Tbnewswatch Local News
Wednesday July 1 2015
5:08 PM EDT
2014-05-27 at 22:03

New look

People wait to hear a presentation Tuesday evening.
Jamie Smith, tbnewswatch.com
People wait to hear a presentation Tuesday evening.
By Jamie Smith, tbnewswatch.com

The Milton's are looking forward to a new event centre.

Season ticket holders in Thunder Bay since the days of the Twins, they've loved their time at the Fort William Gardens. But with small seating and accessibility issues, the couple says it's time for the city to move forward.

They were part of 155 mostly familiar faces both for and against the proposed $100 million event centre at the Italian Cultural Centre Tuesday night as the city presented conceptual drawings of the 50,000 square-foot space.

"It's been a great place but it's time to move on and get something new," Maureen Milton said of the Gardens.

Ray Milton said what they've seen of the idea so far looks excellent. Maureen said railings along the stairs jumped out at her as something the Gardens was lacking.

"I think that's a very good feature," she said.

It's features like that Phil Teau said makes the place look functional while keeping aesthetics in mind.

"I like the openness of the centre," he said.

While in favour of the project if government and corporate funding makes it affordable to the taxpayer, he was hoping to see drawings at the open house that showed other events than just hockey.

"That might help me picture it a little bit better," he said.

John Murray moved back to Thunder Bay from London, England two weeks ago to be closer to family and open a new restaurant on the city's North side. He's been hearing from family and friends about the proposed centre and wanted to see the plans for himself.

"It's interesting to see how it's all progressing," Murray said. "I think its a great thing for the city personally."

While most of what was presented to the public echoed a press conference earlier Tuesday, consultants did tell the crowd that a parking structure and proposed pedestrian walkway would likely be removed from the project. Earlier estimates pegged those features at $9.25 million.

Opposition to the proposed centre is still strong, suggests Ray Smith, who heads the Concerned Taxpayers of Thunder Bay lobby group. Smith said late Tuesday his group will be issuing a press release on Thursday detailing new information about public support of the project. 

"The up-to-date results of this on going poll will be very interesting in light of the so called transparent process the city has been conducting for the last several years including tonight's meeting. Gary Green of Thunder Bay Live has stated we need public input and that's exactly what the Concerned Taxpayers of Thunder Bay are doing," Smith said via an electronic communication to Dougall Media. 

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Stephen says:
Oh, my goodness, calm down everyone! Don't forget you are living in a town that built a perfectly good shopping mall, and then tore it down a few years later and put a casino there.
Don't be surprised.
5/28/2014 9:33:50 PM
Bienriff says:
Just wondering when they build this center where will all the Transports and Motor Coachs parks for the big concerts and the television trucks also. No Parking? Will people pay the higher prices for LU Games, never mind the AHL ticket prices.Ticket prices for UMD Hockey Mens are $25 & $34 for playoffs. I would love to see a new center, but I worry about the cost to attend and how many will.With a new convention center what happens with our current halls that are struggling to keep open now? Just some food for thought.
5/28/2014 1:21:54 PM
Wolfie says:
Inside the building, on the event level. There is plenty of room for this. They explained this last night.
5/28/2014 3:15:14 PM
Whodo says:
There will be big negative changes now and later the price will still be over the top!
5/28/2014 11:56:11 AM
rob20 says:
Huge mistake to remove the parkade. Was the parkade not recommended by the design "experts" the city hired? So why are we ignoring their recommendations on such a MAJOR issue like parking?
5/28/2014 9:44:52 AM
conker2012 says:
Rob, no the pakade was not recommended, but rather suggested as a possible solution to the problem. The problem is that the area is short 200 public spaces. The last report did not take into consideration private spaces being leased for event parking. If the new private owner of the Ontario government building decides to lease out their parkade for event parking there would be 175 spaces right across the street. There is also the private lots on Van Norman that sit empty most nights and a lease agreement for event parking could generate revenue for the property owners in the off hours.

FYI the Rogers center in downtown T.O. Does not have a single public parking space or local subway or street car stop. It holds 60,000 people at capacity events like UFC. The lots in the area are almost entirely privately owned. Parking problem is all in your mind and can be solved with your legs, (or combined with any; transit, taxis, carpooling, moving downtown, lift+, boats, float planes, etc....).
5/28/2014 11:57:55 AM
sawmillsteve says:
Can't wait for my taxes to go up once this Welfare Dome is build...
5/28/2014 7:40:04 AM
The Badger Mountain Hermit says:
5/28/2014 7:21:49 AM
smartguy83 says:
Whether this be an accurate opinion or not, the fact is the city NEEDS a new facility. People who don't have interest in this facility just don't get the need. It's more than just boosting the economy.

For someone people to suggest "a rink is a rink" is totally wrong.

Maybe we should take technology out of classrooms to save tax dollars. Teaching tools are teaching tools. Maybe we should just leave the roads as is. Roads are roads. Maybe we should always award jobs that are done by way of RFP to the lowest bidder. Contractors are contractors.

The gardens, along with EVERY similar facility in this city are outdated and need replacing.

Those who are against this project don't need to go back to far to see a comparable example. Council refused to spend for decades. Now look at our city. Updates required all over - roads, buildings etc. This current council is faced with FIXING this MAJOR error.

If we put off a facility like this we will be a future expenditure. Opportunity knocks!
5/28/2014 10:00:35 AM
Eastender says:
You definitely must have fallen asleep in your logic 101 class.
So if council refused, or skimmped, on infrastructure, such as roads, bridges, water mains and sewwers, not to mention the sewage plant, how is it now that they can afford to build a multimillion dollar sports facility? ( because thats what it is).
Why did council refuse to spend for decades? Is it because of poor money management? And if infrastructure was neglected in the past, then how is spending 106 million on an event centre going to fix the failing infrastructure? Where do yountnink money comes from ? It doesnt fall out of heaven!
5/28/2014 11:50:41 PM
smartguy83 says:
Um...the current council has been slowly building our infrastructure up. Why do you think this is such a long process. They didn't just jump into it day one and commit $100m (not $106m as you are incorrectly reporting due to changes proposed). Money has correctly been set aside.

No money does not grow on trees but its 1 of 2 options...do nothing and let the city deteriorate. Or do something and build the city back up.

I plan to live here my entire life...I'll take the later, thank you very much.
5/29/2014 9:49:35 AM
Eastender says:
Victor Matheson-earned his PHD and MA at univ. of Minnesota, Minneapolis.
He specializes in sports economics.
Specifically the impact of mega sporting events on host cities and public finance.
In particular, his sports economics research, which dispels the notion that major events, equal large economic dividends for host cities.

He is a widely sought after expert on these matters, and has written over 70 scholarly papers.

For your information.
5/28/2014 11:25:03 PM
signman says:
This project is NOT affordable to city taxpayers even with federtal and provincial funding!

Here is the TBNewswatch poll of Feb. 20 2014

If a plebiscite were held today on whether to build a new Events Centre in Thunder Bay how would you vote? (1148 votes)

YES- 35%

NO- 62%

Other- 3%

Moving to phase 3 of this project is a slap in the face to city taxpayers who still have had NO vote on this unnessary expenditure.

Tomorrow the Concerned Taxpayers of Thunder Bay will issue a news release at 11am at Northwood Mall regarding the proposed Event Centre and up to date poll results in our ongoing poll.

Everyone welcome!
5/28/2014 7:12:34 AM
DougMyers says:
I am not sure why this is so hard to understand but you get a chance to vote this fall.

Use that vote to express your opinion on this proposal if you have strong views one way or the other.

You have not had a vote yet because not all the information is available.

If, even without all information,you are not in favour of this project, let it be known with your vote in the municipal election.

Until then, please stop assuming you speak for the majority. We all the the TBNewswatch poll and your poll can be biased easily one way or the other. Had the poll on this site gone the other way you would be saying it is biased and unscientific.

5/28/2014 8:48:37 AM
Wolfie says:
Oh joy. More unscientific "data".

Let's just wait for the scientific Ipsos Reid poll from the city, shall we?

It may well be that the majority of the city is against the project, but I'm not going to trust the surveys of the "Concerned Taxpayers" to tell me that.

5/28/2014 8:57:11 AM
bttnk says:
Respectfully, no one cares about the poll being conducted by a small group of citizens (Concerned Taxpayers).

There is a survey currently under-way being conducted by the city (I was contacted) asking a number of very relevant and important questions regarding the proposal. I'm looking forward to those results.

On another note. What a great presentation yesterday evening at the Italian Hall. I'm impressed by the work done to date and I am looking forward to the completion of Phase 3 and getting to a shovel ready state. June 2015 construction starts, looking forward to it!
5/28/2014 9:49:24 AM
musicferret says:
Respectfully, I agree that the CT poll is a joke; but the one conducted by the city is only slightly better. It will be designed to find results that tow the line the city council has. i.e., it will be certain to find that the events centre is great and everyone loves it, no matter the cost. Any good hired polling firm would be sure that was the result when constructing their questions and determining how to select who gets called.
5/28/2014 9:57:55 AM
Allan J. says:
why not put some railings in at the Gardens and save ourselves 100 mill?

there is no difference, a hockey rink is still a hockey rink. in fact the new design looks rather sterile and lacking character.

but then it should fit Thunder Bay well because that's what this city has become.
5/27/2014 10:09:41 PM
fairlane says:
Allan J., at least you're not negative.
5/28/2014 12:37:36 AM
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