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2014-06-16 at 23:02

Cost stays put

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By Jamie Smith, tbnewswatch.com

THUNDER BAY -- City council has decided the reductions weren't worth the risk when it comes to proposed event centre.

Last week administration came to council asking for an additional $1 million for phase three of the project's feasibility study. But councillors weren't comfortable with the price tag, asking administration to look for savings in the proposal.

On Monday administration proposed $245,700 in cuts but said the reductions would come with a price, mainly in terms of risk. Council decided to vote in favour of the original $1 million, most saying that it was the best way to make sure the project goes ahead the best it can.

"Now is not the time to get cold feet ladies and gentlemen," Mayor Keith Hobbs told his colleagues, adding some of them might have been opposing the increase to get votes in the upcoming election.

Around $75,000 was for legal fees to draft agreements with Thunder Bay Live. Deferring the agreements would have delayed negotiations with True North, owners of the Winnipeg Jets and the group looking to bring its AHL team to the city.

Other cuts, like $75,000 for the design of the hydro substation, would come back as greater costs later. Facilities and fleet manager Michael Smith said that's ultimately a $4 to 5 million project in and of itself.

"We don't know what we're getting into," Smith said.

Other cuts included $20,700 for a community attitudes survey, $35,000 for an owners representative, $25,000 for travel and expenses and $15,000 for transit relocation work.

Coun. Iain Angus said council would be foolish to try and reduce the costs right now and risk running the project over-budget as a result. You pay now or later.

"I'm quite happy to take the heat for this," he said.

City manager Tim Commisso said that's the reality of the situation. This money makes sure there are no surprises when a report comes back to council in August with the guaranteed maximum price.

"We’re putting as much as we can up front on this project to avoid down the road having any issues,” Commisso said.

“At the end of the day we want to make our best effort."

That effort is for the city's application for provincial and federal funding.

Coun. Linda Rydholm said at a recent Federation of Canadian Municipalities conference she spoke with Infrastructure Canada, in charge of the Building Canada fund. They told her the city's project wouldn't qualify.

But Commisso said the federal government isn't interested in building professional sports facilities. The event centre would only be used by a team around 15 per cent of the time. All conversations he's had, plus the fact that FedNor has pitched in twice for costs already, are good signs.

Coun. Paul Pugh said he's certain administration is acting in good faith and at the end of the day the city needs to have the best application it can.

"We’ve all been to conference and a conversations in a hallway. I put that where it is,” he said.


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Comments

We've improved our comment system.
dynamiter says:
Spend it like a drunken soldier - sure am glad I live in Shuniah township.
6/16/2014 11:08:45 PM
fastball says:
Translation : I won't pay a dime, but I'll come in to see that band that never came here before.
6/17/2014 1:08:18 PM
eventscentre says:
I didn't think I'd say this a week ago, but I'm beginning not to trust our mayor and the councillors. Just a few things that have happened in the last week ago....one individual in particular doesn't seem to have the citizens of Thunder Bay's best interests at heart. I never thought I'd say this but it might be time to get out of this city. A lot of people of leaving and they might know something the rest of us don't know yet, or are just beginning to figure out.
6/16/2014 11:12:31 PM
Dan dan says:
A lot of people are leaving, especially the youth. They're going to places with events centres.

I'm sure a Fort William Gardens retrofit will entice them to stick around. Nothing like getting your Grandpa's car to drive when you get your driver's license!
6/17/2014 4:34:32 PM
Eastender says:
You are correct that people are and will be leaving Thunder Bay. The real reaon is that there are no jobs. The majority of the jobs that exist, are low paying, or minimum wage. An aquaintance has been looking for work here for almost a year now, has an education, and 3 years work experience. He has been able to get only part time work at about $15.00/hr. Buying s house is out of the question.
The event centre is supposed to be an economic engine, but there must be an influx of money into the city for that to become reality. To where is this city looking for this vast influx of cash. Hockey fans? Concert goers? Conventioneers? Where will tney all come from? Toronto? The USA? Manitoba? Maybe Vancouver? The answer is, none of the above! Also the attendance must be consistent and not sporadic. The cost of this behemoth undertaking will never be redeemed by attendance alone, and so it will fall on the taxpaying public to shoulder the shortfall. Economic engine? Not really
6/17/2014 8:06:25 PM
caesarjbasquitti says:
In the 1998 election I had suggested 'convention hall'...in light of my observations with convention centres in Toronto.

The market for these conventions, bring in, DEMAND THAT these convention attendees attend. Its that simple.

What the city is proposing, rebuilding the Gardens is NOT required....a convention hall strategy is, however this unit is in total competition with the other developing convention centers in the city.

This reminds me of the 'charity casino'...up to 200 busloads a day...!

What did we the citizens get ? 5% of the slots ?
6/16/2014 11:51:17 PM
mercy mercy me says:
boy, that week of due diligence sure softened the blow of having to cough up another million....
6/17/2014 4:07:42 AM
p.o.ed taxpayer says:
As much as I believe nothing will change with Boschoff, it will be good to see the end of Hobbs...the people will remember the lies!!!
6/17/2014 6:38:47 AM
signman says:
Mr. Commisso and company continues to push this unaffordable project down the throats of city taxpayers as the city around them crumbles.

Everything is overbudget including the original cost of $50 million dollars, phase three triple what it started out at and even their little survey has doubled in price from $20,ooo to about $40,000.

The majority of taxpayers clearly want a PLEBISCITE on the huge and unaffordable expenditure.


6/17/2014 6:43:47 AM
brandon says:
That is one ugly, expensive building.
6/17/2014 7:05:04 AM
YellowSnow13 says:
So the Federal Gov. is not going to put out money for this. Wasn't there a time when that would of canned this project? What happened. Now as for the hockey team. Why don't you get the team to play at the gardens and see the fan support. If it is there bonus and they should look further into the building. But they don't get the fans, why are we building this? It would be obvious the support would not be there.
6/17/2014 7:28:32 AM
Ozone says:
Let the train wreck begin! We need to vote Hobbs and Angus the great spending wasters out of office in October!

Rydholm is very correct in saying the Feds don't fund hockey arenas just look at atikokan or the Calgary Saddledome for proof!
6/17/2014 7:35:56 AM
djs says:
What's a million dollars nowadays? We seem to have money to throw at the event centre whenever someone asks for it, but we can't get the lines repainted on the main roads. It is sad to see where the priorities seem to be with this city. Safety of its citizens should always be a FIRST priority--it does not seem to have made the top ten list.
6/17/2014 7:51:26 AM
Dockboy says:
Please stop wasting my tax dollars on this ridiculous project.
6/17/2014 8:29:22 AM
Fluffy says:
Here we go with the cost over-runs. This city likes wasting my money
6/17/2014 8:33:40 AM
Nexus says:
I hope with all my heart I have moved far away from Thunder Bay by the time shovels hit dirt.

Also congrats tbnewswatch. Your parent Dougall media played a radio ad recently explaining some of the articles on this site. Including how a majority of people in Thunder Bay support the event center. I for one am against this as long as I live in this city.

We don't need a half empty 100 million dollar project like this ruining the marina any further.
6/17/2014 8:39:20 AM
Kam River says:
Mayor Keith Hobbs told his colleagues, adding some of them might have been opposing the increase to get votes in the upcoming election.

That that what he did last election when he promised a plebiscite.

The only way to stop this project is not to re elect any of them.

They are like children in a candy store spending our money.
6/17/2014 8:42:01 AM
ibrando says:
"Now is not the time to get cold feet ladies and gentlemen," Mayor Keith Hobbs told his colleagues. Somebody please come forward and remove this fool from office (and most councillors) in October. And you have to love Commieisso's confidence building rant, "The event centre would only be used by a team around 15 per cent of the time." = empty 85% of the time. LOL
6/17/2014 9:00:35 AM
signman says:
Mayor Hobbs- " I don't want to put this project at risk one iota"

THIS IS THE REAL REASON THERE IS NO PLEBISCITE
6/17/2014 9:20:53 AM
ou812 says:
Good work council!

6/17/2014 9:27:15 AM
unheard says:
Only 15% of the time for sports yet you are building a hockey rink
Why lie to fednor
6/17/2014 9:30:21 AM
Tbayvoter says:
Ok... 4-5 million to get it right.... Then IF they repurpose the FWG as recommended by the consultant at another 10 million.... Hey wait a minute... The Events Centre was supposed to REPLACE the FWG because it is too old to refurb according to everyone that I have heard from.... So which is it going to be?? Scrap one or the other.
6/17/2014 9:55:58 AM
Eastender says:
Thunder Bay Theme Song

" Dreamin"
6/17/2014 9:58:46 AM
unknowncronik says:
...its only the 1st of many times they will be asking for more & more cash for this project.

just add another 50 million right off the hop instead of asking & asking over & over again.
6/17/2014 10:06:51 AM
rob20 says:
Anyone seen the video of the cat flushing the toilet repeatedly and watching the water drain? Replace the cat with our city council and the water with our tax dollars.
6/17/2014 10:29:55 AM
idontknowitall says:
Two statements (among others) had me shaking my head. "..adding some of them might have been opposing the increase to get votes in the upcoming election". Wow - tell them how you REALLY feel. "This money makes sure there are no surprises when a report comes back to council in August with the guaranteed maximum price." Who will be the first in line to say, 'I told you so', when the first 'surprise' raises its ugly head. I should cancel my cable - this is way more entertaining. :)
6/17/2014 10:51:04 AM
westfortforever says:
Why not get rid of Council and just let administration run the city, council is just there to say yes what ever you want to admin. Think Hobbs and crew want this project shovel ready before election ?
6/17/2014 11:09:03 AM
Oldnews says:
The Ontario Gov. already knows that a Outside Team wants this free hockey rink. Wait till the Feds find out the truth; and they will. High taxes for every home owner. Oh, by the way; I thought the Auditorium was for bringing special events?
6/17/2014 11:26:53 AM
ring of fire dude says:
I would bet my last tax dollar that Council will have the contracts awarded regardless of Provincial/Federal funding before the Municipal election rolls along . Then we'll wait for the lawsuits to flood in from the contractors .
6/17/2014 11:37:58 AM
hounddog says:
When Elected officials start to take the stance those mentioned in this article are on one issue that is such a divided topic among all citizens , they have lost their focus and reason for being in office. As an elected official you are to represent all your citizens not so clearly take a stance on an issue and berate and insult those that don't readily agree. Shame on the current elected officials for shoving this down all citizen's throats and shame on them for becoming so short sighted.
6/17/2014 11:43:53 AM
fastball says:
People : like or not, this project looks like a go - either now or at some point in the near future. Even if the province/feds decides not to fund this project at this time, all the groundwork is getting done. It'll be just a matter of re-applying for funding.
Kicking Hobbs out of office is NOT going to change a thing. This project is too far down the road, there's been too much invested - to totally this shut down forever. Everyone knows I am a supporter of this project - but please don't get the sense that I'm gloating or anything. Like you, I'd like to know the end numbers before we finally commit to anything. I'm just saying this with a sense of fatalism and a sense of how things like this usually work.
So pout and stamp your feet all you want - the only people shutting this down are the ones holding the purse-strings of senior levels of government.
6/17/2014 1:19:08 PM
Who-cares says:
Don't forget to add the 4 to 5 million for relocation or redesign of the Hydro Sub-Station. So add that plus the 10 million to redesign the FWG, that's yet another 15 million on top of the advertised price for the project. Don't forget to add in all the cost over runs and the projected yearly operating losses. This will push the total a lot closer to the 200 million mark. It is hard to believe that anyone can be in favor of this project, given just the financial numbers themselves, let alone all of the other questions surrounding this joke of an event centre. I'm just glad that there is finally someone credible to run against our illustrious mayor, hopefully the election will put an end to this madness.
6/17/2014 3:07:15 PM
Oldnews says:
And just wait when you see the fees for the total design and engineering come in on this. It's obvious this hockey rink is much further on than what we are being told.
6/17/2014 4:01:51 PM
Ducky2671 says:
Here is a real simple suggestion and it might be a real effective one at that. When each member of council running for re-election and those in complete support of the event centre like our Mayor and not a PLEBISCITE shows up at your door tell them right to their face you have lost my vote see you in October.
6/17/2014 4:13:18 PM
Ducky2671 says:
FYI: Boschcoff also supports this event center without holding a PLEBISCITE
6/17/2014 4:24:20 PM
Dan dan says:
Kudos to council for showing real leadership! Let's get this project underway!
6/17/2014 4:30:27 PM
orca says:
But Boschoff is in favour of building the hockey rink, right? So how does replacing Hobbs with him help?
6/17/2014 4:59:50 PM
Jon Powers says:
fastball:

"So pout and stamp your feet all you want - the only people shutting this down are the ones holding the purse-strings of senior levels of government"

You say you want this project; But you bad mouth those you want to pay for it?!

No sweet talker you are?

What double speak is this?

Earlier this year you did state words to the effect "I'm No Smart Cookie".

Just another episode of "As The Cookie Crumbles".



Great Posts!
Everyone!
tbnewswatch.com
6/17/2014 7:14:26 PM
orca says:
As of 730 tonight, 27 posters against this project, while 1 is positive (van halen), and 1 is neutral-positive (fastball). This may not be represenantive of this city but this also shows the level of resistance to this hockey project.
6/17/2014 7:30:55 PM
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