Tbnewswatch Local News
Tuesday June 30 2015
8:41 AM EDT
2014-07-10 at 16:33

Event Centre proponents say there are no parking issues during major events

Jamie Smith, tbnewswatch.com
By Jamie Smith, tbnewswatch.com

THUNDER BAY -- The waterfront's busiest time of the year seems to be showing that parking in the city's north core isn't an issue.

Waterfront BIA vice-chair Jim Comuzzi said he alone has 78 parking spots that are free and open to the public after 5 p.m in the heart of downtown. With 15,000 people downtown on Canada Day and another 9,000 for Bluesfest, there were a lot of empty spaces on his property.

"It's amazing how the parking is not an issue," Comuzzi said. "Nobody used them. I had maybe four or five cars in on Canada Day." 

Commuzzi said while downtowns are for people, not cars, ample parking means there's a lot more work to be done to get people to the area.

"That's when we have a parking problem, not when they're full," he said. "When we have empty spots as we do right now we're not doing our jobs."

Despite the visual evidence, Comuzzi said people still think parking is going to be a problem if an event centre was built in the area.

City community services manager Michael Smith said while a busy couple of weekends have shown that parking isn't an issue, a report due to city council next month should prove it once and for all. The study, part of the event centre's phase three feasibility, is looking at the available spots, potential city-owned property in the area and expected vehicle and pedestrian flow after an event.

"They're looking at those options as we speak," Smith said.

The question of whether or not an estimated $6 million parkade will be needed will be answered in the study, something Comuzzi doesn't think is necessary.

"That could go toward other infrastructure needs," he said. 

It will also take a look at the shuttle services that were in place for Canada Day and Bluesfest, which Smith said aren't used as much as people might think.

The study is looking at spaces within an eight-minute walk from the proposed site.

"From our perspective that is a reasonable expectation to be able to get to these types of events," Smith said.


Click here to submit a letter to the editor.

Click here to report a typo or error



We've improved our comment system.
anarnosti says:
Maybe they should be talking to all the folks that received parking tickets while attending waterfront events... just a thought.
7/11/2014 2:06:24 PM
Wolfie says:
Maybe those folks shouldn't have parked illegally. Just a thought.
7/11/2014 5:16:03 PM
my 2 cents says:
I know that people are tired of hearing that people do not want to walk, so I would like offer a different perspective.
The issue that I have with the downtown core is that it lacks accessibility. The business core is old and although many have done their best to ensure it is accessible there are many businesses I cannot enter.
In addition the terrain makes it difficult to access. Yes, handicapped spaces will be close to the centre, but realistically, there will be times they are all taken. This leaves an uphill climb in one direction. Since most of the talk is hockey, try pushing a wheelchair through slush or ice, on an incline. Want to try it? I do have a spare to loan.
Love that every picture of the event centre includes a person in a wheelchair - think they've all been on bright, sunny, summer days. Doubt they'd be so happy looking in the winter. :/
7/11/2014 12:40:30 PM
SadButTrue says:
Within a short walking distance there are so many businesses that can sell parking spaces for games. The Port Arthur Clinic is a great example and theyre already setup with their gates to do so. They have ~200 spots available, the schools just down the street can use spaces to sell and use funds for fundraisers. Safeways has 3 large lots with one rarely ever having vehicles in it that can rent out. That's private lots on top of the plenty of space that are city lots.

The parking issue is only an issue because people want to park somewhere for free. If Innova Park was chosen and they made it pay for parking there'd be just as big of a bloody outrage as this is.
7/11/2014 9:40:19 AM
jon hutt says:
It's interesting that nobody mentions the convention-related space component of the project even though it makes up $40 million to $50 million of the $100 million estimated cost. Is the parking study being done by a company that has an interest in the project going ahead?
78 parking spaces at $5 each per event?
7/11/2014 9:03:56 AM
BuddhaMum says:
I don't get it. Someone please explain to me why the parking issue keeps coming up? Why are people opposed to walking from a parkade or big lot to a venue. I used to live in the Greater Toronto Area and attending many events where I had to pay $10-$20 to park and then walk to the ACC or a theatre.
People in Thunder Bay like to complain a lot, that's one thing I've noticed since moving here six years ago.
7/11/2014 8:44:23 AM
smartguy83 says:
We should be friends! I swear every time someone mentions that they do not want to walk 10 minutes to see a quality product I die a little...We need more people with big city experience to knock some sense into the general public in this city. At this point, enough is enough.

Curious on your thoughts on the location? Larger cities love to build in the downtown core in hopes of creating more foot traffic and benefiting local shops/restaurants. Applicable here?
7/11/2014 9:54:13 AM
Royalflush says:
If Trawna was so great, whydja escape to hick town Tundra Bay.
Why is it that Eastern Ontarians always think they are so much more sophisticated than us Tunder Bayites. Could it be something in the water you have been drinking, perhaps all that pollution of Trawna swells yer head.
We are not trying to emulate ToeRonto, why would we want to make the same mistakes. We still like to think the tax payers are in charge, and not the crooked politicians. After all, your not really as sophisticated as you think you are, look at what TO. has for a mayor. You should be proud! No thanks! We already have what must be a distant relation of Ford, his name is Hobbs.
Oh by the way, your tiara is a little off centre, and be careful, your shoelace is untied.
7/13/2014 10:14:58 AM
fastball says:
You're doing a great job dispelling the "hick town" mentality with that post, Royalflush.
Why mock a guy because of where his last address? Maybe he's here because he can get work and live for less than a million dollars a house. And maybe (just maybe) people in larger populations bases have had to dig deeper and find a few more new innovative ideas for things than good old "that's the way we've always done it" Thunder Bay. Why do you have to attack the other guy because of your own inferiority complex? At least the "flush" part of your username was spot-on.
7/14/2014 2:08:42 PM
royalflush says:
if You're gonna mock, you're gonna get mocked. Buddhamun calls us complainers, Smartguy says people from the big city should knock some sense into the general public of Thunder Bay. imagine the arrogance of these two making these kinds of statements, thinking they are so much smarter than the simple folk of this city. Complaining is a democratic right, not a flaw or weakness of any kind. complaining is what prevents other people from abusing their powers. and anybody who tells me they're gonna knock some sense into me better have their shoelaces tied tight, and their tiara on straight. If you want to dish it out, you gotta be able to take it.
7/15/2014 8:35:54 PM
johnb says:
You cannot generalize these findings as this was a summer event. Will people be as willing to walk for blocks in -40 weather?
7/11/2014 6:38:11 AM
smartguy83 says:
I'd really hope so or it speaks volumes as to how lazy our population is.
7/11/2014 9:51:42 AM
conker2012 says:
What do you think people did before they could afford cars?

There was one street car line that went across town and out to a couple of the plants and mills. Beside that they walked..... ALOT.

The suburbs have ruined this city and has given everyone the entitlement attitude that I need to have a huge SUV or TRUCK and park as close as possible to the front door.

I own two vehicles, but am ashamed if I drive to the grocery store just over a block away. I don't care if gas went to $3 a liter. I only fill up once in 4-5 weeks.

STOP BEING SO LAZY PEOPLE! Ask your grandparents how they used to get places before the day that everyone had two cars.
7/11/2014 4:14:36 PM
S Duncan says:
Where do you think people played hockey before there were 100 plus million dollar welfare domes?

People will always take the path of least resistance. If you want the place to fail, keep introducing reasons for people not to go and before you know it, nobody will show up.

Even if 25% of possible attendees choose not to go because they believe the parking will suck more than the team will, then that's a whole lot less revenue for an already expected financial liability.

The other day I was at the hospital, parked in one of the lots near emerg. I laughed at the worn cow paths through the grass which are a direct line towards the door, rather than the sidewalks.

People naturally take the easiest way. Putting barriers in the way of laziness only ensures disaster.

and we don't need any more reasons to show this place as a colossal failure. Why introduce more? Why try to divide people instead of uniting them?
7/11/2014 7:54:18 PM
JYDOG says:
I had to wipe the coffee off my monitor before I typed this. Thunder Bay has suburbs? Hmmm.... Really now.
7/11/2014 9:01:58 PM
sam says:
I wonder how people are counting people at these events. I think there is a lot of play in those numbers.
7/10/2014 9:49:25 PM
rocketship says:
There's a 'Heart of the Harbour' parkade???

Where is it please?
7/10/2014 9:34:28 PM
progress now says:
I can see no one is thinking outside the box, only expecting folks to walk up and down hill in the winter to parking spaces 15 minutes away in -25C weather. There is a better solution. In the winter, the lake will be frozen. Voila - lots of parking. Of course, summer is another matter. Let's put the brain trust at city hall to work on that one.
7/10/2014 9:28:46 PM
or$en says:
do i think we need the event center ? as named no
does the gardens need replacing? yes
is the proposed area right? i dont know

is parking an issue in the proposed area?
i dont think so
we have attended bluesfest for yrs. never parked more than 3 blocks away
Canada day pretty much the same.
ribfest never a problem.
harbourfest or what ever they called the concerts behind the casino we parked maybe 3 blocks away.

the restaurant at the marina we have been 3 times and always parked in their lot
7/10/2014 8:56:07 PM
kitch69 says:
Alot of the events will be in held in the winter. Everyone is talking about Hockey, well in the winter they have calender parking which cuts the street parking in half. You know people will park on the wrong side by accdent and alot of 200$ tickets will be given out. alot of events will go past 12am as well, and people will park on the corect side of the road, but at 1 second past midnight you are no on the wrong side of the road and you know the people giving out parking tickets will be standing right next to your car and will give a ticket as soon as the clock stricks 12. Park is the major issue that they are not addressing, and if it can not be solved then the centre should be build else where, like on the grounds at the canada games complex, there is lots of room to build it and lots of parking all ready.
7/10/2014 7:55:07 PM
trevor99 says:
I wonder if Mr. Commuzzi will be that generous when the event centre is complete or will he take the opportunity to charge for parking.

Parking is not a big issue for me on this thing but cost sure is but for the supporters to suggest that July results will be duplicated in January are delusional. The snow itself will remove countless parking spots that do not exist in winter because SNOW will be piled there or else the city will have to pay far more in the snow removal budget to keep those sidewalks and parking areas completely free of snow.

But when people blindly will pay any cost for this thing they will say anything to support it.
7/10/2014 7:45:28 PM
conker2012 says:
You pay for parking whenever you go to a business with a dedicated parking lot. The infrastructure and maintenance costs are all rolled into the cost of the products you at the business with the lot. What is not fair is that people who do not drive have to pay for your parking. The second point I would like to make is why not pay for parking? Shouldn't the parking closest to the event center be in high demand by all the disabled seniors or lazy people that don't want to walk 5-10 minutes? Isn't our economy based on supply and demand? So if the parking closest is in high demand why not lease it at the highest cost? Try going to Minneapolis for a hockey game at xcel energy center, $20 to park across the street, $15 at a parking structure 2 blocks away, $5 at an open lot 4-6 blocks away.

@TSX have you ever been to a hockey game at the ACC or a baseball game at Rogers Center? There are 0 dedicated parking spaces for those two facilities in down town Toronto.
7/11/2014 8:36:25 AM
smartguy83 says:
I am on your side, but I am 99% sure the Rogers Centre has some underground parking available. That being said I would find it hard to imagine they meet the 1:4 ratio this clown seems to think is applicable.
7/11/2014 9:48:15 AM
Eastender says:
Tell that to Wall-mart, intercity mall, Canadian tire, Home Depot, and adjacent stores. All provide adequate free parking. Why? Because, It Just Makes Sense.
7/11/2014 10:46:09 PM
Smartguy83 says:
There really are some dilusional people in this city. People with direct knowledge all over will tell you the issue is not as bad as you think. Let the experts do their job. If you have credible, substantial evidence to prove them wrong then do it. Don't just complain because you think they are wrong. PROVE IT!
7/10/2014 7:41:35 PM
sinkoreswim says:
I was at Canada Day and the Bluesfest. Parking was never an issue. The Heart of The Harbour Parkade was hardly used. Residential streets where easily available within 10 minutes if you didn’t show up early to get the good spots. With all the traffic and people out and about everything was FINE! If you can have 15,000+ people downtown like that than it should be a non-issue for whatever the much smaller occupancy the future event center will have.

For those people who complain about local businesses not getting business because the customers don’t have a place to park, TOUGH! You park where it’s available and unless the business owns their own private lot where they can set their own rules, than parking is open to whomever for whatever, like it or not.

As far as I can tell the only people who will have issues parking will be the tardy folks who can’t be bothered to show up early enough to get a good spot. Welcome to life in the BIG CITY!
7/10/2014 7:38:08 PM
ring of fire dude says:
Canada day and BluesFest were all-day events , people coming and going all day . How about a hockey game that lasts 3 to 4 hours , don't you think there will be vehicular mayhem in the streets after a game ?
7/10/2014 8:28:08 PM
Reignmaker says:
So businesses that lose customers due to parking issues, caused by the same Centre that is supposed to increase their business, are in the "tough" luck category. Yeah that sounds about right for this whole project. No parking? TOUGH. Few new full time jobs? TOUGH. Too much money? TOUGH. A lot of people don't want it? TOUGH.
7/11/2014 9:07:11 AM
Jon Powers says:
To All:

The City Of Thunder Bay and it's B.I.A.'s don't see a "Parking Problem"?

They are Ignorant!

The Ontario Building Code has parking outlined in many requirements for building anything from homes to small arena projects like this one.

The current building code requirement is no less than 1 parking spot for every 4 fixed seats.

This means that you will need at least 1,500 event centre parking spots just for this complex.

My question is this if the code says you need dedicated parking for the success of this project; Why doesn't "City Council" care?

The B.I.A.'s are very bias about this project aren't they?!

B.I.A.'s, bias sorry for the play on wording.

Great Story!
7/10/2014 7:10:24 PM
fastball says:
There's got to be more than 500 spots in the Parkade on Court Street. That's at least 30 percent of your 1500 right there in one spot. You can't tell me there's not another 700-1000 spots in a 5 minute radius.
7/11/2014 2:37:46 PM
think says:
Please excuse my skepticism, but I could not find anything in the building code referring to your 1 parking spot for every 4 fixed seats claim.

To my eye it looks like you've invented a regulation to support your opinion and to sway others. If I am wrong I do apologize, but I invite everyone to look at the law themselves.

Building Code

Building Code Act

Use Ctrl+f in your browser to search for parking to speed things up
7/11/2014 3:25:02 PM
deet percy says:
When did the city hire Jim Cummuzzie as our new parking authority? Lots of people took advantage of the free city transportation or the media overblew the hype about how there would be no parking.....the event centre and Canada day celebrations are two different animals so don't only speak out of one side of your mouth....
7/10/2014 7:06:52 PM
Eastender says:
By the way, will you need armed body guards after a concert just toget to your car? After what happened recently near city hall, would you feel safe letting your daughter or son walk to their car after a concert?
Maybe Hobbs can hire out as an escort, because he wont have his job at city hall much longer.
7/10/2014 6:58:10 PM
sinkoreswim says:
"After what happened recently near city hall, would you feel safe letting your daughter or son walk to their car after a concert?"

That's funny! Someone who lives in the EAST END is concerned about safety in PA!
7/10/2014 8:08:13 PM
JAR says:
Are you kidding me with that comment? Have you EVER lived in the East End? I have been living there for many, many years and do you want to know what the worst thing that has happened in my area? Someone stole a ladder out of my backyard! And then they did something even worse!!! They returned it 2 days later!!! Maybe you should live in an area before you make assumptions.
7/11/2014 10:12:02 AM
pylon says:
shh! Don't let the rest of the city know!
7/11/2014 11:35:36 AM
Eastender says:
First of all, I do not live in the East End, but, I have friends that have lived there for many many years, and I have spent a lot of time in their company and in their houses, and have walked the streets there. So I can assure you that the East End is no more dangerous than any other part of town, but thats not saying much, since viscious attacks such as happened near city hall can happen any where. A drug addled brain has no conscience, nor sense of location. Dont be in the wrong place at the wrong time that includes downtown P. A.
7/11/2014 10:29:41 AM
sudbury yahoo says:
The Essar Centre in the Sault has some on-site parking but most folks park on the back lots and side streets in the downtown. And the Sault has more old folks than Thunder Bay who don't mind walking.
For example, when the hockey season is on is anybody really using up the parking spots at the Marina Park at night?
Don't know why this is even an issue.
Does everybody take the bus to Fort William Gardens?
7/10/2014 6:24:11 PM
sinkoreswim says:
No, most drive. They park in a grocery store parking lot and residential streets. That's it.
7/10/2014 7:58:11 PM
tsb says:
Jim Comuzzi should lay off all of his staff, close his business, and move to another city.

Thunder Bay City Council is pro-business, but Thunder Bayer themselves? Not at all. Everyone in this city just wants a boring little place to live with a pothole-free road between their giant, cheap house and Walmart.

We've basically entered the last stage of the life cycle of a city. We're dying. Those of us with life left need to leave before it becomes impossible to do so.
7/10/2014 6:14:12 PM
kitch69 says:
Well Mr. Commuzzi's opinion is very very biased. He has parking spacing that he does not want compition for. Its free after 5pm but what about the day time? I am sure he does not want another place for people to park which takes away from his place during the day time. they are all not reporting the truth about the city parking. The city needs money to help pay for this event centre,and the who gets the money from all the parking tickets? The city, so there opinion is biased as well because they plan on making money off of parking tickets, so they are going to tell you it is not an issue. what are you going to do after this place is built? the city will just say too bad, suckers! I know this will happen I worked giving out parking tickets, the event centre will be the first place they head to give out tickets, and yes there will be lots of events that happen during the weekdays, during no parking hours. Most of the private lots are no parking at anytime,wait untill your car is towed.
7/10/2014 5:50:22 PM
fastball says:
That certainly will be such a problem for all the DAYTIME concerts and games that will be happening.
7/10/2014 6:34:56 PM
common cents says:
Do you think the LCBO will let you park in thier lot?

I think not!!
7/10/2014 10:07:57 PM
blah blah says:
If jesus came down and said parking will not be an issue people would still disagree because its not the answer they want to hear. So on and on the debate will go.... ugh
7/10/2014 5:47:55 PM
The Rink Rizz says:
I am not the religious type, so I wouldn't agree with Jesus, but there is so much paved surface in the downtown core that a Jumbo Jet Airplane could land there, definitely enough for parking.
7/11/2014 8:50:21 AM
sprintfan says:
Of course parking won't be a problem as the facility will be no fuller than FWG is now!Then it will be dark most of the time,and pretty much all of the time when the AHL heads off to the next sucker city!
7/10/2014 5:39:34 PM
cazam says:
How is this news? Did they survey a portion of the 15,000 people who attended? Did they survey the other users of the waterfront to see how they faired such as the boaters, spash pad users, restaurant patrons?

If people really want to know the true litmus test of this event center consider that the courthouse was built privately and is being rented to the government. The investors who built it know it will make money. Local developers (Tom Jones, Brunos, etc.) develop and rent properties in this city all the time. Do you see any of them jumping in to build an event center? Do you see any private money being offered with knowledge that a return on investment will be had? The answer is quite simply NO!!

That in itself should be a red flag that the event center will become a burden to the tax payers of this city.
7/10/2014 5:36:40 PM
tsx says:
If the event center is built near the waterfront , parking will be an issue the way things currently stand. Maybe the people in charge should visit other arenas in other cities and see the proper way to build an event center and parking lot beside it. It seems like they have no clue on how to build it the proper way. Its too bad !
7/10/2014 5:17:52 PM
unknowncronik says:
"Maybe the people in charge should visit other arenas in other cities"

you better mean on their own dime, not charging the city for their trip to find out what we already know!
7/11/2014 4:46:24 AM
fastball says:
Yes, because that MTS Centre in Winnipeg was such an abject failure - what with not having a giant 5 acre parking lot next to it.
I've been to several games and concerts there. You either park a couple of blocks away and (gasp) walk - or you pay 5-10 dollars to park in a small lot near it. There's no giant parking lot in London, Ontario. People manage, somehow.
That how they do it in the big cities, anyways....hell, what do they know, right? On the other hand, you oughta maybe try getting out past city limits on occasion.
7/11/2014 7:47:05 AM
ring of fire dude says:
What do they do in the big cities when it's -30 and the wind is howling ?
7/11/2014 4:33:28 PM
fastball says:
I dunno....manage, maybe?
I've been perusing the news out of places like Winnipeg and Edmonton - and I can't recall ever hearing about them recovering the frozen bodies of concert-goers who perished on the long, frigid march between parking the car and arriving at the door. Springtime has NOT turned up flash-frozen hockey fans under the snowbanks of Portage and Main.
God, your grandparents would roll their eyes in disgust listening to you alleged "northerners" whine and cry like hysterical schoolgirls about a 5 minute walk on a winter's night. Honest to god...it's embarrassing.
7/11/2014 6:34:05 PM
Eastender says:
Ok! All together now,
Parkings not a problem.
Parkings not a problem.
Parkings not a problem!..........
If we keep repeating it long enough maybe it will come true.
Come on Commuzzie, if the puny auditorium needs a parking lot, surely a venue of 5700 should have one too! It just makes sense.
7/10/2014 5:17:48 PM
cob says:
Walking to any event is only part of the issue. How do you think some of the restaurants in the area will feel when all of the on-street parking is taken up by people attending an event, and anyone who wants to have a meal at their establishment has to park a half-mile away? Now assuming it is a hockey game, their prime on street parking will be occupied from 6:00 pm (by the early arrivals) until sometime after the game ends, say 10:30 pm. Not too many people looking for a dinner at that time.
Parking was, is and will always be an issue for any event centre in a downtown area. Furthermore, walking a few blocks in the summer is a lot different than in the winter.
Until they have a realistic answer to the parking issue, I can't support it downtown at any cost. And yes, what about cost? Why exactly is it going to cost $100M? What is and isn't included in that cost; i.e. infrastructure upgrades, relocations, etc.? Enough with the spin, let's have some realistic answers.
7/10/2014 5:03:33 PM
broken says:
lol.. case closed.. that's all.. nothing to see.. move along..
7/10/2014 4:55:04 PM
ring of fire dude says:
Thank you Mr. Commuzzi for your expert , unbiased opinion . Have you ever thought about getting into the consulting business ?
7/10/2014 4:48:02 PM
ibrando says:
So parking wasn't an issue during Bluesfest? Of course it wasn't because the parking lot where the welfare dome is supposed to go was jammed packed with vehicles!! Who are you trying to fool?
7/10/2014 6:25:45 PM
common cents says:
And so was
-the Brewers Retail loading area
-the arm and limb clinc
-the liquior store
-the back lane to the Brewers Retail was full of illegally parked cars

Do you want the pictures?
7/10/2014 9:56:33 PM
unknowncronik says:
funny how the hospital now needs to spend a million for more parking...

should be funny to find out when so many are walking to the event centre & complaining "they should never have built it here"
7/11/2014 4:50:12 AM
unknowncronik says:
if the hospital only has around 400 beds & needs more parking, you honestly think the "ma-arena" wont have a parking issue?


build the darn thing in a field where room isn't a concern.

were not in such a huge city we need to stuff it downtown!!
7/12/2014 11:44:12 AM
Royalflush says:
Would you build your house without a driveway? Then park on your front lawn?Would you buy a bicycle with no seat? Would you buy a car with a missing passenger window, then duct tape some plastic in its place to keep out the rain?
Well then, why would you build a 5700 seat facility without a place to accomodate the necessary transportation to get your customers there. You can make all the excuses you want, but the bottom line is, your building something with a fatal flaw, and will forever be trying to fix it with chicken wire and sticky paper.
This centre if it is to be biuilt, should be built centrally, with an adequate parking lot. Its just common sense.
7/13/2014 10:35:34 AM
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