Tbnewswatch Local News
Wednesday July 1 2015
8:48 AM EDT
2014-05-28 at 13:07

Event centre light?

By Jamie Smith, tbnewswatch.com

THUNDER BAY -- There could be some big changes in the design of the city's proposed event centre before its complete.

In Phase two, the design included a parking structure, a new pedestrian walkway, a "green" roof and incorporated the city's north core transit terminal. But city facilities manager Michael Smith said while the design isn't final, as of early April those features have been removed.

"There hasn't been any decision at this point and time," he said. "They're just things that we're looking at."

While the projected cost of the centre has dropped by $6 million since the federal government said its Building Canada fund would only apply to projects under $100 million, Smith said removing the features is more about due diligence than cost.

"We want to make sure we're not making cuts just to make a project fit to a particular funding source. We want to make sure we're doing what's best for the project," he said.

"We want to build what we feel is reasonable and required for the facility."

Removing the green roof, which would have included a patio, frees up more convention space while also cutting costs for a feature that would have been expensive to maintain and only usable for a few months out of the year.

"They're actually good changes for us," he said.

Incorporating the bus terminal has been difficult to do as it would need around 10 transit bays. Smith said what to do with the current Water Street terminal is still being determined but replacing that, no matter where that is or what it looks like, has always been part of the project cost.

The same goes for the transformer station replacement, which has already been included at around $2 million in past estimates.

As for the $3 million for a new pedestrian bridge, that number also included demolishing the current one that goes over Water Street. There is the potential to renovate the existing walkway instead Smith said.

Council will be presented with the design next month. A guaranteed maximum price, which Smith said would top out at $100 million, is expected in July.




Click here to submit a letter to the editor.

Click here to report a typo or error



We've improved our comment system.
ou812 says:
No big controversy here.

The bus terminal should not be incorporated anyway. Make the pagota the terminal if there is room.

many of the surrounding property owners will provide parking for small fee. just like other arenas.

existing per way should not be torn down. build another one a few blocks away
5/30/2014 8:58:50 AM
anvil of crom says:
I think you meant event centre "lite", as in a smaller or lesser version of its original intended state.
Versus "light" something that illumintates?
5/29/2014 9:43:09 PM
Pandora says:
Jon Powers: you say the city took out a $38.5 Million mortgage to pay off the $22.Million. So what happened to the $16Million difference?
5/29/2014 6:41:36 PM
tsb says:
Let's put it just north of the hospital. No one in the city can afford to live in those houses, they're all empty. It's the perfect spot.
5/29/2014 6:12:50 PM
Jon Powers says:

Your "Fuzzy Math" about the "Mistake by Our Lake" is 100% Wrong!

Waterfront Costs are:

$22.Million Canada.
$22.Million Ontario.
$22.Million.** City( Loan $38.5Million Mortgage to pay off the $22.Million)

Operation Budget $650,000.00 a year or .75% tax increase to pay for it.

Why are you opposed to a Plebiscite?

I have no problem with letting the public vote.

Why do you?

When will you stop supporting City Councils "Voter Suppression Tactics"?

Don't you want to vote "Yes" To the "Multiplex?

Great Story!
Keep On Posting!
5/29/2014 3:01:50 PM
Kaministiquia Kid says:
Lori- The waterfront is beautiful , maybe a waste to you but thousands of other disagree .
Ibrando- A guaranteed revenue agreement ? You must have a source in city admin or is the source the guy across from you at Tim Hortons. No Facts.
The overpass was a nice feature of the centre. I hope it will find its way back into the plans.
5/29/2014 2:07:30 PM
Recommended 1 times.  1  Agree
Flag as Inappropriate
pippuri says:
What purpose would moving the walkway serve? It is still sound, leave it where it is!! Not broke-don't fix
5/29/2014 1:41:34 PM
Dan dan says:
Absolutely! Let's get this going... we can have a city to be proud of!
5/29/2014 12:08:43 PM
bttnk says:
What a great looking event centre from what we can see and were presented at the Italian Hall.

Looking forward to seeing ground break in late summer 2015. The entertainment district is growing and it is an exciting time to raise a family in Thunder Bay.
5/29/2014 9:14:31 AM
Nexus says:
The entertainment district is growing? Did you recently travel here from the moon or something?

The "entertainment district" in Port Arthur is stagnant. You have a few restaurants and bars the open and close so fast you can't even find out if they are fun places to go.

Look at Crocks. It has changed hands MANY times and last show I attended on a Saturday had maybe 50 people in attendance when it topped out and that includes the security and staff.

Kilroys: Closed
The Jamaican restuarant beside the casino: Closed
Ragged Edge Pizza/whatever the bar was: CLOSED
Apollo: Barely hanging on
Mars/Ruby Moon/Cirque du Manger: Closed (currently open but the last 2 failed)

I for one look forward to the day I can take my daughter to a crappy concert then walk her past a place like black pirates club, or down one of the ally's that smell like urine.
5/30/2014 8:56:15 AM
Eastender says:
Entertainment district? Are you refering to the casino? It may be marketed as entertainment but I seldom see many cheerful, and truly happy people in that black hole of despair. Unless you categorize eating as entertainment, there isn't much going on down there 90 % of the time that can't be had anywhere else in town. You cant arbitrarily hang a name on something and then expect some fairy dust to transmogrify it into something it can never be.
You could build the event centre in Innova park and then call that the entertainment district. Why not go big and call ourselves the Las Vegas of the North. Should bring in hundreds of busloads of tourists,........where did I hear that before?
5/31/2014 8:58:13 PM
Curious says:
First off, I do believe an event centre would be wonderful. That being said, we don't need it in an inaccessible location, we will not be getting the large numbers of folks using this facility as they are predicting. Once it is built, then the entertainment will decide notto come here because they will feel inadequate parking will lower their attendance therefore not making enough money. If we only have 109,000 residents in Thunder Bay, take off the infants and children that won't be attending, the street people, welfare folks (skip that one they do better than the working poor!) the working poor, seniors in nursing homes and the snowbirds etc. and that doesn't leave a lot of residents that will be using it to the extent they are expecting. We can expect another beautiful empty white elephant that will increase our taxes to cover it's yearly losses.
5/29/2014 7:39:37 AM
ring of fire dude says:
I completely agree with your post . Kinda makes you wonder why Gary Greene and True North would want to be involved with this arena after doing their due diligence and seeing that the attendance numbers will not come anywhere near their profit numbers they expect . Unless the City has made a secret deal already to guarantee their losses if the arena isn't full . Now , what's the chances of that ??
5/29/2014 8:42:12 AM
bttnk says:
And you know that there due dilligence returned those results how? I would respectfully suggest that Gary Greene and his team got the results they anticipated or were looking for to continue to move forward with this project.
5/29/2014 9:16:47 AM
Recommended 1 times.  1  Agree
Flag as Inappropriate
ibrando says:
EXACTLY, Ring of Fire Dude. Gary Greene will bet on the fact that the novelty of an AHL team might pull in reasonable numbers/profit for at least the first couple of years due to the novelty factor. If not he will have his guaranteed revenue agreement to fall back on if attendance is not what was expected. And City administration will buy into this 110%.
5/29/2014 12:29:28 PM
bttnk says:
The City made it perfectly clear they would not be siging any guaranteed revenue agreements brando. The fear mongering is growing tired.
5/29/2014 1:56:41 PM
Recommended 1 times.  1  Agree
Flag as Inappropriate
ring of fire dude says:
Has anyone seen the agreement yet ? You would think Gary Green would have his people "tuned in" to what's happening with the debate going on in the press ,on line and on the street .If I was Gary I'd be wondering how much support his team would get and what kind of revenue top-off he can squeeze out of Hobbs and Commisso .
5/29/2014 3:53:20 PM
progress now says:
...as are accusations of fear mongering.

5/30/2014 8:35:02 AM
lori says:
So we have a location
A design
Seating capacity
A AHL team interested
costs to move services
Cancellation of a walkway
Cancellation of a parking garage

All for a building that won't be built if the money doesn't flow.

Yet john Q public is not smart enough to decide if they want to have this facility built or not because the information for the project is too incomplete to put on the ballot.

Do I have the position of City Council correct.

Fete de compli ---- this is a done deal folks

The same folks who gave us Horizon Wind, who gave us 20-40 million wasted at the waterfront, have already decided this is going to happen.

5/28/2014 11:58:41 PM
bttnk says:
Lori - How exactly do you suggest that $20-$40 Million was "wasted" at the Waterfront? Do yourself a favour and spend some time down there this summer with literally hundreds (if not thousands during an event) and enjoy what is been transformed into a breathtaking waterfront district.

You may not like spending time at the waterfront, that is your choice, but to suggest it was money wasted, is to show your ignorance to reality.

5/29/2014 9:01:37 AM
Recommended 1 times.  1  Agree
Flag as Inappropriate
captain says:
I am not speaking for her, but I will speak for me. For $60-70 million, we got a new building, a splash pad, moved docks, some sidewalks, some art work and a skate board park. If you think that totals just $60 million you are part of the problem. Most of the money was spent on cost overruns, digging out a lake, filling in a lake, re-doing work over and over and breaking leases with tenants.

No one has an issue with improving the park. I love the BDG, I love the sidewalks, I love the trees, I hate the bent hockey sticks, but that's just me.

But we could have had that for 15-20 million, not 60-70. So you tell me the math.

The people that are there enjoying the changes would have come anyway. They are not coming because we spent 40 extra million to house a hotel and condo. Wasted money.

Just my opinion but I think it is more common than you might want to admit.
5/29/2014 12:51:03 PM
Eastender says:
Cost overruns is just the politically correct term for CORRUPTION!
5/31/2014 11:10:53 AM
humnchuck says:
Based on Newswatch commentary, I truly hope a giant art installation is unveiled someday that includes the terms "rammed down our throats" and "welfare dome" at least as many times as they have been used to death here. It could be titled "Thunder Bay Complaint Creativity".

5/28/2014 9:41:59 PM
Stuberu says:
What happened the parkade just a couple blocks away. I'm pretty sure that's still there. Not to mention it's covered! Canada Day never seems to be a problem with parking downtown and there are 20,000plus people for that. Just saying.
5/28/2014 8:34:55 PM
cazam says:
My only hope is that they build something that is both useable and affordable and not something extravagant and impractical like they have done so already at the marina. the splash pad/ice rink is wonderful but not so much the waterfalls and patio that kids have to cross the road to access.
5/28/2014 8:18:07 PM
tsx says:
Why would it be built where there is no parking ?? It just doesn't make sense.
5/28/2014 7:43:57 PM
smartguy83 says:
Because location is key. The sites where parking would have been available were all terrible locations from an economic and business stand point.
5/29/2014 9:55:03 AM
Recommended 1 times.  1  Agree
Flag as Inappropriate
Crownstreetcarlos says:
So it's no win for you? Most large centres I have been to have NO parking at all.
From your posts I gather you are mobility impaired, so is my wife. She has MS. Neither of us finds the parking issue any big deal one way or another. We have been to lots of concerts and sporting events in other cities and it's pretty much par for the course that you have a hike to get in, and if there's parking you're extremely lucky. I'd even hazard to say it would be more of a nuisance for people with kids, having to take transit with a bunch of children etc. for us it isn't a big deal to bus or cab to an event. Shuttles are great too. We have done this across canada and the us, and when we were in australia and norway. Why should Thunder Bay be any different?
5/28/2014 6:13:41 PM
Eastender says:
Of course, lets make the same mistake every one is making and dont allow for parking. Why should we think for ourselves, lets just make the same mistake everyone else is making. Then we can wallow in our misery, because misery loves company.

What ever happened to the concept, "Dare to be Different"?
Use your brain, dont just copy everyone elses mistakes.
5/29/2014 12:00:11 AM
Pandora says:
Yes, It's not surprising space is an issue in that particular location.
5/28/2014 6:06:03 PM
tex_mex-fry says:
I only come here at this point to read the comments. Always good for some quality entertainment!
5/28/2014 6:02:01 PM
James Gang says:
the story says- There could be some big changes in the design of the city's proposed event centre before its complete.

Who proposed it? what is being proposed? and who is it being proposed to?

when do the citizens get to vote on this proposal? For a proposal to take place the interested parties need to have options.

if we do not like the proposal being offered by god only knows who, then what are our options? How can we refuse the proposal made by unknown entities who intend to use our money for their proposal? When do I get the option to say no? and how?
5/28/2014 5:10:08 PM
Robert Bob says:
100 Million dollars for "Event Centre". This is the upper limit, with no cost overruns what so ever. Build it they will come. Parking No Problem, take a City Bus, or walk down from the "entertainment distict". The Spin off economic benefits are enormous. The Consultants report says so, Mayor Hobbs say so. This is just what the City of Thunder Bay needs a brand spanking new "event centre to bring in world class entertainment to the "north" Tbay can now compete with Winnipeg, Minneapolis, Sault Ste Marie, Toronto and Chicago. Cost overruns, Taxpayers, operating cost, Parking, these aee not issues.
5/28/2014 4:18:59 PM
Recommended 1 times.  1  Agree
Flag as Inappropriate
enos012 says:
Am I sensing sarcasism? I was about to write a rebuttal, than got the tone and the quotations...if you are serious hmmm....Toronto or TBAY...hmmmm...Minneapolis or TBAY....
5/28/2014 7:51:34 PM
NewCoach says:
The city is approaching private business that are close to the new event centre and offering to pay them to use their lots for parking.
5/28/2014 4:08:21 PM
ring of fire dude says:
The sweetheart deals keep coming for the Waterfront BIA . Wait for them to ask for compensation when their patrons are unable to park anywhere near their restaurants .
5/28/2014 11:35:57 PM
Arch Stanton says:
The STENCH from this Pork-Barrel Project gets worse as the temperature rises!!!
5/28/2014 3:58:01 PM
tbcanada says:
Remember the south core redevelopment plan from years back? Lets lockstone Simpson St, oh no wait, we can't do that. They put up some metal structures, paved the streets and it still looks like garbage. No one consulted me about that!? Just build the damn thing and at least we'll have something to look at. Realistically whats it gonna cost me as a tax payer anyways?
5/28/2014 3:54:22 PM
Recommended 2 times.  2  Agree
Flag as Inappropriate
Jon Powers says:
To tbnewswatch.com:

It's so nice to see our Council ignore advice from the construction consultant.

No Terminal?
No Over-Pass? Connection to the Waterfront Not!
No Staff Parking Lot?

You may not be aware of this but last night the City was giving "Press Kits" to only the "Pro-Side".

They should have been given to everyone!

Great Story!
5/28/2014 3:23:29 PM
jonthunder says:
As questions emerge from others; I sure and just hope this project is clean and above board.
5/28/2014 2:35:58 PM
rob20 says:
Event Center with Parkade = headache to find parking

Event Center without Parkade = absolute nightmare that will be a non-stop complaint until the end of time

Brilliant... ram the least parking friendly location down the throats of tax payers based on hire 'expert' architects/designers recommendations and then ignore those same experts recommendations to build a parkade and upgrade the walkway to the marina to handling the parking needs to save a lousy $6 million on a $100 complex.

Dear city council & city planners, please resign from your jobs... you've proven sufficiently that you just can't exercise common sense.
5/28/2014 2:22:50 PM
signman says:
This project has been BOTCHED from day one!

This is what happens when the city attempts to ram something down the throats of the taxpayers! ( They should listen to those who pay the bills, NOT consultants)

Ignoring those who pay the bills is a BAD IDEA!

The Concerned Taxpayers of Thunder Bay will issue a news release tomorrow morning at 11 am. at Northwood Mall. Poll results included.

All invited!

5/28/2014 2:14:00 PM
Wolfie says:
Don't the "Concerned Taxpayers" have jobs to be at on a Thursday at 11 am?

If it's because you're seniors that have already paid your dues, then great. However, why would you schedule your event at a time that prevents younger, working, people from attending? It's like when the infamous "pots and pans" rally at City Hall was planned for 5 pm on a Monday. It seems like you are trying to exclude non-seniors who may have different viewpoints.
5/28/2014 3:22:51 PM
Recommended 2 times.  2  Agree
Flag as Inappropriate
enos012 says:
It's 2014. A lot of people work shift. You can never plan for everyone to make it there. BTW it said a news release, I am sure with all the new technolgy you will find out shortly there after...ALSO stores are open on Sundays now....
5/28/2014 7:43:30 PM
reese says:
All that is required to play hockey is a qounset hut why so elaborate?
In most of the comments that seems the subject that is mentioned the most is hockey never anything else
5/28/2014 1:51:44 PM
Sudbury Yahoo says:
Ditch the bells and whistles. Take the no-frills approach with the Essar Centre model in the Sault.
Design a big box first. You can always tack on additions as needed.
5/28/2014 1:44:17 PM
Recommended 1 times.  1  Agree
Flag as Inappropriate
DWB says:
Well isn't that wonderful. No parking structure. The city will build this event centre for their friends and to hell with the public. What a useless council.
5/28/2014 1:16:13 PM
Cletus Van Damme says:
Don't play the fool here!

Green roof = green centre.
Who on earth would bring an air-poluting vehicle to a green centre??

The idea is to either walk or take public transit there.

Besides, you can't drive a car with skates on!

Logic simply eludes some people.

5/28/2014 4:55:05 PM
musicferret says:
Yeah, we'd all love to take public transit or walk/bike to it. Unfortunately it is in a very inaccessible place, shoved down on the harbour front near on one side of the city, so thats not going to happen. For me to take public transit would take 1hour 22 minutes each way, except it wouldn't be running after a show/game.

Logic would appear to elude you. Not everyone lives within walking/bus distance to this poorly located debacle.
5/28/2014 8:02:27 PM
Recommended 1 times.  1  Agree
Flag as Inappropriate
common_sense says:
Drive to a relatively nearby parking lot and take the bus that last 5 minutes if you really can't walk for 10.
5/28/2014 9:50:48 PM
Recommended 2 times.  2  Agree
Flag as Inappropriate
Eastender says:
I go to be entertained not challenged. If you want to wear a hair shirt be my guest but dont expect the rest of us to abandon common sense.
5/28/2014 11:28:30 PM
Recommended 1 times.  1  Agree
Flag as Inappropriate
Wolfie says:
And sarcasm clearly eludes you.
5/28/2014 10:53:54 PM
Recommended 1 times.  1  Agree
Flag as Inappropriate
smartguy83 says:
You also do realize this facility will be serving beer.

You also do realize that many people will be at a restaurant/bar/pub before and after the game. These people should not be driving and should have a DD.

Common sense would tell me if there is a sell out at a sporting event (5,900) and each vehicle downtown transported 3 of those in attendance there would need to be under 2,000 parking spaces. With the marina and the bars/pubs/restaurants, along with street parking and the current parkade I really don't see this being a major issue.

Keep in mind 2 flaws in my assumptions.

1 - I assumed no one else will be downtown these nights which is obviously wrong.

2 - I assumed no one will walk/take public transit/the event centre will not offer transportation from a drop off location.

People really need to trust those we voted in. They are there for a reason. Majority gets you into Council so lets sit back and realize most of us once trusted these people.
5/29/2014 10:04:53 AM
Recommended 1 times.  1  Agree
Flag as Inappropriate
ring of fire dude says:
Green roof ! LOL ! Since when is seagull poop green ?
5/28/2014 11:21:13 PM
Recommended 1 times.  1  Agree
Flag as Inappropriate
TBDR says:
more like what a useless comment
5/30/2014 1:49:45 AM
Recommended 1 times.  1  Agree
Flag as Inappropriate
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