead University in 06 for an arena/convention centre.
A very interesting and telling summary and recommendations by City.
Please take the time to read, 2006 was like yesterday in the big scheme of things.

4/5/2014 8:16:25 AM
progress now says:
There is an old saying: "you can't fight city hall".
4/4/2014 11:59:42 PM
oscarmyerweiner says:
If it was such a money grab why hasn't a private group invested in this event center or funded it entirely. Why does it have to been city owned ?
4/4/2014 1:34:12 PM
Jon Powers says:
To All:

Great Posts Everyone!

Thanks For Keeping The Debate Process Alive!

Great Story! Plus Posts!
4/4/2014 1:27:29 PM
joepublic says:
I guessed at $50M I would be surprised if its less. In the end it means a tax hike for the construction and for the operation (its going to loose money) What ever the estimate is, ask. Latest I have heard its just over $100M, which translates into $150M (just look at every project the city has done and prove me wrong) At $150M the best they can hope for is 1/3 from each Fed/Prov and city. So $50M divided by an estimated 40,000 homes is $1250 per home. And don't forget the operating cost each year.

The issue is what to ask the people, and ask them the right question, not some vague half hearted statement in the grey area. Get to the point. Put the cards on the table. The people in opposition are willing to lose this vote, I think its only fair that the people who are so "for" the centre also shut up, stand up and be counted in a open and honest fashion. If you ask some non-committal question, you will just keep fueling the battle.
4/4/2014 1:18:10 PM
sd says:
Ok perhaps you can help me understand your comment. Assuming the city's share of this project is $50 million what you are saying is that the tax payers are each responsible for $1250 per household. Is that correct?
My real question for you in the hopes that your comment doesn't confuse people, are residential property owners the only ones who will be paying for this, or will commercial and industrial properties also be taxed, thus bringing your estimated cost far lower than $1250?
4/4/2014 2:08:15 PM
S Duncan says:
Don't forget that the cost over runs (which we know there will be) will be directly the responsibility of the tax payer.

Does anyone think the Feds or the Provincial gov will pony up the already ridiculous Thunder Bay factor?

Guaranteed it will go from 106Million to 160 million by the time its done. As well, theres already a shell game being played with our tax dollars to make this look better than it actually is.

Do not forget that we are facing a provincial election soon, and the results of that election will have a great impact on whether the province kicks in anything at all. (as it is there is no commitment to it, just sweet talk trying to buy votes)

The feds wont waste one this project regardless of what some people on this site seem to believe. Ask yourself, why would a federal Conservative government fund this in Thunder Bay? You can see quickly that they likely will not.

What will happen is the city will get us in up to our necks like Horizon, and we wont get out alive.

4/4/2014 2:09:07 PM
fastball says:
Firstly, it can't be over 100M to receive government assistance. So taking your 1/3 split, it goes down to 30-odd million. (let's call it 40M, with the inevitable overruns). We've got 25M or so in the bank already. That's 15M. Throw in some private money - naming rights, corporate seats, Winnipeg Jet money perhaps, let's say a few million. So we're down to 12M now.
Now we've borrowed 12M, probably over 10 or so years. Over 10 or so years, that figure might work out to 25-odd dollars per household. So we'll take your $1250 per household number - and,...well, let's just throw it out the window, shall we?
Much ado about nothing, as the Bard used to say.
4/4/2014 3:03:12 PM
Eastender says:
Where do you dredge up all those optimistic scenarios?
4/5/2014 1:07:22 PM
buzz says:
So lets assume your numbers are correct and City puts in $50mm, so we use $25mm from renew Thunder Bay Fund and borrow $25mm over 25 years, if we just use the 40,000 residential taxpayers, and that number never grows because all residential construction stops, that works out to a tax increase of $26/year, so less than the cost of one Tim's coffees a month, big deal. Operating costs of $1.5mm/year using the same 40,000 households is a tax increase of $38/year so about 2 coffees a month.
To recap give up 3 coffees a month get an event centre, sounds affordable to me.
4/5/2014 10:28:40 AM
S Duncan says:
You leave out the yearly operating costs. You leave out the costs of acquiring property. You leave out the costs of new parking for its stupid location. You leave out the costs of the bus terminal being relocated, and so many many more costs.

Besides the city's share how much have we already spent on this? Anyone care to guess? Shouldn't we have gauged public interest prior to this?

also, buzz, you pretend that residential construction never stops, but you ignore demolition (as does all city stats when trying to make themselves look good). The fact is the population is stagnant. New construction is off set by old construction, demolition, and abandoned buildings (like the Lyceum that is a negative effect on taxes).

and lets face it. If its "only" X amount, why aren't YOU paying for it?

Why are you PRO people not ponying up some dough? If its ONLY a few bucks, then surely you can pay for this out of your pocket change?

or are people like you all talk and big with other peoples cash
4/5/2014 5:54:30 PM
Buzz says:
Sduncan did you read beyond the first two lines i clearly talked about operating costs. I used 50mm as a high estimate to take into account extra costs. I used 40000 residential rate payers I did not use any growth even though the tax base does grow albiet slowly. I also left out businesses and industrial rate payers so $70 total per year per household is probably overstated for construction and operating costs. I am very willing to pay my share.
4/7/2014 8:42:06 AM
fastball says:
Am I mistaken or does the FWG operate at no cost to the taxpayer? While we will (no doubt)be paying somewhat more to operate a new facility - at least it'll be a MODERN facility. I'm sure at some point in your life, you decided to get rid of the old clunker that just wasn't cutting it anymore - and went the bank to get a new vehicle. Even though you had to take a deep breath and readjust the family budget. It happens.
Why isn't the Home Show at the Gardens? Because it's just an example of the place being old and unsuitable for a significant portion of events that are now shoehorned into the Coliseum area currently.
I'm with Buzz - I have no problem paying a bit more in taxes into a facility that myself and the next generation or two might be able to enjoy. I'm cheerfully volunteering to throw a couple more bucks into the kitty for a cause that I agree with. So yes...I AM "paying for it". But without all the whining and drama.
4/7/2014 11:38:36 AM
RAM501 says:
I’m not for or against an Events Center.

I am for a well-informed city council that that develops the economic and cultural potential of my city.

The investment, or not, in a new Events Center is well beyond the abilities / knowledge of most of us. This is why we elect and fund our city council. It is their task to find out what is best for the development of our city. They have the access to resources and information, and the authority to make these large choices for us.

I agree with holding our elected officials accountable. I disagree with a plebiscite asking me a question I couldn't possibly know the answer to.

Council, please to your job. Make well informed decisions based on facts.
4/4/2014 11:44:20 AM
Jack Frost says:
It's now "OFFICIAL" !!

City councillor Rebecca Johnson at large has now "officially" stated on record and media that the "MAJORITY" of the people of Thunder Bay are all for this highly controversial multiplex and it's location.

Where exactly is councillor Rebecca Johnson's facts and proof to her reckless statement and claim as seen on TBT News on 03 April 2014.

Councillor Rebecca Johnson must now prove her foolhardy claim or make an official public apology to all the people of this fine city.

This is just one more shameless example of the arrogance at city hall...

Res: (807) 577-2807
Fax: (807) 577-4837
Email: rjohnson@thunderbay.ca
4/4/2014 11:44:08 AM
old vienna says:
well it sure isn't from opinion polls from all the media outlets in town. the pro event center side hasn't come on top of 1 opinion poll yet. They've been routed on every opinion poll so far and will be routed by a margin of 75%-25% if a plebiscite were on the ballot. All the councillors, city administration and media know this outcome is what awaits them come October.
4/4/2014 12:50:53 PM
sd says:
The results of a plebiscite question will differ greatly from those garnered in online polls in which participants can vote multiple times. People need to stop referencing unscientific polls as evidence of anything related to this topic.
4/4/2014 1:23:15 PM
S Duncan says:
I emailed Rebecca about this. She flat out denies saying that the majority are behind it. She instead claims that she said the majority of the support that she has heard was in support of it.

Of course, we don't know who she heard from, whether or not they are actually taxpayers or just some useless children who think their favourite kid band will play in another hockey rink.

She completely dodged the questions about a plebiscite though. She seems to know whats best for us better than we do.

Typical liberal. Always telling you what you need.
4/4/2014 6:17:37 PM
Eastender says:
The purpose of this question is simple. YES means we continue with phase three. NO means we STOP the process, as the majority have decided not to spend any more money on the Event Centre. You and fastball cant seem to get it through your myopic vision that all the FACTS and FIGURES that are relevant are known and all other figures, what ever they may be, would just be optimistic biased projections. Irrelevant. Huge overruns, relocating the bus terminal, hydro station, developing much needed parking facilities, annual maintenance costs, these will be a huge drain on the tax base. There will be other projects of infrastructure that this city will need to fund through taxes. Building this thing is like putting all your eggs in one basket.These are the costs that we know are going to be there and they are adequate enough to be able to make a decision on wether this project goes ahead or not. I do believe the electorate is intelligent enough to make the right decision.
4/6/2014 11:22:41 PM
Winger says:
I have said it before. If this arens gets built as stupid as it sounds so far (location/seating/parking/debt, etc..) my family of 5 is selling our house in the city and moving to an outlying township.

We can no longer afford to pay a large amount of taxes and for the low quality return for them. It is no longer a fair deal to live in Thunder Bay.

Our taxes have been given away to float businesses that never materialized, lost on poor business decisions (youth center anyone?) free drugs and alcohol for addicts, free needles which in turn get sprinkled across this city waiting to destroy more lives.

My children deserve better. My wife deserves better. We deserve better and heaven knows we are paying for better. In turn we get worse and worse living conditions and subject to more crime, floods, and increasing fees and taxes.

and we have a city council who claims we dont deserve a vote? they tell us we're too stupid to know what's right for us?

adios Thunder Bay, you failed.
4/4/2014 11:42:20 AM
mystified says:
I believe Thunder Bay could use a facility such as the proposed Event Centre but not at the cost they are saying. History has shown that most major construction projects in Thunder Bay go absurdly over budget.

Thank you Leith for reading the riot act. A more pleasant atmosphere.
4/4/2014 10:52:35 AM
sideways says:
I have followed this debate for the entire time and the polarization that has and is occurring in our community is laughable. As has been stated hundreds of times by the city "This project WILL NOT go ahead without ALL levels of government involvement"
As well as stated numerous times WE CANNOT SAY WHAT THE FINAL PRICE TAG WILL BE until the phase 3 studies are done.
I am very unclear how we can have a plebiscite with out all the correct information from professionals hired to advise us. It is ADVISE ( http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/advise )not tell us what we to do.
I do not buy a car our a cell phone without research and when I have ALL the information then I make an informed decision.
4/4/2014 10:19:29 AM
joepublic says:
I think the question is wishy washy. Get to the point please. After all if you boil down the opposition you will likely find its a Tax Increase (short and long term) issue.

Do you support the City borrowing $50M+ to build an event centre (Yes or No)
4/4/2014 9:44:53 AM
SomeGuy says:
But the City is not borrowing $50 Million.
4/4/2014 9:58:56 AM
ring of fire dude says:
You really don't believe that do you ?
4/4/2014 10:47:58 AM
musicferret says:
It will likely be around $50m with overruns.

The $22-23m sitting in the renew thunder bay fund is just a shell game. The money is there, but in the meantime we are simply borrowing money to do projects (like golf links) that the money in that account could cover. In essence, we are borrowing for the events centre already.
4/4/2014 11:48:09 AM
JYDog says:
Yeah Joe, we're not borrowing, we're begging. Big difference.
4/4/2014 10:37:22 AM
Sandwiches1123 says:
I will make the same observation as I have previously made: This does not have to be a binding plebiscite. There are such things as non-binding plebiscites. These are tabled to gauge support for a proposal without having to go forward with said proposal.

I don't understand what is so difficult about this. This will determine what the true support for the project is and if it is non-binding, all the better.

Oh, and Leith, don't get caught in a flame war. Let the trolls be and you have to answer their questions three.
4/4/2014 9:15:04 AM
fastball says:
A non-binding plebiscite? What's the point of asking for the will of the people...and then having the option of not following through?
A non-binding plebiscite is basically a survey.
4/4/2014 10:55:54 AM
buzz says:
Actually Ontario law states that if at least 50% of registered voters turn out, a plebiscite is legally binding on council. Ontario Law does not allow for a non-binding plebiscite anymore.
4/4/2014 11:09:59 AM
jasper says:
i hate to break it to you rbosch but thunder bay is already a laughing stock. we are already the murder capital, or near the top, we have been named one of the worst places to live in canada. we have one of the highest percentages of substance abuse and obesity. i hardly think not building an event centre will destroy our already stellar reputation.
i must say having to keep the posts cordial has chased all the skateboard shakers away. sorry skyhigh.
4/4/2014 9:00:48 AM
Vanity says:
If this is such a good project why is private enterprise not building it? How much subsidizing does the taxpayer already pay? (Community Auditorium)(Canada Games Complex)How much subsidizing will be required for this venture?
4/4/2014 8:47:39 AM
Dockboy says:
I just want my say in how my tax dollars are spent. Personally, I'm against the Events Centre, but if the majority for construction of the Events Centre wins, I'll go along with it. At least I had my say.
4/4/2014 8:40:21 AM
bttnk says:
I wonder if everyone can see the glaring problem with this question and a plebiscite? If the result was in favour of continuance, we'd be having another plebiscite once Phase 3 is complete and the funding is secured.

I'm currently not in support of a plebiscite at any point on this issue, but once we have all of the information I am willing to listen and debate the merits of a plebiscite at that point.
4/4/2014 8:38:31 AM
The Badger Mountain Hermit says:
Why hasn't our Soon-Not-To-Be Mayor Hobbes bee doing a media blitz extolling all the positive aspects of building a skating rink that costs half as much, built anywhere else? I mean, he's got Twitter, Facebook and YouPo..er..YOUTUBE to reach out to us plebes. He says its so great, and implies that we're iggerunt of the the...no, wait...HIS true facts. Well...he seems to be keeping all the juicy bits for himself. He just talks about how great it will be, and how dumb we are for not knowing about what HE HIMSELF should be communicating, but isn't. Kinda odd, huh?
4/4/2014 8:15:16 AM
tbaycat says:
I just received a request to participate in a survey from Lakehead University on the proposed Multi-plex. Unfortunately I was the only one in my household who was able to complete it. The other three adults who reside with me couldn’t participate because we all share the same internet connection. This just goes to show how inaccurate these types of on-line surveys are. They exclude the opinions of many people because of the restrictions of technology. I respectively advise that no one takes the results of this Lakehead University survey seriously because of this technological glitch. On a side note. What self-respecting educational institution uses “Surveymonkey” in the first place!!!
4/4/2014 6:41:01 AM
joey joe joe jr. shabadoo says:
Pretty sure the new events center will go ahead REGARDLESS of what this town votes...

If we really need this new debt for all, then at least show a few OTHER sites that would be better suited for the new arena, not just the marina location.

Show what it may look like @ the corner of the expressway/harborview expressway & see what reaction that makes.

It's the location of this new center that many are upset about, but with all the new hotels @ the marina, you know they already made their decision...this plebiscite should include a few different LOCATIONS to vote on also, not just the marina!
4/4/2014 1:34:00 AM
SomeGuy says:
Joey Joe Joe Jr. The location is not up for debate, three sites were considered and the Waterfront location scored the highest. All this was done in the Phase 2 study.

Also you need to have a simple Yes/No question on a plebiscite, the question can not have multiple choices.

The only question that can be asked is "Do you support the building of the proposed Events Centre? Yes/No".

If the majority is "Yes" we must build it regardless of funding or feasibility because the referendum is binding.
4/4/2014 8:30:53 AM
chezhank says:
Didn't they move some gas-fired generating stations in Oakville and Mississauga after they were already being built to satisfy the public at a cost of $1.0 billion.
They can always tear it down and put it were the people would rather have it.

henry wojak
mayor in waiting
4/4/2014 10:05:41 AM
SomeGuy says:
Henry, gas plants have nothing to do with the Events Centre.
4/4/2014 11:25:17 AM
S Duncan says:
they have more to do with it than you think.

when the provincial liberals get the boot, the elected government will change drastically.

Do you believe that the NDP or the PCs will be forking money over for this?

That's why the city is anxious to ram it through as well. They know governments change.

In our case ours probably will too. Except we'll stil have commisso.
4/6/2014 5:26:35 PM
joey joe joe jr. shabadoo says:
phase 2 study was a joke with the result already chosen @ the marina regardless!

4/7/2014 5:36:20 AM
Shane Caker says:
I'll see the majority of you guys in the new arena/convention center when it opens. Can't wait.
4/3/2014 11:55:54 PM
Dan Dan says:
As much as a plebiscite is premature, it could be a positive factor. With the expected overwhelming vote of support, it will both discredit the seniors group, and also represent a show of support to help obtain government funding. Either way, the events centre benefits.
4/3/2014 11:38:26 PM
tbaycat says:
Hey “Dan Dan”. I might have agreed with you if you had not brought up the old tired “seniors” thing again. Can you not find ONE single rational argument for your support of the multi-plex? Why must all of your posts supporting the event center hinge on attacking seniors and nothing else?
4/4/2014 4:42:57 AM
rbosch says:
Just what is the purpose of this question? Is it a binding plebiscite question and if so, how can we make such a decision without all the facts. If the end result of the vote is to stop the "process" that would be a very sad day for the citizenry of Thunder Bay, as it would destroy whatever momentum and planning that has been done and I fear the lasting affects of making Thunder Bay a laughing stock, will hurt our reputation in wide reaching places. All City Council, in general, except for a few, are trying to do is get all the information in place so that an informed decision can be made. That is the "process" that Ms. Rydholm is trying to stop and it makes no sense at all to me to do so, except that this is either a person who is making a knee jerk decision because of pressure from a group of very rude people, or it is a grandstanding gesture, knowing it will be defeated at Council. Either way, this is not a good idea in my opinion. We need to get to the end of the studies first
4/3/2014 10:30:53 PM
tbaycat says:
Thank you Rod Bosch for finally jumping into this discussion. Could you please explain to the rest of us your post below on the “Citizens for a Downtown North Core Multiplex“ webpage? Is this planned closer of Red River Road another secret that is being withheld from the general public? Weren’t these parking spaces included in the city’s master parking plan for the Multi-Plex or is this just another lie too ?

"Rod Bosch: a lot of what you are talking of is happening. There is a new bar going into McNulty's I believe. Other food establishments have opened in the last few months,. THERE IS A MOVE AFOOT TO MAKE RRR A NO DRIVE ZONE IN THE SUMMER and encourage bars and eateries to have outdoor patios. "

This statement coupled with others on the webpage encouraging the removal of “old derelict” buildings to make room for "paid parking lots" makes me wonder if this is really about revitalizing the downtown core or just about maximizing the profits of the few that are there now.
4/4/2014 4:19:59 AM
S Duncan says:
You will never know all the details until it is finish constructed and in operation for a couple of decades.

We know more than enough already. You cannot hide behind the lack of information any longer. The city has gone far overboard in this project before it was warranted.

We have spent millions already on consultants, artists renderings, meetings, etc..

We know enough. Let us vote.

Why would anybody be against a vote?
4/4/2014 9:23:04 AM
Eastender says:
The purpose of this question is simple. YES means we continue with phase three. NO means we STOP the process, as the majority have decided not to spend any more money on the Event Centre. You and fastball cant seem to get it through your myopic vision that all the FACTS and FIGURES that are relevant are known and all other figures, what ever they may be, would just be optimistic biased projections. Irrelevant. Huge overruns, relocating the bus terminal, hydro station, developing much needed parking facilities, annual maintenance costs, these will be a huge drain on the tax base. There will be other projects of infrastructure that this city will need to fund through taxes. Building this thing is like putting all your eggs in one basket.These are the costs that we know are going to be there and they are adequate enough to be able to make a decision on wether this project goes ahead or not. I do believe the electorate is intelligent enough to make the right decision.
4/6/2014 11:18:35 PM
tsb says:
If the result is yes, the city will be forced to build a multiplex.

The silent "yes" majority is much larger than you think, btw. This is a hockey city where, according to many opponents of progress, many people never see a tax bill. You really think they'll vote against it?
4/3/2014 8:59:32 PM
tbaycat says:
I’m sorry TSB, but where in this question do you see the city being FORCED to build the multiplex if there is a yes vote?

"Are you in favour of city council CONTINUING WITH THE PROCESS to build the proposed event and convention centre in Thunder Bay?

You REALLY HAVE TO STOP with the fear mongering!
4/4/2014 2:57:49 AM
fastball says:
Well, tell me at what point do you advocate stopping the "process"?
They're just gathering information now. Let them do that, let them get all the facts and figures together to put before the voter - and THEN ask the question "do you support the city spending XX dollars to build this?" Yes or No.
Nowhere in your question is there a STOP mechanism in case it costs way more than we're willing to spend.
If they vote "yes" - the process will continue...and continue "to continue" all the way from the current research phase to actual construction.
No offense - but it's not a good question.
4/4/2014 2:52:58 PM
YellowSnow13 says:
If this is such a "Hockey city" then how about getting rid of Strath. Golf Course and building it there. Then at least the city property could be used all year instead of just the summer. If they can get rid of Municipal on a whim, and let me tell you, many people would like it to stay, but Council will do what it wants. People, THEY WORK FOR US!!!!!!
4/4/2014 8:24:08 AM
hardrawkin says:
Now I understand why this city looks so run down and decrepit.
4/3/2014 8:48:01 PM
homelessteen says:
I'm against the event center at this time because we have more important issues facing our city then lack of entertainment.

A plebiscite might just be what it takes to get the youth to vote at all. After all its the youth who will pay for the events center in the long run.

I may get stuck paying for it for the rest of my life, but I laugh best because they have a lot longer to live than I do and for sure they will paying for it for the rest of theirs.
4/3/2014 8:23:25 PM
Tbaylifer 1 says:
I believe a report is due back in June on the Phase 3 (funding) of Events centre. The election is not until October. 4 months should be enough time to understand where the city stands reguarding funding. Having a question ready for the fall ballot should not be an issue.
4/3/2014 8:19:53 PM
fastball says:
Apparently they need to announce that there's will be a question on the ballot 180 days ahead of time.
So basically 6 months notice has to be given.
That puts the cutoff next week or so.
They can't legally put it on the ballot after that.
4/4/2014 7:30:23 AM
lappeboy says:
Grow up Thunder Bay!
4/3/2014 7:49:47 PM
Watchmaker says:
The plebiscite in advance of the feasibility study is premature.

Perhaps people have forgotten that the university deal fell through due to "problems" with the land swap with the golf course.

Again - the Gardens has been on life support for 20 years. Time to turn the page.
4/3/2014 6:09:51 PM
Waldo Lydecker says:
The feasibility study in advance of a plebiscite is premature.

We've already identified the costs and the location. That's more than enough to know if we want to take any further steps.
4/3/2014 6:45:21 PM
lori says:
I agree with the posting from Mr. Dunick. calm debate

Why does this need to be a plebiscite question. why can't it be on the ballot but be an information vote and see how people respond. Obtain a better sampling of opinion but do not lock council in with a plebiscite. Seems like the best of both worlds and if that were to go forward, everyone could take a breath.

But I am offended by Councillor Johnson's remarks which are common on this council. "how can we go forward with this proposal when we don't even know ourselves"---paraphrasing.

Exactly. how can members of council say that the majority of people support this proposal, when most of the information has not been obtained. But that has not stopped council from pre-determining that this is the best idea as long as the other gov'ts support it.
There is no way to gauge public opinion on a project that is short so much info. After the election is too late. I cannot support a council spending this kind of $ without a vote.
4/3/2014 6:07:15 PM
progress now says:
I believe the mayor also said it was the most important project in the city today - paraphrasing also.

They can't have it both ways.
4/3/2014 6:32:29 PM
Arch Stanton says:
Citizens For a Waterfront Event Centre....

4/3/2014 5:59:38 PM
fastball says:
Try to keep up, Arch.
It has to be under 100M to get provincial or federal financial assistance. The trend in the past has been about a 30/30/30-ish split. So that makes our share about 30-40M dollars. We've already got 24 or so million in the kitty. There will be some private or corporate money being kicked in, I would assume. Worst case, we might have to borrow 10-15M or so
Which is a far cry from 106M.
4/4/2014 10:10:15 AM
Arch Stanton says:
Quote: "Rydholm said it would be premature to ask the public whether it wants an event centre at all."

WHY, exactly??????????????????????

If the majority doesn't want one at all, there's not much point in a Feasibility Study, is there?????
4/3/2014 5:53:18 PM
fastball says:
What a vague question.
Should we proceed? Seriously, what's that?
Should we stop all research and study into this? Or should we continue on? What happens when we find out the city's cost...do we have yet ANOTHER vote to see if we should proceed at that price?
As people have said earlier...a bad question is worse as no question.
This is just a lame attempt by a weak-kneed politician to be SEEN as doing something - regardless of its value. Style over substance...nothing more.
4/3/2014 5:46:22 PM
signman says:
The Concerned Taxpayers of Thunder Bay committee is considering the question proposed. Our biggest concern is that no more tax dollars are spent on this project until the taxpayers have spoken. All citizens that are entitled to vote need their voice to be heard on Oct. 27.
4/3/2014 5:44:41 PM
Wolfie says:
What are "The Concerned Taxpayers of Thunder Bay" and what makes their opinion worthy of this attention?
4/3/2014 6:01:50 PM
S Duncan says:
They are a group that is not exclusionary to anyone.

that's something that cannot be said for your organization.

they do not discriminate against anybody. All you need to be is a concerned taxpayer in the city of Thunder Bay.

everyone is welcome, not just "professionals" under a certain age.
4/4/2014 9:26:32 AM
Wolfie says:
I don't have an organization.
4/4/2014 10:41:55 AM
conker2012 says:
S Duncan, I challenge your statement on the group being non exclusionary.

Many in this group have openly accused people with opposing opinions as being not tax payers and that their opinion should not count. If you want I can find documented cases where they have accused people of not living in the city, or being renters.

The CTTB is only inclusive of TB taxpayers. From what I have seen, the other pro-event center supporting groups are inclusive of everyone in support regardless of location or taxation.
4/4/2014 12:02:42 PM
jb says:
The video posted the other day shows otherwise.
4/4/2014 2:46:04 PM
fastball says:
And what if we miss out on opportunities to get money from the prov/feds because we had to stop proceeding with this? The city is merely doing their homework now - getting information and answers from other agencies, and seeing what the eventual money breakdown would be. Why not wait until we can ask a question like "Are you in support of the city borrowing X dollars to proceed with the building of an event centre?" I mean, we've already got 25M in the kitty. If it's a 30% investment...we've practically got all the cash already. What's the big deal?
But until then, we have to do a bit of work to get answers from the prov/feds and see what's available from private sectors.
Wouldn't it make much more sense to wait with a plebiscite until all the really important questions have some answers? I think that if someone wants to know roughly what our share would be, and how that would affect their yearly taxes - that information should be available to make an INFORMED decision.
4/3/2014 6:47:22 PM
Eastender says:
Even if funded by government for the expected amounts of 35 million prov. and 35 million fed., it wouldn't matter. You dont seem to understand that the city is allready short about 12 million of their share, if cost overruns go 20 million, and thats not an unbelievable scenario in this town, you are up to 32 million. Take in the moving of the hydro substation, at a modest 10 million (just a very conservative guess, as it will probably be more), you're now at 42 million. Now add to that an operating and maintenance cost of 1.2 million annually, and you will have some pretty hefty tax increases just to cover the multiplex. Now add in other tax increases for infrastructure maintenance, which manages to go up yearly and you are going to have major increases to taxes. These taxes not only impact residents but businesses as well. Prices will rise to offset these taxes. Cross border shopping will be more popular than ever. These increases will be on top of already high taxation rates.
4/5/2014 12:14:25 AM
Eastender says:
The problem with your thinking and others who support this project is that you are out to win a dubious prize. Its like donating a million dollar house to a man whos income wont be adequate enough to pay the upkeep on the place, so his quality of life will actually diminish instead of being enhanced. Putting all this financial expectation on this single project is foolhardy, and purlely speculative. If you think for a minute that all these experts, can somehow predict with any accuracy the economic impact this project will have, then you may as well be gazing iinto a crystal ball. The 2006 report on a proposed event centre at that time clearly stated that one was not required and not worth the investment. What exactly has changed since then. I'll tell you what, absolutely nothing. If this glorified hockey rink is built, it will be much like the "charity" casino, sucking money and the life out of this community for years to come.
4/5/2014 12:43:49 AM
Eastender says:
An opportunity to aquire a trojan horse is not an opportunity I would consider answering the door to. The sound of this opportunity knocking has a sound reminiscent of the first four foreboding notes of Beethovens fifth symphony.
4/5/2014 1:26:04 PM
S Duncan says:
What are "young professionals" and what makes their opinion worthy of this attention?
4/3/2014 5:39:01 PM
Wolfie says:
4/3/2014 5:50:36 PM
S Duncan says:
what makes this group's opinion worthy of any special consideration?

what are young professionals? what is the age limit and what is criteria for being a professional?

is a professional fry cook allowed to join? or are they much more limited in their membership?

concerned taxpayers is obvious. these people appear to hide under some weird title to me.

and what makes their opinion so special? are they taxpayers that are registered to vote in Thunder Bay? if not, I don't care what they say.
4/3/2014 6:03:34 PM
tbaycat says:
Thanks for the link “Wolfie”. SHIFT sounds like an interesting and upcoming organization. I commend them for coming together to work towards a common goal. (much like the Women’s Business Network, PARO and the Chamber of Commerce all of whom I’ve been a member of). My only question is, and perhaps someone can clarify, is the numbers that Nathan Lawrence quotes in this article. He says that his organization of “450 young professionals” supports the event centre yet their website states that there are 2231 active members at this time. Is he saying that only 450 out of his 2231 members actually support the new multiplex?
4/3/2014 10:16:33 PM
crunchbite says:
They conducted a survey a few weeks ago to gauge their membership's opinions. The survey said that they would support the majority of respondent's, so it seems that a majority of the respondents support the event center. I believe that he might have been misquoted as saying 450 members opposed to 450 respondents they received via the survey.
4/4/2014 1:28:21 AM
S Duncan says:
The continued surveys on this site have shown the majority of people against this at least as it is proposed.

We do not know what Shift's survey question, how it was worded and how it was asked so it means nothing.

Its my belief that this group is focusing on one particular demographic in Thunder Bay (??, because we do not know that for sure) and that their opinion should only be viewed as a lobby group and not as individual citizens from all walks of life.

The concerned taxpayers of Thunder Bay is not exclusionary by any means, but clearly by name "Shift" is. That right there is enough for me to discount their survey and any position they take on this matter.

I do believe it is unrealistic for the media to use them as a point of reference in this story. However, not my site, not my rules.

Hopefully people think with their own minds and not hide behind groups or organized pushes for this hockey rink by groups with vested interests in it.

Scott Duncan
4/4/2014 9:17:31 AM
S Duncan says:
Why doesn't "shift" start collecting money from their members and supporters that they can donate to the city to help fulfil their dreams?

If these people are professionals and young surely they can afford the money and they have plenty of time to pay taxes to help support the annual $1.2 million losses every year?

Why dont they put up some cash? Why hasnt rod bosch's group started getting donations?

Fastball, how much have you personally contributed?

If theres people supposedly supporting this, where is their financial contribution?

put up some dough and perhaps people will take you more seriously.
4/4/2014 11:55:53 AM
progress now says:
Glad you asked.

How young is young is young and what is their definition of professional? Some definitions require individuals to complete a professional academic university program, and article for a number of years before they write an exam set by the self-regulatory board of the profession and if they pass, they are professionals. (ie doctors, engineers, lawyers, accountants etc.)

If they live too long, must they resign their membership?

Are real estate agents or sales associates professionals?

Enquiring minds want to know.
4/3/2014 5:57:32 PM
Leith Dunick says:
They're taxpayers. They're residents of Thunder Bay and they have an opinion on the subject.

It's kind of the same reason Ray Smith's group is getting attention. A lot of people probably wonder why his opinion matters. We choose to think it does.

SHIFT has been around for several years and its members are very involved and respected in the community.

They also reached out to us as an organization wanting to put their opinion on the record.

We're trying to give as many people as possible in this city a say.
4/3/2014 6:10:37 PM
progress now says:
Interesting comment:

"We're trying to give as many people as possible in this city a say."

I would say you don't try - you do. And the community is grateful.

The observations printed your letters to the editor are selected without fear or favour. I don't think any of your readers could take issue with that. If they did, they would get an argument from me. But you don't need defence.

4/3/2014 10:00:35 PM
Ranma says:
Considering businesses near the new court house are concerned about parking spaces, how the heck is the city going to provide parking for this monstrousity if they put it near the waterfront? Will they build another parkade, or tell people to walk 2km to get to their event.

4/3/2014 5:28:29 PM
fastball says:
Realistically, two kilometers from the Marina would put you at Powley Street to the North, and almost Martha Street on Red River Road.
So let's stop being ridiculous, alright? Try a couple hundred meters - worst case scenario.
We were down at Bluesfest last summer, with thousands of other fans - and no one seemed to have a problem with parking. I parked near the P.U.C. building - and walked a whole 100 or so meters to get to the venue. We've taken the family to the July 1st fireworks for years...and never had to park more than a few minutes awau. There are numerous streets to park on, numerous little lots, and a parkade at Red River and Court...which has gotta be a whole THREE blocks away. Even my 55 year-old legs can get me from Court Street to the Prince Arthur in roughly 2 pr 3 minutes.
4/3/2014 5:59:02 PM
Jack Frost says:
Democracy vs. Makeup

It is more than quite obvious to most if not all city and area residents and TAXpayers, that this current Thunder Bay mayor and city council's view of applied democracy is no different than applied makeup !!

So sad that they all shamelessly apply and remove this democratic makeup only as and when it suits them...

4/3/2014 5:24:31 PM
sinkoreswim says:
I doubt this is going to amount to much this late in the game, especially with how the mayor and most of the councilers stand
4/3/2014 5:06:05 PM
Wolfie says:
I actually like this question. Nothing wrong with asking the public if they should continue down this road. A question like this isn't really crippled too badly by the lack of information either.

I just hope that if/when it passes with a Yes vote, the issue will be settled and we can go full steam ahead.

And I fully expect that it will pass.
4/3/2014 5:02:40 PM
tbaycat says:
I totally agree with you on this “Wolfie”. This is a good question. It will let people feel that there democratic rights have finally been respected and will put to rest the question of what the majority of people in this city think of this project. Win / Win
4/3/2014 9:38:44 PM
chezhank says:
There was a report prepared by city administration in 2006 in response to Lakehead University's proposal to have a new event centre built in the city with residents approval with a plebiscite.
Council turned them down.
Here is a link to the report, and maybe someone can point out to me how that report does not apply today!
Please join in the Rally in front of City Hall Monday,April 07@5:45pm asking council to put a question on the ballot,and let residents have a direct vote on this issue.


henry wojak
mayor in waiting

4/3/2014 4:43:22 PM
fastball says:
Yes, yes....2006 was almost a decade ago. Time goes on, facilities continue to deteriorate, there's new economic realities, a downtown that seems to be on the verge of burgeoning, and perhaps a chance to get some financial assistance from the prov/feds that might not have been available in 2006.
Time marches on, Henry - you either keep up, or fall behind.
4/3/2014 6:03:59 PM
Eastender says:
Al the reasons for not going ahead with a multiplex in 2006 are still the same today. So you have a couple of new restaurants, big deal, that does not justify spending millions. All the facilities, sports and entertainment, in this city presently are not operating at capacity, nor near it. Valhalla Inn along with Victoria Inn, and other hotels and facilities can accomodate most if not all conventions to ever come to this city,
If all the details were to be ever revealed regarding the deal between the city and the hotelier, and the building of this multiplex , I would not be surprised if criminal charges were in order for influence peddling. Why else the extreme reluctance for a plebiscite. Favours are owed.
4/7/2014 11:30:29 AM
signman says:
There is only one way to settle this debate.
Everyone gets a vote just like when the Fort William Gardens was built in 1950.
See you in front of City Hall on Monday
April 7. 5:45 pm
4/3/2014 4:35:40 PM
p.o.ed taxpayer says:
These matters should proceed only with demonstrated support for the project; however I suspect this council/admin. will move the bulk of their discussion in-camera, because someone will hide behind the 'Legal issue' as a way to discuss out of the view of the public...then they will give a few standard lines and the ballot question will be determined to be 'premature'....jmho
4/4/2014 8:27:14 AM
Leith Dunick says:
While we encourage lively discussion on most stories, the event centre talk has turned nasty of late. Debate the issue, for or against, all you want. But please stick to the subject at hand. We all have our own opinions on this project and whether or not the city should proceed with it.
If your argument turns to personal attacks against other posters, we’re not going to post it, regardless of how valid the rest of your comment might be.
Debating the merits of someone’s stance can be done politely, if not firmly, without the name calling. That goes for city officials too.
If you want an event centre, tell us why. If you want a plebiscite, let us (and city council) know. But, please, enough with the personal attacks from both sides of the debate.
4/3/2014 4:23:29 PM
pylon says:
Some of the hubris on this board is incredible.
Not being sardonic but it's pretty sad that dad had to step in :(
4/3/2014 4:43:54 PM
Comments for this story are semi-moderated. Read our comment guideline.

Add a new comment.
You must log in to add comments.
Create a new account
Log In