Tbnewswatch Local News
Thursday July 2 2015
7:09 PM EDT
2014-04-16 at 13:25

Playing it safe?

FILE -- City manager Tim Commisso is seen in this 2012 tbnewswatch.com file photograph. The City of Thunder Bay manager says Thunder Bay will not follow Abbotsford, B.C., which is on the hook for more than $5.5 million after losing its AHL franchise.
FILE -- City manager Tim Commisso is seen in this 2012 tbnewswatch.com file photograph. The City of Thunder Bay manager says Thunder Bay will not follow Abbotsford, B.C., which is on the hook for more than $5.5 million after losing its AHL franchise.
By Leith Dunick, tbnewswatch.com

THUNDER BAY -- The failure of the American Hockey League in Abbotsford, B.C. has little bearing on the City of Thunder Bay’s pursuit of the Winnipeg Jets primary farm team, says Mayor Keith Hobbs and city manager Tim Commisso.

On Tuesday, Abbotsford officials announced they were severing ties with the Abbotsford Heat.

The buy-out, which came five years into a 10-year deal the city signed with the team, cost the western Canadian community more than $5.5 million. Abbotsford taxpayers had also subsidized the team to the tune of $5.1 million, a guaranteed income deal that ensured the municipality would cover any attendance shortfalls.

Asked if the city of Thunder Bay planned to sign a similar type deal with True North Sports and Entertainment, owners of the Jets, Commisso said absolutely not.

“No,” was his one-word initial response.

Commisso went on to say Thunder Bay and the Jets are both doing their due diligence, that no deal has been signed and locally they plan to do things right.

That wasn’t the case in Abbotsford, he said.

“Abbotsford built their facility first with 7,000 seats and then needed to get a tenant, so they agreed to cover the Heat’s losses beyond a certain level. They were also only averaging about 2,500 fans, maybe less,” Commisso said.

“That won’t be the case in Thunder Bay and that is also why we are looking at 5,700 seats, maximum.”

It didn’t help that the Heat were the primary farm-team of the Calgary Flames, a hated rival of the nearby Vancouver Canucks.

Hobbs said there won’t be any sweetheart deals made with any potential tenants, be it True North Sports and Entertainment or another group.

He also pointed out neither side has made a firm commitment to the other.

The Jets have announced they will be pulling their farm team out of St. John’s, N.L., where they averaged more than 6,500 fans per night, citing travel distance as the main reason. They are a partner in Thunder Bay Live, Thunder Bay’s preferred partner for the yet-to-be-approved, $100-million event centre slated for the city’s downtown north core.

But there are no guarantees the AHL club will ever land in Thunder Bay.

“We haven’t signed any deals with the Jets or an AHL franchise. They’re not even committed to coming here yet. They’re doing their due diligence. They’re a part of the Thunder Bay Live group, but no contracts have been signed,” Hobbs said.

Would the city consider an incentive-laden deal to lure a team to Thunder Bay?

Like Commisso, Hobbs said not a chance.

“It’s going to have to be affordable and sustainable, that whole project, right from building the event centre to who our partners are going to be. We’re not signing any sweetheart deals just to attract someone here,” he said.

The city plans to apply for money to pay a portion of the event centre’s cost through the federal government’s $14-billion Building Canada fund. Thunder Bay has set aside about $22.5 million to cover some of its share of the cost through Renew Thunder Bay.


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rbosch says:
Gee Henry, you, who seem to know everything about everything, if on a tour in January, why did you not ask someone from the FWG staff or someone from the Curling Club for an answer. If you had, you would have been told the facts, rather than passing along rumours and incorrect information. In my post, the first thing I said was that the FWG, as a structure, could continue and no change would have to be made to the FWCC. I later said that if it was decided to tear down the main structure, changes to the FWCC structure COULD be made. Unlike yourself and others who are wanting to stop any progress in the city, I would wait for information on the cost of making such a decision, but also like yourself, I am not on council, nor in a position to make such decisions, so I defer to those who do so.

4/19/2014 4:11:05 PM
lori says:
To the folks who don't think I get Marina park. I get it fine. We got a new building, a splash pad, some great walking paths, some trees, skate board section, some art. Did that equal $60 million dollars. Spend millions of dollars so that the upper 2% of the population can buy a condo in our park. That was the wasted money. We could have that stuff for a fraction of that money. That’s the waste but some feel no matter what it cost, it is all great cause the sidewalks look nice and the bent hockey sticks light up. 60 million dollars spent for that. Give some of us 60 million and see what we can deliver. Far more than what is in that park, I can assure you.
4/18/2014 1:48:34 PM
fastball says:
You sorta glossed over the 2 years of earthmoving and terraforming to create the footprint for the place. They moved hundreds of thousands of cubic yards of earth to extend the land out where water used to be. It's a new marina for the boats as well.
And I'm sure the whole concept of a new waterfront area was to give the 2 percenters a new place to live, right? I'd also like to see you qualify the "we could have that stuff for a fraction of the price" comment.
How exactly would you have gotten all the earthwork done, plus the buildings, the pad, the marina, the paths, the trees, the paving, the landscaping, the skate park, the dreaded bent sticks, the lighting and all the electrical work and the art - all for "a fraction" of the cost?
4/19/2014 9:37:56 AM
trips says:
@ bosch...how do you justify the city getting out of the golf business because of a 100 grand loss at municipal but its fine and dandy to get into an events centre business at a loss of 1.3 million?
4/18/2014 1:19:55 PM
Rbosch says:
Yes signman, they will continue to have the FWG, but NOT as a hockey arena. It is still a sound structure and it can be converted for some other use. The largest costs for running the FWG are the cost of running the compressor and ice making equipment and the high cost of running the high intensity lighting for hockey, etc. Elimination of those costs will result in a much lower deficit. The FWCC can exist for as long as they wish, even if it should be decided to tear the main structure down. The curling Club as its own ice making equipment and all that would be needed would be to make roofing changes over sheets 7 and 8, or reduce to a six sheet club. Please stop referring to the 34 year lease, as it is a non issue.
4/18/2014 11:55:55 AM
chezhank says:
@Rbosch I went for a tour during the open house in January,and the compressor room was off limits,but it was my understanding that it provided the ice making capabilities for the curling club. How much would it cost to "tear down the main structure".... "make roofing changes". The city's own report said the lease with the curling club is an issue which the consultants never addressed in their report.
4/18/2014 2:32:56 PM
signman says:
The proposed Event Centre by year five according to the phase 2 feasibility is to need a subsidy of between $1.5 and $1.7 million dollars from city tax payers. If the AHL team does not draw an average of 4,500 fans per game the amount taxpayers will be on the hook for will even be higher.
The Convention Centre component alone will require from city tax payers a subsidy of approx. $626,000 dollars by year five according to the report.
Also the report predicts or assumes there will be 82-83 events in the arena and 180 events in the Convention Centre every year.


No wonder there is a big disclaimer on page 99 of the report stating these are just assumptions just like the attendance figures!

And remember we will have to keep the Fort William Gardens operational as it is tied to the Fort William Curling Club that still has 34 years remaining on their lease with the city.

Time to wake up, pay the bills and take care of business!
4/18/2014 5:15:50 AM
Just Sayin' says:
Why all the talk about hockey? I thought we are calling this an event centre to get a pass with funders remember... This thing is a joke, where is the talk about the events or conferences this tax boondoggle will bring in? I don't have the confidence in City leadership to pull this off. We should forget the money losing arena and just build a conference centre onto the auditorium. Arenas do nothing but lose money and its not like we will pull in any bigger acts than the auditorium gets already.
4/17/2014 11:37:25 PM
sam says:
Wolfie, that is a great way to analyze the potential attendance, very interesting…you have me thinking…maybe we can do 4,500 at least. Good job. But do you think lack of parking will impact the numbers?
4/17/2014 9:53:27 PM
Wolfie says:

I have been to games at the arenas in both North Bay and Winnipeg, and parking is very much at a premium there too. I haven't been to St. John's so don't have first hand knowledge about that arena, but I understand that it is downtown as well.
4/18/2014 7:38:43 AM
orca says:
Maybe we should have all city officials signing a manifesto such that if the event centre loses money during operation, they will be obliged to hand in 75% of their earnings for the rest of their lifetimes. If it earns money, then they will get a percentage of the profit.
Moreover, all taxpayers should be able to provide support to the event centre just like we are able to choose which school district we support with our property taxes. If losing, their taxes should increase to support the event centre costs. If not, then their property taxes go down.
I believe this will be a win-win situation for everybody.
4/17/2014 6:56:52 PM
Zelig says:
These debates and controversies only occur within a community that straddles the line of viability. Tax dollars should never be gambled in the zone of uncertainty where there is no clear likelihood of success. The private sector doesn't usually rush into this zone unless they have some sort of government funding. Ever wonder why? Tax dollars are meant to provide for the necessities not 'create opportunities' or 'grow the economy'. It is uninspired leadership that follows the example of all the other towns/cities desparately trying to be more than they are. How brave and refreshing would it be to have a council admit that it's time to be mature and take care of the basics, rather than pursue the fun stuff? To aggressively pursue a strong fundamental infrastructure would be encouraging to the local business community and maybe provide some real value to the beleaguered taxpayer.
4/17/2014 5:43:41 PM
reese says:
Reading the comments sounds like if there is no hockey it has not any opposition
Just a suggestion $99 Duluth to Mesa AZ go to Frys buy $40 worth of groceries you get a free ticket to a NHL game and bring the groceries home A great deal no arguing
4/17/2014 5:18:30 PM
micky says:
Enough of the cheap talk lets get this thing going. Just think of how sweet it will be to see AHL hockey. If some people don't want any thing to do with the event center good there's more seating available for us supporters. Lets get it started!!!
4/17/2014 4:42:48 PM
signman says:
If the AHL wants to play in Thunder Bay they can play in the Fort William Gardens where the capacity is close to 4,000 or build their own rink. They can also pay the operating loss of well over a million dollars a year.
We simply can't afford it and don't need it! Don't expect your side roads to be cleared after this latest snow fall as the city has already used up their 2014 budget and went 3.5 million over budget last year on snow removal and is expected to go another 3 million over budget this year. I have already seen a number of accidents today and amny cars stuck as their is limited plowing and no salt or sand on many of the city streets.
And our province is 300 billion in debt. Let's start living within our means.
4/17/2014 4:07:45 PM
Robert Bob says:
smartguy83, see Signman comments, these are going to be close to the real numbers adjusted downwards from past results. With an aging population in Tbay, the attendence figures in 2017-2021 will be much lower than any projected numbers from a study or consultants report. Ticket prices will cost much more regarless of the product on Ice. Just maybe the entertainment value for a familty of 4 will encourage people to attend some games. Maybe 2.00 tickets on Tuesday. Hire another consultant or two to spin the marketing strategies for the saging attendence figures in the third year of the new event centre. Given the real world in which will live in this is the Truth, Not fiction. Im betting the city of Thunder Bay will end up providing Ticket price subsidies by year 3 to boast sagging attendance numbers. Free giveaways , people wil lbe rushung into Thunder Bay from other northern communities to Visit the new Event Center. Really ! You heard it here first the TRUTH nothing but the Truth.
4/17/2014 2:46:53 PM
NWO1085 says:
I have to agree with the comments about not being able to support an AHL team. While I am a hockey fan, Thunder Bay cannot support this with the limited population and isolation from surrounding communities. The focus should be on convention/concert spaces within the community and the overall replacement of an aging rink. I think it was the Sault Mayer that said "if you renovate the old rink, your still left with an old rink". I am in favour of the new event centre, just not the AHL team.
4/17/2014 2:27:04 PM
S Duncan says:
I need pretzels to throw.
4/17/2014 12:56:09 PM
sam says:
@ s duncan I think the city manager is a pragmatic guy, he will not make a reckless decision that leads to financial suicide, that doesn't mean he can't make a bad decision, I just don't think he will make a real bonehead move….I am more concerned about the decision making skills of people on council.
4/17/2014 12:32:25 PM
sam says:
I will support the team as best as I can, probably would go to 20 games, so I want them to succeed. But I don't see an average of 4500 for 40 games, maybe 3,500. I am trying to be positive here, and we all know what the AHL is, one step below NHL, the quality of players is very high, and at times it will look like an NHL game. So 4,500 is possible if Thunder Bay falls deeply in love with their team, unlikely, but possible.
4/17/2014 12:26:17 PM
signman says:
Conrad Boychuk and his team of consultants has suggested that the average attendance attendance for an AHL team will be around 4,500 for each of 40 home games here in Thunder Bay at a new propsed Event Centre.

Won't happen!

( disclaimer on page 99 of the feasiblilty report phase 2 regarding these assumptions)

The Lakehead ThunderWolves attendance has dropped to about 2,200 for regular season games which is the same as the semi-pro team
we had here in the 1990's for 8 seasons.

The Thunder Bay Twins, (five time Allan Cup Champions) drew an average of about 1700-2200 from 1970-1991.
The Thunder Bay North Stars averged about 600 fans for 3 homes playoff games this year and less for regular season games.
Attendance at hockey games is not like it once was and if it was not for an older crowd attendance would even be less. Many young people do not attend hockey games.

Without a direct vote on the proposed Event Centre attendance will even be worse!
4/17/2014 12:03:09 PM
TBAY Duffer says:
@Signman says.

Not to mention. Season Ticket prices are about 5 TIMES higher than T-Wolves prices. **

** Based on St John's Ticket prices)
4/17/2014 12:41:35 PM
bttnk says:
@signman - I don't believe comparing low tier, poor quality hockey like CIAU (Wolves) and the bad semi-pro leagues that came through Thunder Bay, to one of the best pro hockey leagues in the world, will really provide is with an accurate comparison.

Case in point, my family of 5 attending about 4-6 Thunderwolves games a year. The product is poor and the arena is dreadful. Meanwhile, I'll be in line for seasons tickets to support an American Hockey League team, because the product is high end.
4/17/2014 1:32:38 PM
progress now says:
Interesting point:

"I don't believe comparing low tier, poor quality hockey like CIAU (Wolves) and the bad semi-pro leagues that came through Thunder Bay, to one of the best pro hockey leagues in the world, will really provide is with an accurate comparison."

What you believe or I believe doesn't matter. What matters is what is realistic. If past is prologue, we would say the projections for attendance are unrealistic. Consultants rule that out but they have no better way of assessing attendance than we do. No one, and I mean no one except the people of Thunder Bay know best what the likelihood is here but our judgement has been substituted that for consultants OPINION.

We will see who is right but not for a few years.

Its kind of fun being an urban planning lab. This will be a case study that can be documented from beginning to end. By then, the consultants, administrators and our council will have moved on.

4/17/2014 2:45:11 PM
Wolfie says:
Using attendance of lower level hockey to project that of higher level hockey is a terrible idea.

Of the four major levels of hockey in Canada, they rank, in terms of average fan support, as follows: CIS, Major Junior, AHL, NHL.

Here is how attendance has been impacted in the same city when a higher level of hockey arrives:

St. John’s Fog Devils, QMJHL, 3,533

St. John’s Ice Caps, AHL, 6,287 (full to capacity)

Increase of 2,754, or 78% (and may have been bigger if they had more capacity)

Nipissing (North Bay ) Lakers, CIS, 1,731

North Bay Battalion, OHL, 3,366

Increase of 1,635, or 94%

Manitoba Moose, AHL, 8,404

Winnipeg Jets, NHL, 15,004 (full to capacity)

Increase of 6,600, or 79% (and may have been bigger if they had more capacity)

These are examples that the effect of moving up one tier of hockey can have. Remember that we would be moving up two tiers. These are examples that show more people will pay more $ for better hockey.
4/17/2014 2:16:23 PM
The Beaver..... says:
@ Lori
You got it right Lori all that ever is talked about here is Hockey. Nobody ever mentions Conferences and Conventions, and to think of this as a Hockey rink is pretty absurd. All the Hockey fans in the City can not fill the Gardens to 75% capacity. A lot of the Concerts and all at the Auditorium can not sell that one out either.
4/17/2014 11:45:52 AM
Robert Bob says:
Last commemnt today on the proposed "Event Centre" If this is such a good deal and profitable, then let a Private Consortium develop, build and manage the event centre for the next 20 years. The city will benefit from taxes. All the study's of potential economic benefits etc then are someone's else risk. Then can sell naming rights, run the concession stands , book and mange the event centre. They take all the Risk, True North is owned by (thompson) one of the richest men in Canada. The city can benefit from added parking revenue, fines from illegal parking. Not a single dime from Thunder Bay Rate Payers, maybe Fednor can provide some capital to the Private consortium, and maybe the Ontario Govt can give them development money. The City council would be Savant's if they could pull this off not costing a dime.
4/17/2014 10:02:36 AM
S Duncan says:
Lets be honest here..

Does anybody find it a little bit curious that our city manager can speak off the cuff so much about hockey, arenas and their seating capacity, teams and their contracts with municipalities etc... ??

Im glad he's seemingly up to speed on all these issues BUT..

do we have a city manager here or a hockey fan? If he's got some fetish for hockey (and we already know Hobbs does) is he capable of making impartial and logical decisions that his job requires?

Is he (or the mayor) capable of being objective in the pursuit of welfare hockey or will they both be blinded by their love of watching grown men in uniforms play games?

I think Thunder Bay needs a city manager in the chair, not a hockey fan.

Which one do we have?

and I believe that's a reasonable concern. Do you?
4/17/2014 9:26:21 AM
bttnk says:
Why can't Commisso be both? Because you don't like hockey? I would suggest our City Manager is both a hockey fan, as well believing in his mandate as City Manager and the code of ethics that go along with his profession.

S Duncan, no one takes you seriously when you take shots at everyone and anyone.
4/17/2014 1:20:45 PM
tooligittoquit says:
Where's the thunder bay border again? I want to move just on the other side!
4/17/2014 8:51:12 AM
lori says:
Mr. Dunick. you corrected the info about Mr. Roberto, why not Hobbs and Commisso. neither one had anything to do with Horizon. Done before their time. Regardless I painfully have to agree with S. Duncan and YQTYQT on this issue. I have no reason to believe the statements concerning this project. Let's look at the millions upon millions wasted at the Marina and now, "trust us" this will all be good.

For you supporters and there are many just like there are opponents please answer me one question. Not vague, but specific.

Tell me the conferences/conventions that are going to come here because this is built. Don't tell me the ones we will try to get as we spend 100 million to try and make 500 grand. Tell me specifics because right now, this pie in the sky dream, and that is what it is, is being looked at as some sort of saviour for a town already doing better than most, but like Horizon and the Marina, Council will find a way to screw it up with this 2nd mistake by the lake.
4/16/2014 10:53:57 PM
fastball says:
How did the Marina get "screwed up"?
How exactly was millions "wasted"?
The place looks great. There's lots of people coming and going both summer and winter.
Unless you merely disapprove of the project in its entirety...?
4/17/2014 7:37:46 AM
exceptionally local says:
I don't believe Hobbs was involved in the Marina either? I seem to remember him speaking about finishing the in progress projects when he was first elected and that was it.
And I agree with fastball, the Marina is amazing and I love going there all year long with my kids. Definitely a valuable investment in the family structure in our city.
4/17/2014 9:55:23 AM
bttnk says:
@fastball, exceptionally local - This is a perfect example of why you and I will never see eye to eye with the Lori's of our City. They believe that the redevelopment of our waterfront is a waste of money and a "mistake by the lake". On the other hand, we believe that this was a project that absolutley had to go forward and based on all of the families and use we seeing there, the success is undeniable.

I'm not sure it is worth trying to convince this crowd.
4/17/2014 1:14:51 PM
Kam River says:
There is too much wink wink, when it comes to this events Centre.
Why are they pushing this down the communities throat.
This present council is total out of control. Hopefully the Prov and the Fed;s will put a stop to the project.
But by that time the Mayor and council will have spent how many millions and committed us to millions more.
4/16/2014 7:11:07 PM
signman says:
Drive down to the marina and check out the
This is where the phantom hotel is supposed to have been built about how many years ago! What's the hold up?
Is there a secret deal that the Event Centre must be guaranteed to be build at the Water Street Bus Terminal site before any more work is done on this hotel?
4/16/2014 4:53:55 PM
Wolfie says:
No. But thanks for asking.
4/16/2014 5:25:19 PM
fastball says:
"Slated to open in 2015.." as per their press release.
Geez, guys - not everything you don't understand is a conspiracy. When you hear hoofbeats - maybe just assume it's horses....not wild zebras.
4/16/2014 6:02:54 PM
S Duncan says:
When I hear hoofbeats coming from city hall, zebras are not the first thing I think of.

its usually bull that comes to mind.
4/16/2014 8:36:12 PM
tbaycat says:
Fastball …. Could you please provide me with the link to this press release? I might have missed it. The last thing that I read on the hotel construction was a Feb 26, 2014 CBC news article. (I am not being facetious asking this in case you are wondering :) I sometimes miss updates because of the nature of my work.)
4/17/2014 3:29:49 AM
fastball says:
4/17/2014 10:59:11 AM
jb says:
They're working on it now so stop spreading your BS. This is the second false statement you made about the hotel development today. STOP! Do your research and stop spreading nonsense to try and gain support for "concerned" agenda. As a side note to the TBNewswatch admins, can you please stop approving comments that are not based on fact? Every article about the event centre is filled with disinformation from a select few commenters.
4/16/2014 10:41:27 PM
John@otb says:
Do you read reports and news articles? It has been stated on a few occasions that the hotel construction will start July 2014. The hotel has nothing to do with an event centre. The speculation that goes on by Thunder Bay's "armchair" experts is getting ridiculous. I still have a fellow who comes into my work place to try to convince me that they couldn't sell any units in the second condominium going up at the waterfront. Even after I tell him they are starting work on floor five of this building, and there are only 17 units available for purchase, he remains adamant that I am the one who is wrong. Seems if certain individuals can't have it their way, they will make things up to stir the pot.
4/16/2014 11:25:40 PM
bttnk says:
As an FYI to everyone. Abbotsford is about 45 minutes southeast of Vancouver. Almost no one goes there to "visit" and they have difficulty attracting "events" with so many options in Vancouver. Abbotsford would have benefited from having implemented the phased process that Thunder Bay City council is following when they built their event centre. Thunder Bay on the other hand, shouldn't have to compete with any other cities within close proximity.
4/16/2014 4:38:27 PM
ibrando says:
You better tell Danny Williams it's not a done deal!
He seems to think otherwise.
Are we now going to forge ahead with building the welfare dome without a guaranteed tennant?
4/16/2014 4:25:08 PM
S Duncan says:
in that article Danny Williams says that the Jets organization claims Thunder Bay was the preferred "bidder" for the hockey franchise.

Just what did we "bid" and promise for?

Who's lying here? The great, cant do no wrong (as the leftys claims) Danny Williams, or our own backwater untrustworthy city officials?
4/16/2014 5:01:35 PM
Dan Dan says:
These comments are getting completely out of hand. We have several users that are using this community discussion place to bludgeon home their minority opinions. We need a max. comments per article implemented if we're going to have meaningful discussion.
4/16/2014 4:18:38 PM
jb says:
Removing the ability to click the "agree" button on their own posts multiple times would be nice too.
4/16/2014 10:58:06 PM
S Duncan says:
but then who would agree with skyhigh and enquirer all the time?
4/17/2014 8:18:14 AM
Meta says:
Don't forgot to build the monorail! Monorail! Monorail!

Watch the old Simpson episode to see the reality and parity to Thunder Bay
4/16/2014 3:57:29 PM
Sudbury Yahoo says:
I think if you sign a binding agreement with a consortium that owns and supplies the team, operates the arena for the city and does all the design and construction work, I think you're pretty safe.
You kinda have the bases covered.
4/16/2014 3:51:01 PM
robert Bob says:
The 5 yr avg attendance in Tbay for the Jets AHL team will be approx 1500 per night. They are getting 6500 per night avg in St Johns. It won't really matter how the "spin doctors" cook the projected numbers this will be another "Great White Elephant" for Thunder Bay Taxpayers. Lets build a field of dreams, lets build more parking garages. The tax payers will be on the hook for at least 45 million all said and done , plus the yearly operating losses, which will me higher Mill rates, Lets Tax all the business as well more to help off-set this grandur dream. Oh wait what about the spin off revenue, addtional tourism, maybe the Ring of Fire will contribute to offset the losses. Hell the smart move for the City would be to sell off Tbay Tel, collect 450 million, invest 350 million over 20 years and pay off the "event centre" in whole with the 100 million if its such a good deal. Event parking I'm estimating 20.00 to park near the centre will bring in lots of revenue.
4/16/2014 3:37:13 PM
smartguy83 says:
Good job coming up with random attendance figures based on absolutely nothing? Do you want a cookie?

I'm pretty sure the LU Thunderwolves do better than that for a significantly worse brand of hockey.

I have seen maybe 5 LU games in my life. I will be getting season tickets for an AHL team if it happens.
4/16/2014 3:58:54 PM
Leith Dunick says:
I want a cookie...
4/16/2014 4:01:46 PM
S Duncan says:
Hopefully not one the taxpayers have to buy for you? :)
4/16/2014 5:43:17 PM
papercut says:
Really, you will buy season's tickets. Great. Do you have any idea just how much they will cost?

I would love to buy season's tickets for our incoming hockey team....but the Goons at hydro, union gas, and city hall...are stealing all of my disposable income.
4/17/2014 11:38:58 AM
n00n says:
My family will be as well (purchasing season tickets) and we don't even like hockey. It will be fun to take the family out or take some of friends out on a weekend...

It's hilarious that this topic keeps some of you up at night...It's a done deal.
4/17/2014 3:06:06 PM
S Duncan says:
suuuure you will.

Thunder Bay fans have a habit of dressing up like empty seats, so you'll fit right in.
4/17/2014 11:12:18 PM
tiredofthebs says:
Time to turn the propaganda machine off. The sky is not falling. The "Event Center" has absolutely nothing to do with the AHL team. As it's clearly stated, Abbotsford built an arena and had no tenant. They then struck a deal (a very bad one) to lure a tenant in. That was their mistake.......No where does it say building the arena was the cause of them handing over 10 million dollars. Pick your fight, is it a hockey rink you don't think we need? You're wrong. The Gardens is well past its prime. Probably the worst small to mid-size hockey venue I've been to. Is it an events center that we don't need? You're wrong. Concerts....number 1 priority. Decent venue that holds enough ticket buyers to make a tour stop worthwhile. Location: is the marina not your desired choice for a venue? Too bad, deal with it. walk 3 blocks from your parking spot to your seat. quit grasping at straws...there will be plenty of handicapped parking for the persons that require it.
4/16/2014 3:05:03 PM
robert Bob says:
The Event centre will sit idle approx 40 % of the year. This is FACT, when take in account any other city across Canada not in a MAJOR market. Sault Ste Marie Essar center was busy 134 days with events other than Hockey. They lose money each and every year. Cost to operate facility is much greater than revenue it produces. This is FACT,There s not a single politican who is accountable when spending other peoples money. Tax and Spend is all they know. Not one of them anywhere could run a business and be profitable. Its no different in Tbay. Build it and its going to lose money. The big question will be how much per year , per taxpayer over how many years. It will be good for Thunder Bay, just like every other city across the country.
4/16/2014 3:48:47 PM
yqtyqt says:
"It’s going to have to be affordable and sustainable, that whole project, right from building the event centre to who our partners are going to be. We’re not signing any sweetheart deals just to attract someone here,”

That depends on ones definition of affordable and sustainable. Taxpayers have heard this pie in the sky dream before. The community auditorium would be self supporting. Victoriaville will be self supporting. Timmy's own beginnings, the Canada Games Complex, was not going to cost a penny to operate.

So please Timmy/Hobbs, can you define this sustainability for us taxpayers who have been burned far too many times.

What a pile of garbage! If the spin-doctors want to sell this as an AHL destination, then let them put up the money and a long term contract backed by securities to back this dream.

I would bet that this facility would be empty more days than not. Just like other facilities around the rest of Ontario along the 400 series highways.
4/16/2014 3:03:52 PM
Richy says:
Well you nay sayers better get your pots and pans together. All 30 of you and head down to city hall hope there's room for all of you.
4/16/2014 2:54:22 PM
chezhank says:
“City Council has authorized City Administration to negotiate a non-binding letter of intent(LOI) to form a partnership with a consortium called Thunder Bay LIVE!, which will allow the City to move ahead with the facility's development. Thunder Bay LIVE! was selected after a Request for Expressions of Interest process, which is part of Phase 3 of the event and convention centre project. The letter will be presented to City Council prior to April 14.”
When I emailed the city manager,council,mayor and clerk asking if a LOI has been presented ,non have responded in their pursuit of this Mistake by the Lake.
4/16/2014 2:44:47 PM
smartguy83 says:
Uhoh! It's April 16th! better panic the presentation is 2 days late!

I bet you have never had to change a deadline at work, right?
4/16/2014 3:56:52 PM
fastball says:
Why haven't the city responded?? Because they've probably set up a filter on their email that directs all incoming mail from you to their Delete file.
4/16/2014 4:01:19 PM
arjay says:
remember when "aldo" and His council partners said Busloads of Tourists would be lining up at the OLG?
NEVER HAPPENED!!!! A civic election, cannot come soon enough. A Whole new Council should be voted in. Administration needs some adjusting also!!
4/16/2014 2:40:07 PM
Leith Dunick says:
Point of clarification: Aldo Ruberto was not a member of council when the Casino was being debated or built.
4/16/2014 3:53:02 PM
Enquirer says:
Leith, be a gentleman and offer arjay some Aloe vera for that burn.
4/16/2014 5:40:48 PM
Samoa Joe says:
Aldo Ruberto said millions of tourists dollars will be coming into Thunder Bay when the event center is built. Why did Abbotsford turn their back on all those millions of tourist dollars by buying out the contract of the Heat Aldo? It is exactly like the CBC article stated and the independent studies have shown. Those numbers are greatly exaggerated how event centers are supposed to benefit a city.
4/16/2014 2:26:58 PM
smartguy83 says:
Like the article said...they were subsidizing losses. Our city will not agree to doing so. This will help mitigate the risk.

You can't pick one cities failure and assume it will happen everywhere. There are many successfully run farm teams.
4/16/2014 3:55:18 PM
reese says:
As of this week the city of Glendale is going to negotiate with the native band about a casino they have spent millions of doolars fighting it in court for fear of loosing revenue folm the Coyotes and Cardinals
550 million debt for Coyotes who nows how much for the Cardinals
Revenue from the natives expected to be 300 million
The only thing they can do different is to get paid up front for the buildig and operating costs buy whoever wants it
We all know were Detroit is today
4/16/2014 2:15:27 PM
fastball says:
Glendale?? Seriously?
Let's compare apples to apples here. You're talking NHL here.
As for Detroit - you DO remember the recession, right? The auto-makers going through tough times? I didn't hear anything about a single building causing any problems in Detroit.
Both places' issues have NOTHING to do with a local event center. Get real.
4/16/2014 4:04:41 PM
S Duncan says:
Detroit is a valid comparison. Once a great city that flourished with industry full of blue collar, union workers with a 1% unemployment rate, it is now on the rocks.

The unions killed the jobs, the product suffered, and unemployment skyrocketed. Other places produced better products without all the constraints that a blue state like Michigan holds onto. Its population first became stagnant, then began to drop... and rapidly.

No amount of welfare could fix it. No amount of "revitalizing" their downtown could fix it. No stupid Robocop or Fist statues could fix it.

Today its a haven for crime, murder, and crumbling infrastructure. The police don't even come anymore unless theres a murder in progress. The roads have been neglected all while corrupt city councils have stolen money for pet projects and their peers.

The money spent on Cobo Hall and Joe Louis arena and parking structures was all in vain.

the city continues to crumble despite federal welfare.

so yes, its apple to apple.
4/16/2014 4:37:14 PM
fastball says:
Nope...I'm pretty sure the seeds of urban blight were planted when the automakers decided that in order to make even MORE money (like 4 billion annually wasn't enough) - they'd outsource manufacturing to places where they'd only pay a fifth of what they paid in labour previously. Where new factories were built FOR THEM (welfare factories??) as incentives to move to that area. Nope...they moved so they could engage in the perfect capitalistic panacea - where labour supply far outweighs demand. Where workers will cheerfully work for pennies. Blame the hubris of not realizing that the Asians were far surpassing American products in reliability and price point.
By constraints - do you mean worker safety or fair pay?
People had moved to the suburbs to get out of the city...and now the suburbs were wastelands because the jobs went.
While the unions may have had their day in the 60's and 70's - those times were long gone. Don't blame yesterday for today's problems.
4/16/2014 5:57:44 PM
S Duncan says:
Here, you should read this, its much better reading than your hop-all-over-the-place comment.

It ties in with Detroit, the welfare hockey teams, hockey team owners, the use of taxpayer dollars and the continued failures of empty promises much like the ones we have heard about our welfare dome and marina.


the last few lines sum it up.

“There’s a long history of politicians promising a renaissance, a comeback, a rebirth, basing their rhetoric of a construction of a heavily subsidized building in the city of Detroit,” said LaFaive. “And we’ve shown that it hasn’t worked.”

the similarities are unmistakeable.
4/16/2014 10:20:21 PM
fastball says:
Well, I hop all over the place because you just have SO many points to correct - forgive me for only giving them a few lines each, but I'm limited to a couple of paragraphs.
If we were as depressed as Detroit, with the city declaring bankruptcy and all - yeah, you might have a case for the "bread vs. circuses" line. But TBay's not in the same economic situation - so once again, apples to apples comparisons, please.
4/16/2014 11:13:51 PM
S Duncan says:
All the things we are doing are things that Detroit already tried.

Detroit went bankrupt which meant all their city workers lost their pensions etc..

the same thing can and most likely will happen here if we continue following in Detroit's footsteps.

Did you read the article I linked to or just cry that it isn't true? You can march right off a cliff telling yourself you were correct all the way to the bottom, but it wont make the landing any nicer.
4/17/2014 8:29:56 AM
S Duncan says:
saying the opposite of what I say is not actually "correcting" anything.

I didn't claim we ARE Detroit I said we are similar. I said the "similarities are unmistakeable".

I at least tied their situation into our with the large sums they have spent in the downtown pretending to "revitalize" the area and what not. Its all the same rhetoric we hear from not only our politicians, but politicians everywhere from broken cities within the rust belt.

What we have is nothing new. what we are being told is nothing new.

If every city spent millions trying to revitalize their downtown core and failed (they all have) what makes you think this will be any different here?

but you wont answer that or give it any thought. you will just parrot the words of bubble headed left wing tax and spend politicians everywhere.

You want to try something different than all those other foolish cities? How about lowering taxes/debt and making this a great place to raise a family?

much better than welfare domes
4/17/2014 8:57:37 AM
S Duncan says:
"Don't blame yesterdays for todays problems"

are you for real?

So yesterday you failed to make your mortgage payment. Today the Sheriff is seizing your property.

You want to blame the sheriff huh?

Yes folks, that's the thought process of the left wing.
4/17/2014 8:38:51 AM
Jeannied says:
I don't care how much you hate unions, to say unions killed Detroit in any way shape or form is truly the most misinformed statement you've made here under any name. Go educate yourself before you make such off the cuff ill informed false statements.
Also what do you think the definition of welfare is? You use the word a lot.
4/16/2014 6:08:21 PM
S Duncan says:
welfare ('w?l?f??)
1. health, happiness, prosperity, and well-being in general

2. (Government, Politics & Diplomacy)
a. financial and other assistance given to people in need

b. (as modifier): welfare services.

3. (Government, Politics & Diplomacy) Also called: welfare work plans or work to better the social or economic conditions of various underprivileged groups

4. (Government, Politics & Diplomacy) the welfare Brit the public agencies involved with giving such assistance

5. (Government, Politics & Diplomacy) on welfare US and Canadian in receipt of financial aid from a government agency or other source

[C14: from the phrase wel fare; related to Old Norse velferth, German Wohlfahrt; see well1, fare]

Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003

Pay close attention to part 2.

Do you need a union to hold your hand while crossing the street too?

educate yourself= code for my emotions trump facts and logic
4/17/2014 8:16:50 AM
SomeGuy says:
You can't compare Thunder Bay to Detroit. Detroit's downfall is because the majority of the population fled to the suburbs over the course of 40 years leaving the city proper with very little people but the metro area has stabilized at 4.3ish million people for the last 40 years, while the City of Detriot's population has decreased by 1.8 million people over the same time. Where did they go? They went to the suburbs.

The recent bankruptcy is due to the fact that there has been chronic mismanagement of Detroit's finances including several Mayors even going to jail. Last time I checked Lynn Peterson isn't in jail.

Also Detroit still has to provide services to the area that once housed 1.8 million people now draws only 700,000 people. In addition given the fact that African-Americans ($32,000 per year) have a large income inequality compared to Caucasians ($54,000) coupled fact that Detroit is 83% African-American plays another large factor in things.

I could keep going but I've run ou
4/16/2014 6:25:02 PM
S Duncan says:
You are partially correct.

People left for the suburbs to escape crime and welfare payments. They fled from the drug users, prostitution, and the ghettos their city had become.

Sound familiar?

Have you not noticed that home values increase the farther you get from the cores of Thunder Bay?

You can make all the excuses you want but the truth is liberal policy create havens for crime and welfare.

People are leaving Thunder Bay. Our population has stagnated and fallen. People don't want to live in the core. They like the convenience of city living but run far away from the city itself.

Have you not noticed the developments outside the city limits ballooning? Rural living is where its at. They can use the city when they need it, and not pay for its idiotic programs like free needles and booze for addicts.

The parallels to Detroit are many. You can make all the excuses you want. The Detroit politicians kept telling themselves they were right too.

Detroit is our future.
4/17/2014 8:08:33 AM
tbay87 says:
Even though the scale's higher, Glendale is valid to bring up since it shows what can go wrong with arena deals. There are a lot of similarities to potential problems here, even though the facility was 3x bigger: promises of economic benefits, a level of hockey ill-suited for the city, prospect of empty arena when team leaves, residents trusting politicians, politicians wanting to leave their legacy, etc.

You're never going to find a perfect apples to apples comparison, but history has shown arena deals have a very shaky history and politicians have been fairly incompetent at navigating their creation. So it's fair to be very concerned about this events center, even if it's slightly less crazy than Glendale's idea.
4/17/2014 12:24:22 PM
signman says:
Ramming this Event Centre down the throats of city taxpayers without a direct vote will end up being another Abbotsford. A big mistake by the lake. As the Chamber of Commerce stated recently " taxes will reach alarming levels if municipal spending continues to increase at the current rate"
4/16/2014 2:14:41 PM
taekat says:
Abbotsford held a referendum for the Events Centre - the city chose - albeit by a small margin but they did choose the Events Centre. I was part of Abbotsford and voted for the Events Centre as well. Needless to say, best-case scenario should always be accompanied by worst-case scenario. In hindsight, I felt that if we had real hard numbers we may not have voted - however the carrot still may have been too big for people to say no too. The truth of the matter is that Abbotsford did not need an Events Centre but they really wanted to become their own city. When your 60kms from Vancouver - it's hard to compete. While Thunder Bay isn't 60kms it is 600kms from Minneapolis and 700kms from Winnipeg.
4/16/2014 6:00:23 PM
Tbay Fan 1 says:
Bring Change Thunder Bay, We need it
4/16/2014 2:05:49 PM
S Duncan says:
We have lots of barely manageable debt as it is. We have a large unsold out arena that loses money every year already.

The only change is more taxes, less parking, more debt, more welfare for businesses.

Is that the change we need?
4/16/2014 3:00:35 PM
S Duncan says:
Writing that story must be like navigating a minefield by now Leith. You write one wrong thing and people from everywhere (including me) will jump all over it.
4/16/2014 2:04:01 PM
Leith Dunick says:
We're trying to get the answers to the questions people are asking, and this story came straight out of the comments being made on this site. And it was an obvious follow-up given the events of yesterday in B.C.
4/16/2014 3:51:11 PM
S Duncan says:
If I could actually trust Commisso and Hobbs that story might be a little more reassuring than it is.

Im sorry, but after Horizon and their secret "sweetheart" deal that was achieved all behind closed doors and off limits to the public...

...I don't trust either of these guys. You made your bed guys, if you want to earn trust from the people of Thunder Bay, you've got a very long road ahead of you.

Thanks for the story though Newswatch! You saw a valid question and you pursued it. Again, good job!
4/16/2014 1:56:28 PM
smartguy83 says:
You may not trust them but a whole lot of us do. Not worth arguing whether you are right or wrong because you are entitled to your opinion.
4/16/2014 3:52:31 PM
S Duncan says:
You shouldn't pretend to speak for people.

That said. I have no valid reason to trust these people because of their past doings. Those are undeniable, and they caused that distrust completely by their own doing.
4/16/2014 4:29:19 PM
Decide says:
Quote "...I don't trust either of these guys. You made your bed guys, if you want to earn trust from the people of Thunder Bay, you've got a very long road ahead of you." End quote.

Ahh, hypocrisy at its best!
4/17/2014 6:15:51 AM
S Duncan says:


"a whole lot of us.."

yes, you really nailed me there huh?
Back to dugout you go.
4/17/2014 11:40:25 AM
Wolfie says:
I guess you missed the part where you spoke on behalf of "the people of Thunder Bay"?

To put it in your parlance... "a swing and a miss"!
4/17/2014 1:12:00 PM
spazz says:
"if you want to earn trust from the people of Thunder Bay, you've got a very long road ahead of you"

Do you think maybe that was the part he was refering to? The part where you implied you were speaking for the entire city?
4/17/2014 1:41:13 PM
S Duncan says:
Ok, yes I see it now. I'm sorry I must have missed that part.

I was wrong. My point was still correct though. We shouldn't pretend to speak for anybody other than ourselves and I am apparently guilty of it. It was an honest mistake but not inexcusable.

Im glad you guys caught it and called me on it. That's only fair because we all know I would do it to you in a heartbeat.

So, I apologize and take back the remark. With all the typing Ive done on this subject Im bound to make a mistake here and there in the thick of things.

All I can ask is for forgiveness, Im still just human.

but Im still gonna come out swingin at my next at bat.. and you better get close to the fences because I rarely bunt!
4/17/2014 11:25:58 PM
DougMyers says:
We already know how poor your comprehension is so I will spell it out for you.

You said "if you want to earn trust from the people of Thunder Bay," insinuating trust from more than just you is lost. As always you try to turn things around when you are incorrect.

Try to stick to the facts and not your opinion. I know it's hard for you but please try.
4/17/2014 1:41:36 PM
Who-cares says:
Just who is "Thunder Bay Live"? Also what's with all the secrecy revolving around this whole event centre? It all smells of yet another back room deal.
4/16/2014 1:55:24 PM
SomeGuy says:
In several articles it clearly states who are members of Thunder Bay Live. It's really not that hard to find, but I've taken the liberty of finding the article for you.

4/16/2014 2:52:40 PM
Marak says:
"Little bearing" huh...

Tell that to my tax bill in say 5 years time... :(

Will Commisso or Hobbs send me a personal check to cover my tax increase for their "legacy" project...?
4/16/2014 1:40:08 PM
tiredofbull$ says:
Maybe it is time we contact the federal and provincial governments and the areas of governments where their portion of funding is coming from and let them know a lot of the citizen's of Thunder Bay are against this project and that our own city council will not give us a plebiscite on this multiplex. Then maybe the federal and provincial governments will think twice before handing over any money to help build it or will ask the city to show them proof that a majority of the citizen's of Thunder Bay are for it.
4/17/2014 2:28:46 PM
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