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2014-06-10 at MIDNIGHT

'I'm not happy'

By Jamie Smith, tbnewswatch.com
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THUNDER BAY -- Council wants more information before it commits another $1 million to the proposed event centre.

The ask would push Phase 3 of the project to nearly $4 million. It would pay for an owner's representative, legal costs to negotiate with Thunder Bay Live and preliminary engineering and design to move the Camleot Hydro Substation. Some councillors were surprised that administration was asking for the cash and voted to send it back for another week to see if some of the other partners in the consortium could share some of the cost, whether there could be some savings in legal fees and bring a bare minimum back to council.

Coun. Mark Bentz, who requested the referral, asked why the costs were coming to council now when the Phase 3 budget was already approved and most of the issues coming back were already known then.

"It seems to come out of the blue," he said.

Coun. Rebecca Johnson said it felt like the waterfront project all over again when council was repeatedly asked to approve more funding.

"Is that going to be enough?" she asked.

It seemed like the project and the city were long on anticipation but short on assurances Coun. Ken Boshcoff said. Even councillors who are heavily in favour of the project are having a hard time explaining the costs to people in the community.

"It seems new questions arise every week.

But city manager Tim Commisso said he's confident that this will be enough to take the project to its next step, which would make it ready to submit to the federal and provincial government. It would also include a maximum cost guarantee. An owner's representative would help the city with financial and risk management. It, along with legal fees, are needed quicker than originally thought in order to get the project ready by September to hand in for funding asks.

"I'm not happy that we’ve had to bring this,” he said. "This is not the way we wanted to work."

Mayor Keith Hobbs said he couldn't believe councillors were so concerned about the cost when other overruns, like the first phase of the Golf Links project, were approved without debate. While $1 million makes people nervous, the multi-million project is not for the faint of heart. And spending money on things like risk management is a good thing.

"If you don’t have it you end up in trouble,” he said. "I'll put my mayor's chair on the line that this is a great project.”

At-large Coun. Aldo Ruberto said everyone makes mistakes. But for the most part administration has done a great job managing the city.

"I'd rather make mistakes and go forward than make no mistakes and stay where I am,” he said.

Despite being in favour of the project, Coun. Paul Pugh said he's getting worried that the city is being blinded by a big-ticket item while ignoring the needs of the public. From pools to daycare council is told it has to cut back and yet it's willing to spend tens of millions of dollars on this event centre. Maybe council needs to slow down on it for awhile.

“We’re told that we can’t afford these things, that we have to make cuts. These cuts hurt people. They hurt the people we represent,” he said. "To me the math doesn’t add up. I don’t buy that."

City facilities and fleet manager Michael Smith said delaying the approval could jeopardize timelines for the project.
Administration will report back to council next week. It would be up for ratification June 23.

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Comments

We've improved our comment system.
signman says:
This project continues to be something taxpayers can't afford.

The proposed Event Centre has skyrocketed in price from $50 million dollars to $100 million dollars. Phase three is way over budget and if this project goes ahead there will be lots of other surprises for city taxpayers including refurbishing of the Fort William Gardens that consultant Conrad Boychuk stated could cost another $10 million dollars.

The Fort William Gardens is fine according to Boychuk so lets just keep using it.


The Ipsos Reid survey that Commisso has wanted
from day one did nothing to satisfy the majority of taxpayers who want a plebiscite.
As Linda Rydholm stated this evening the percentage taxpayers would have to pay to support this project was misleading in the Ipsos Reid survey. She stated it would be much higher when you include capital costs.

Councillor McKinnon stated we can't stop doing this now and we say why?
Is there an agreement with the developer?

WE NEED A VOTE!
6/10/2014 1:29:47 AM
Wolfie says:
You say: "This project continues to be something taxpayers can't afford."

The article on the survey says: "On taxes 64 per cent said a one per cent increase, an average of $24 a year, would be very or somewhat acceptable for the centre. That number dropped to 58 per cent for a 1.5 per cent increase."

Maybe, just maybe, you don't speak for all taxpayers?
6/10/2014 7:20:13 AM
fastball says:
I'm sorry - I have to take issue with a few of your comments. Firstly, where does it say ANYWHERE that the majority of taxpayers want a plebiscite?
Where did the 50M cost come from? I've been following this since Day One (albeit not with the white-hot intensity of some of our more passionate residents) - and I've never heard of an estimate for this project that was 50M. My understanding was that it was always going to be 100M, give or take.
The 1 percent that Ipsos used was the average tax hike that's common for a project of this size. Depending on the funding, according to Commisso, there MIGHT be a tax hike of 1-odd percent. The 1 percent wasn't a direct figure, but merely used to judge reaction from the community - and according to the poll, 60-odd percent didn't seem to have a problem with a 1 percent figure.
I stopped listening to McKinnon after his "plastic trees" comment. And Rydolm would love nothing more dearly than to defer this whole thing to a new council. Typical.
6/10/2014 7:44:35 AM
ibrando says:
Fastball
Maybe not 50 million but Hobbs put forth the following February 25 2011. "Mayor Keith Hobbs said any multiplex discussions must start and end with the voting public.

Hobbs, who said he’s in favour of the city building a multiplex facility at some point, said the estimated $60-million project must get approval from taxpayers before he gives it a thumbs up. " Guess you haven't been following this since day one, have you? But you talk a good talk.
6/10/2014 6:57:12 PM
fastball says:
Yes, he did say that as a candidate - but he's also said that he changed his mind after doing the job for a few years. Apparently people are allowed to change their minds, unless you're a politician...in which case, statements like that follow you around forever. He will say that the voters can have their say on Election Day.
Candidates will say ANYTHING on the campaign trail. But as Kim Campbell once famously remarked, "An election campaign is the not the place to discuss the issues."


6/11/2014 1:12:03 PM
Curmudgeon says:
From the news tonite: Mr. Ruberto you state that all that is needed is 51% pro vote to move ahead with the centre. Is your perception of the 'right thing to do' from your council chair, actually that narrow-minded? Simply because a thing CAN be done does not mean it SHOULD be done. Mayor Hobbs, during your term thus far I have been encouraged by your seemingly well-considered positions taken on a number of issues. I am not impressed and neither are most thoughtful people with what you perceive as 'risking your mayors chair' on this matter. You need to take a step back and see the bigger picture. Why is your position so strident? What has been risked, decided and committed to in the many 'in-camera' meetings that has you so fearful? You and council are 'held harmless' under the Municipal Act from future prosecution for irresponsibility. I think that you fear public disclosure of matters above because they mau impact your character or legacy.
6/10/2014 10:55:55 PM
Eastender says:
Some starting to see the light through the cracks in the grand delusion?
6/10/2014 2:07:45 AM
Tbayvoter says:
"City facilities and fleet manager Michael Smith said delaying the approval could jeopardize timelines for the project." Project???? I didn't know it was a definite GO. When did it go from being a proposal to a project?
6/10/2014 3:45:10 AM
jonthunder says:
Do I understand this correctly? This project is dependent on Federal and Provincial funding and there is no assurance that Canada or near bankrupt Ontario will provide that funding. The city is risking millions on a "maybe" project, and the company is having its risk at least in part funded by the city. The Hydro sub-station move will be studied at a very high cost for a project that may not happen at that location now or in the future. This has the potential to be a very bad movie/nightmare.
6/10/2014 5:41:32 AM
tudor says:
we are not happy either.

As for the Mayor's comments.

It is not your chair. it belongs to the people.

They decide if you get to keep it, not you.

From a vote by the people when he was running for the job, to now saying this project is the best thing ever and implying we are not smart enough to vote, this comedy show will continue at least until October.
6/10/2014 6:02:11 AM
Tbaylifer 1 says:
End the "Dream Team". Vote them all out.
6/10/2014 6:57:28 AM
Curious says:
Should this not be something taken into consideration right in the beginning?? This is only the beginning of major financial needs. This "project" so they call it... Is sounding more like our ridiculous hospital money increases. Sadly, the shovel hasn't even hit the ground yet!!! What will be the continual million dollar cost increases be then! We are in for a bankrupt city.
6/10/2014 7:06:19 AM
unheard says:
How is it Brazil can build multiple soccer stadiums for the fifa "world cup"
at the cost of 300 million yet one hockey rink costs us 100 million?
corrupt I tell ya

6/10/2014 7:58:48 AM
n00n says:
The one stadium (Itaquerao) will actually cost much more then that and they do not have 'winter' to contend with. The estimated cost puts the ONE arena at $470 million.

If you are going to compare two items, at least have the decency to be somewhat accurate.
6/11/2014 11:33:29 AM
comments unavailable says:
"Coun. Aldo Ruberto said everyone makes mistakes. But for the most part administration has done a great job managing the city."

Delusional!!!!!...comments like this will free up your Monday nights come October!

You will not be the only one! You will be helping the Mayor with his chair as well, as you both head out the door!
6/10/2014 8:04:04 AM
common cents says:
He is the 1st to go......

Do not vote this man back in.
6/10/2014 7:07:24 PM
Kam River says:
Mayor Keith Hobbs said he couldn't believe councillors were so concerned about the cost Hobbs and Aldo got to go.
They have no understanding of the harm this project and it over runs will do to our taxes, and worse they do not care.
6/10/2014 8:27:04 AM
Dockboy says:
I'm not surprised the vote's been postponed a week. The tides turning on the popularity of this event centre becoming a reality. City council members be very careful how you vote on this issue, your job depends on it.
6/10/2014 8:33:42 AM
old vienna says:
This city council and administration especially Hobbs keep on running their mouth telling us they've done their homework. Outside of Larry Hebert, most of council and administration think the FW Gardens is in Westfort. Your homework is coming back Graded an 'F' . You can see the event center train wreck coming from a mile away. Have faith and trust this council and administration everyone because they know better and are smarter than the general public and think the FW Gardens is in Westfort ,SAD!
6/10/2014 8:36:55 AM
Robert Bob says:
Im not happy I'm outraged. City of Thunder Bay SPEND and TAX us to death. There is not a single project that even remotely has any financial accountability. How about you just add another special Tax assessment to every homeowner and business in Thunder Bay for the Event Center and go ahead and build the field of dreams. Years from now the children will be able to visit the empty abandoned relic and the city can run tours of the place.
6/10/2014 8:46:35 AM
ou812 says:
Council, you've one this far let's not start waffling now!

1 million is nothing in the grand scheme of things. let's keeping the ball rolling.

PS... The St John's Icecaps are in the Calder Cup Final.. we're getting a great team!
6/10/2014 8:57:23 AM
localguy says:
Mayor & Councillors: If you want your name sake to be the burden for generations to come... then keep on racking up the bills on this "Event Centre"/over priced hockey rink. It's the build price that will hurt, it's the continued operational costs of the facility. You don't need a consultant from Southern Ontario to prove this to you - open up the books to some of our other public owned facilities. Don't let the blind lead the blind, please educate yourself. (And if you're a Councillor buying up downtown properties to profit off this centre, shame on you. The people come first, not your pocket book.)
6/10/2014 8:58:25 AM
brandon says:
How is he putting his chair up? There is no plebiscite and nobody of any value running against him. He will get in again before this thing is done regardless and we will not be able to judge him on the success of the project.
6/10/2014 9:15:27 AM
what'sup says:
No one is not saying that the event centre isn't a good idea but can we really afford this at this time???? Budgets have been cut, services scaled down and yet this seems to be the best thing ever. Maybe now is not the time to be diving into a project so big. Roads are a mess but there is no money to fix them but we can double the Phase 3 budget and that's ok? Never mind the parking issue. How will people drive to the centre when the roads are full of holes? I am thankful that the counsellors finally came to reality and are really looking into the costs. I am afraid this seems to be another project that administration has signed us up for just like the wind farm. Sounds like there is a hidden agenda.
6/10/2014 9:35:14 AM
insertcorrectpunctuationhere says:
Despite being in favour of the project, Coun. Paul Pugh said he's getting worried that the city is being blinded by a big-ticket item while ignoring the needs of the public. From pools to daycare council is told it has to cut back and yet it's willing to spend tens of millions of dollars on this event centre. Maybe council needs to slow down on it for awhile.
“We’re told that we can’t afford these things, that we have to make cuts. These cuts hurt people. They hurt the people we represent,” he said. "To me the math doesn’t add up. I don’t buy that."

Thank you Paul Pugh. Finally someone making sense.
6/10/2014 9:40:00 AM
snooks63 says:
MORE MONEY???? ALREADY????? Mr. Mayor, this is NOT your decision. It is the taxpayers choice and personally, I do NOT want any more taxes!!!! I am a student, working a minimum wage job and a home owner, enough is enough!!! If these certain few who want the event centre really feel we need this, maybe your taxes and only yous taxes shouls go up to pay for this money pit.I can not afford more taxes in any way, shape or form. Has the council thought about a wage decrease to their pay cheques to pay for this? Yeh, right.
6/10/2014 9:46:39 AM
dank says:
The taxpayers of Thunder Bay would be far better served by investing this 1,000,000$ into a competent management team!
6/10/2014 10:19:54 AM
shuckyshark says:
Hmmm...maybe it's time to replace the great and powerful...$100K is a mistake...$1 million is a boondoggle...
6/10/2014 10:42:54 AM
Wolfie says:
$1 million is a rounding error to a city of this size.
6/10/2014 11:01:36 AM
fairlane says:
Here's why council isn't happy Keith....

Why the surprise? You pay administration big dollars to offer professional advice and recommendations. Somebody screwed up, plain and simple. They screwed up and are now covering it up with a shortfall.

This isn't new. Waterfront, and Wind Farm to name a few. If this were private business these clowns would have been turfed long ago.
6/10/2014 11:22:19 AM
TBTruth says:
-Private investors from within and out of Thunder Bay need to be encouraged to take on the mammoth task of building/managing the Marina so tax payers shouldn't have to bear with over-bearing cost through taxes. The tax payers will pay for the events when the time comes!

-Council should reconsider the design, it would make sense to have the events centre connect to the waterfront/Marina via an enclosed bridge. This will encourage tourists, event goer's to access the Marina with ease.

-Once investors are tied-in to building the events centre, the city can concentrate on building under-ground or over-ground enclosed walkways leading to the Events Centre from the down-town parking lot.

-Marina:Instead of investing in bubble-art stone work, concentrate on building retail stores, a mini-shopping district, food court etc. and have the Marina and Event's centre work together to generate income!

-The undeveloped area around Marina can be converted into a mini-beach? Future possibility?

6/10/2014 11:24:45 AM
Mythago says:
Our streets are a disaster, our hospital has been in gridlock for years, people far too sick are being forced out far too fast and our taxes are ridiculously high for lesser and lesser services. Those are just a couple of issues. I am totally against this legacy project which is more to stroke ego's than to provide and serve the public! We already have enough hockey teams in town, so save the money, open a few rinks that were closed and people can get off their cans and play the game. And lower my taxes already (yeah right lmao) so at least freeze them for a while and give us a break!
6/10/2014 12:12:23 PM
opinions2014 says:
People are constantly whining about being a tax payer, everyone should be used to it by now. We have been paying since our first purchase, our first job, our whole careers, during our retirement days and even our funerals. But it is ridiculous that the council are making such huge plans when the monies are not guaranteed.
6/10/2014 12:17:38 PM
Jon Powers says:
fastball:

"Where did the 50M cost come from? I've been following this since Day One (albeit not with the white-hot intensity of some of our more passionate residents) - and I've never heard of an estimate for this project that was 50M. My understanding was that it was always going to be 100M, give or take "

You are again showing your ignorance about this topic.

City of Thunder Bay Phases 1-2 estimates were $40.-$60.Million range. 2010-2012

Numbers changed spring 2012.

Please use the tbnewswactch.com archive for reff.

Great Story!
tbnewswatch.com
6/10/2014 1:42:33 PM
fastball says:
Phase 2 Feasibility Study Executive Summary 1.5 states the project would cost overall 106M.
That's what I was looking at.
I realize that 60M was the figure thrown around in 2009...which was half a decade ago. That was the figure for an arena with rink, with not as much involved as the convention centre currently proposed. They've expanded their wish list.
And funny...when I was reading the story (and the accompanying readers' comments) the EXACT same lines are being used by the EXACT same people. Several politicians are saying "it's not the right time, etc etc etc" Well, over 5 years has passed - is it a better time? Or are we doomed to be in some sick Groundhog Day loop, where it's NEVER the right time? Or should we just fold up the tents and be content that this current version of TBay is as good as it's ever going to get? Holy Jeez, what a depressing freakin' thought.


6/10/2014 6:08:16 PM
sickandtired says:
"I'm not happy?" Seriously? Who's running this city anyway? Over and over again, these projects end up costing more than the budget. Don't they know how to write binding agreements with settled costs up-front! Open your wallets, Thunder Bay residents!
6/10/2014 2:06:15 PM
signman says:
We are not happy either about this unaffordable WHITE ELEPHANT!

Not only is phase 3 spiralling out of control it is our understanding that the cost of the Ipsos Reid Poll has doubled from $20,000 dollars to $40,000 dollars.

MANY TAXPAYERS ARE AT THE BREAKING POINT NOW!

Let's maintain what we have now, fix the roads and FORGET ABOUT THIS NONSENSE!
6/10/2014 2:20:03 PM
hadenough says:
Unless they change their minds and put in INOVA Park, right Ray?
6/10/2014 6:48:33 PM
Watchful says:
Before any more is spent, city council should be asking some hard Questions. Part of the extra funding is for legal contracts with our partners.One partner is doing stage three saying they need more money, another partner is a contractor who builds event centers.Does this legal contract Give him the contract to build the event center. Does this contract give another partner, The one who operates event centers the contract to run this one. If so what is council doing awarding multi-million contracts this early in the process without bids. Another question that should be asked, why do we need more money to study the relocation of the transformer station. I thought that was included in the 106, million dollar price tag. What other costs are we not being told about.
6/10/2014 3:41:47 PM
Dave78 says:
I haven't made up my mind yet where I stand on the Event Centre debate but this is just fodder for those on the "nay" side of the argument.

If we can't even manage the costs associated with just the proposal of having an event centre, how can we possibly expect to manage the costs of actually building this facility?

6/10/2014 4:02:01 PM
Big Al the Peoples Pal says:
And the money tap goes, drip.. drip ..drip!
Every drip, a large amount of money! drips that will make a river of cash..that will flow away never be seen again!
Hobbs do yourself a favour get a hammer and some wood to build a ship of fools and jump in ( along with some other hair-dresser braintrustees).
But leave "our" chair alone.
Any extra wood build a paddle cause your soon to be up the creek! a creek to the land of hot air and fantasy!
6/10/2014 6:51:46 PM
dan dan says:
Let's get this project rolling! It's what the people want.
6/11/2014 9:38:51 AM
JYDOG says:
The select few who may perhaps benefit from it want it. The city as a whole? Meh. Not so much. I'm a person, and I don't want it, so don't you speak for me. OK? Let a plebiscite decide it, or let it get railroaded through without approval, but please don't dare to manufacture consent. The city is doing enough of that already, thank you very much.
6/11/2014 1:43:38 PM
anvil of crom says:
what is really concerning is Bill Mauros recent statement that he knows of no provincial funding for projects like this.
6/11/2014 1:18:33 PM
Jon Powers says:
fastball:

"Or should we just fold up the tents and be content that this current version of TBay is as good as it's ever going to get? Holy Jeez, what a depressing freakin' thought."

Where is your information fastball?

The "Proposed" Multi-plex / Event Centre is a "Small" Improvement from what is there.

In 1970 the F.W.G. could sell 5,400 tickets for hockey plus 600 more for "Standing Room".

One does not replace an old 6,000 seat building with a new 5,700(Hockey) to 7,400(Concert) seat building.

I have been against this project because it is way to small and therefor in the wrong location.

If the "Blues-fest" had a weather event that required them to move in doors is the new T.B.E.C.C. big enough to handle the 8,-10,000 per night?

If the F.W.G. + P.A. Arena generation were to build this complex the seating would be at least 10,000 plus.

Great Story!
Keep Posting Everyone
tbnewswatch.com

6/11/2014 1:27:41 PM
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