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Following last weekends "Open Streets" event, the city has indicated it wants to expand the program. Is this a good idea?

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2012-02-24 at NOON

Arena answers

By Leith Dunick,
St. Joseph FoundationGrand A Day Draw tickets are now on sale. $1,000 daily draws in November. Grand Prize draw is for $10,000. License #M738339Click Here

Tim Commisso says he thinks the upper threshold the city would be willing to absorb to build a new events centre would be 50 per cent of the expected $80-million to $100-million cost.

The city manager also on Friday said the 6,000- to 6,500-seat proposed facility would cost taxpayers about $900,000 in subsidies to operate, something the consultant charged at evaluating the city’s three preferred sites has said is commonplace across the country.

“I don’t think there is any mid-size venue that breaks even,” said Conrad Boychuk, a senior director with CEI Architecture, one of the consulting firms that will be presenting at Wednesday’s events centre open house at the Italian Cultural Centre.

“It’s part of your infrastructure and you don’t expect it to break even, quite frankly.”

Fort William Gardens, which the events centre would replace, costs taxpayers $600,000 a year in subsidies, similar to the contribution taxpayers make to keep the Thunder Bay Community Auditorium operational. A decision on the future of the Gardens will be made once the events centre is OKed or turned down by city council.

The facility would also include a conference centre, which city officials are hoping to use to attract federal government funding through the P3 fund, money the city was denied during the first round of funding announcements.

Commisso said the overall cost of the facility would depend on the location. The city is currently looking at three sites: a north downtown core location at the Water Street bus terminal, Innova Park and on lands adjacent to the Thunder Bay International Airport.



Boychuck said most new mid-size facilities are being built in downtown cores, which tend to be more expensive builds, but come with higher economic spinoffs.

Commisso said the city has called in the consultants to get an unbiased report on what’s best for Thunder Bay and its residents, should council ultimately decided to move ahead with the project.

On that there are no guarantees, Commisso reiterated.

“We’ve said all along it’s about planning for the future. We can do this now or we can do it five years from now or 10 years from now,” Commisso said. “We’ve taken the view that this council said let’s take a good look at this.

“We are dealing with some tough economic times. There’s no question, particularly with the question of funding, in terms of federal and provincial funding.”

The local economy, he added, is experiencing growth, and the future looks promising, if the economic cards fall into place.

“We’re also seeing that in five years or 10 years we could look a lot differently if we can get the mining piece going. So I think now is a good time to plan, but not to be naïve about it. I’ll say it again. If the money is not there, if we’re not able to secure the funding, this project could have a shelf life of three to five years.”

The life expectancy of the Gardens, built in 1951, is about two decades.

Commisso also touched on the suggestion a plebicite, putting the question of an events centre to the public, which he said would be entirely up to council. The current study and a location would need to be known before it would be a viable question for the ballot, he added.

A traffic and parking study will also be part of the consultants' report.

Boychuck said a new facility could last as long as 70 years from a structural standpoint, though from a patron standpoint it’s probably a 20- to 25-year venture and from a business aspect it could be obsolete in 20 years. The city has set aside $25 million already to cover its share of the cost, through the Renew Thunder Bay fund.

No serious talks have been held yet with prospective anchor tenants, though Commisso said Ice Edge Holding's Anthony LeBlanc has continued to express interest in bringing professional hockey back to his hometown. The Lakehead Thunderwolves hockey team is the main tenant at the Gardens, drawing between 2,100 and 3,500 fans a night this season.

When asked Friday, LeBlanc gave a one-word response.

"Yes," he said.

Wednesday's meeting is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. at the Italian Cultural Centre on Algoma Street and end at 9 p.m. Presentations will be made at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m., with question-and-answer sessions to follow.

"We're there to listen to the community," Commisso said.

Follow Leith Dunick on Twitter: @LeithDunick

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We've improved our comment system.
ibrando says:
The arena would COST $900,000 a year to operate? In a related story, Michael Smith has been spotted hauling glass panels up to the roof tops of several money losing city owned buildings around town. Standby for further Health & Safety news releases.
2/24/2012 1:30:12 PM
jubjub says:
If a multiplex cannot be guaranteed sustainable through its own revenues then it should not be built. With austerity measures coming down in Ontario (and the rest of the World) Thunder Bay considers building and funding expensive new projects, are we that isolated up here?
2/24/2012 1:56:20 PM
Arch Stanton says:
Presumably the $80m~$100m quoted does not include one of Commisso's customary $7m 'oversights'.....

It is ASTONISHING that the guy still has the gall to open his mouth on matters finacial. He is a joke; an absolute laughing stock - and now expects us to cough up for his latest white elephant!!!
2/24/2012 2:06:09 PM
sla100 says:
I would love a new arena as much as the next guy but i don't think our city can afford this, they want to close the conservator, which I don't think cost nearly as much as an arena!
2/24/2012 2:12:55 PM
RicknB says:

Are you trying to BANKRUPT this city?
Because you are doing a good job at it. Starting with the people on a fixed income.

With tax increases on the rise here, no company looking at setting up shop in Thunder Bay will consider it. They are already saying NO! Thats why these dead and idle mills are being sold off for scrap.

Time to wake up!

2/24/2012 2:13:34 PM
macdaddy77 says:
Upper Threshold of the City? Who are they?
Maybe they need a memo too in order to make sure items don't get overlooked.
People we need to act, public input is not working as they ignore us.
The Glee club of Pugh, Foulds and Bentz just make matters worse.
And Tim? Well, what can we say about good old Timmy, his head is getting rounder and bigger by the day.

This is something that we need to stop before it gets too far. We will become the small town version of Greece real soon. And remember, there is still the fiscal mess our province is in as well which would incur more fees and higher costs for valuable necessities.

I say bring the rope, I will make sure those RISE ABOVE TAXES t-shirts get made and plenty of free WWE ice cream bars for not only the kids but adults too. Because the way things are going, that is all we will be able to afford.
But wait! Good old Wayne said I complain to much. So lets send him the bill.
2/24/2012 2:14:53 PM
Kidknapp says:
We need to get this project completely wiped from everyone's minds! We cannot afford it! City council needs to quit dreaming and start being responsible for their actions! Time to start going to their homes and picketing in front of them!
2/24/2012 2:25:01 PM
Steven says:
As i've been saying for the last 2 years, we can't afford this. Period.
I was just in winnipeg visiting a friend. He has a similar house to mine in terms of size and neighbourhood. He pays 1/3 the taxes I do.

Why in heck would be so stupid as to consider building this when we have a huge amount of debt, and we are already throwing more money into our fire and police services at a long term cost of millions more every year, all while we have poor job prospects?

Its insane, even paying consultants to look at it right now borders on criminal. We are teenagers with maxed credit cards trying to spend on a sports cars. Its insane, and it needs to be stopped. NOW. Write your councillor and the mayor.
2/24/2012 2:36:27 PM
DougMyers says:
Well since most post are against this I will stand alone in stating I am in favor of building a new facility, in principle.

Not right now but we do need to be prepared for when the timing is right.

There are no shovels in the ground people. The sky is not falling. The dooms day predictions are wrong.

We must position ourselves for the opportunities that may be presented. Be totally unprepared will leave us totally out of the loop.
2/24/2012 2:40:46 PM
hamlin says:
Although I would love to have a new arena. The City of Thunder Bay cannot afford this, and if they do build this, the marina is the only logical place to put it. They are trying to build the marina up. Why would they even consider other areas? Mind boggling.
2/24/2012 2:43:47 PM
macdaddy77 says:
A lot of people that do live would rather go out of town to Winnipeg or Minneapolis to see a major rock concert. God knows I have.
Nobody comes here and wrestling shows do not come here anymore either.
I don't think Hacksaw Jim Duggan vs. Papa Shango in a ladder match is gonna sell tickets.
Although I think some city council members need a lecture from the Iron Sheik, he can also put them in the camel clutch. LOL.

And LeBlanc. Where is our hockey team you promised us big guy? What a failure he is.
Number one jabroni for sure.
2/24/2012 2:51:01 PM
jb says:
LeBlanc's group stated they were only interested in bringing a team here if there was a new arena in the works. The Moose/IceCaps went to St John's instead of Thunder Bay because we don't have a suitable arena for a pro team.
2/24/2012 4:05:53 PM
advocate says:
Macdaddy, you are nothing but WRONG. 6500 seats is not enough for Papa Shango and HACKSAW. Clearly we need a 30,000 seat arena for these two. But 30,000 is impractical for everything else. So 6500 seats works better.

I also know for certain that The Goon is in favour of playing hockey in this arena.
2/25/2012 9:13:53 AM
imhere says:
I would love a new arena for the city but not here. It doesn't surprise me that they want it at the waterfront but it isn't the right place at all for it. Inova park to me makes the most sense - there is more than enough room for it and parking. Heck even some restaurants could move there - or closer to there for after shows/games. If this means bigger name acts will come to this city then it's great. Just when it does go up - do it right the first time please.
2/24/2012 2:57:23 PM
tannharr says:
Your logic does not make any sense at all! The downtown north core is the BEST place for it. Plenty of parking already in the area, lots of locally owned businesses that would greatly benefit from the added foot traffic, and the list goes on. By putting it at Innova Park, you're forcing our local businesses OUT OF BUSINESS. Only chains and franchises MAY decide to set up shop next to the arena, but then you have a massive parking lot that's 10 times the land area as the arena itself. People will park, attend the game/concert/etc, and then drive back home. At least downtown, some people will decide to go for supper before the event, get a good parking space, and some people may go for a drink afterwards at a nearby locally owned pub. Or heck, in the winter time, they may even walk down to the beautiful new marina with the awesome skating rink! Support our locally owned and established businesses! BUILD IT AT THE WATER STREET STATION!!!
2/24/2012 4:19:27 PM
need_to_know says:
Wow. A lot of negativity on here. I'd like to make a couple of points.

When I moved here in 1971 people were talking of a new arena. Several years later council spent tens of millions to upgrade the Gardens instead.

Sometimes to have nice things you have to pay more taxes. If you want lower taxes you can always move to Nolalu.

This project will be no cheaper ten years from now.
2/24/2012 2:59:32 PM
homelessteen says:
how about we just tell the province and feds its a detox/convention center and we can pack the house
2/24/2012 3:01:26 PM
unknowncronic says:
HAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHA!!! It's not that we dont have the room to build this somewhere where PARKING will be the next big issue...
Regardless of where it's built, they will come.
There is NO NEED to squeeze it somewhere that just wonk fit, just useless!
2/24/2012 3:15:07 PM
unknowncronic says:
Put it beside the conservatory & make chapples 9 holes only...Tons o room for EVERYTHING there!!
2/24/2012 3:16:38 PM
unknowncronic says:
@hamlin: If needed, THEY COULD RECLAIM SOME OF THE SHORELINE & PUT THE ARENA WHERE THE FESTIVALS ARE HELD NOW! There is SO MUCH land thats free, like buchanans old place to even dream of throwing this box into a space w/o ANY parking? Build it on the outskirts of town even, where there is tons of land off the new extention between the harbourview expressway extention & Twin City crossroads? Actually, thats the perfect place!
2/24/2012 3:23:46 PM
Papercut says:
Ya estimated $100million.....wait until our contractors are finished.....I bet it will come in double that figure!
2/24/2012 3:24:10 PM
countrychick says:
i think we do need a arena eventually, maybe not this minute but lets face it the gardens is not going to last forever.... why not approch say tbaytel or another big business for investment to offset the cost to taxpayer say called it ie.. tbaytel place just like other cities ie the bell cente or rogers etc... just a thought!
2/24/2012 3:43:51 PM
Fluffy says:
The budget is passed so here he goes with his hockey arena dream. Times are tough right now, we are taxed to the max and this bozo wants to spend more of our cash. Who's he trying to kid? It'll go way over budget and end up costing us more in tax. This guy needs to retire or something.
2/24/2012 3:56:19 PM
DougMyers says:
Wow it doesn't seem to matter how how it is said you people just don't listen.


WE ARE NOT THE HIGHEST TAXED CITY IN THE PROVINCE. Not even close. We are about mid range for a city our size. Enought with the outright lie that we pay such high taxes.

We would all like to pay less but to just state it is high is wrong.
2/24/2012 4:42:36 PM
chezhank says:
Yes you are right DougMyers people just don't listen.
The 2011 BMA report states that the taxes for a detached bungalow in Thunder Bay at $3096 are high when compared to 87 other Ontario municipalities.
But people will not do their research!
2/24/2012 5:53:08 PM
mrbusinessman says:
The Ft. William Gardens life is coming to an end! Face it this is part of the infrastructure of our city and it needs to be replaced, so why not do it right and bring Thunder Bay up to date with the rest of the country. If it is not replaced what do all of you na sayers propose this city use for a major arena, the tournament center that can only handle an audience about 400 people?
I think this council is doing a good job, not perfect but good. If you people on here are so sure council has got it wrong why don't you make your voices heard at council meeting or by participating in local politics instead of playing arm chair politics online!!
2/24/2012 3:57:33 PM
dynamiter says:
We definitely need a new complex/FW gardens replacement. To those who think that the Marina is the correct place - think again. You need access in and out quickly and you need parking - 0 for 2 for the Marina. We have already made many wrong decisions on location of things in this city - the Casino, Whiskeyjacks ball park and Tournament Center to name a few. Put it where there is parking and easy access. The Regional Hospital is an example of a win win location - close to LU leads to other synergies and now the hotels, restaurants etc eventually creep in if there is a good business case. If you want a big pink elephant cram it in the Marina Park area and think that people will walk down from the parkade. It will be another Keskus/Victoriaville.

With all the talk about deficits both personal and government, I like the comment from the knowledgeable experts who say that governments need to put money into infrastructure even if it means a deficit. Just dont cut back on essential stuff
2/24/2012 3:59:08 PM
baor says:
Build it baby!!! Build it downtown!!! Would add to the marina very well just like any other city. Remember that the 9 people on this site that are against EVERYTHING do not represent the whole city ---- Thank God!!
2/24/2012 4:05:41 PM
Delbert Grady says:
Whats stopping you?

Why arent you building it? Cant afford it?

If its such a great idea surely you can get investors to back you up, no?

Oh, its a losing money venture?

oh I see. you want everyone to lose money together? My, youre sure generous with other peoples money. Youre so kind!

Did the taxpayers hire you to spend their money on perpetual debt saddled projects?

oh, no. I see.

Oh, you speak for everyone in the city save for those 9 people?

Oh, sorry to hear about that. Well, I guess we cant help but feel sorry for people with grandiose ideas, but have no skills or ability to make them happen.

Oh, you want to try and vote your way into prosperity? How so?

Oh, I see. you want to vote for people who promise to give you what you want using other peoples money.

Well, what happens when you realize they dont have money to give?

Oh, you want to go into more debt huh?

I see. You want future generations to pay the costs.

Thank God?? is he paying?
2/24/2012 5:20:06 PM
yer joking says:
Oh Delbutt you are against everything! It is for the good of the people. It will attract mucho business and yes it will cost the taxpayers some money but the benefits to the majority will far out weigh the costs. For every Tax dollar it costs it will bring in 9-11 business dollars which will in the long run surpass all added expenses. Plus it will get us a hotel in the North ward and greatly enhance the Entertainment District. Build it and They will come!
2/25/2012 8:41:29 AM
baor says:
I will gladly give my share of taxes to build it. That is how it works. Don't want to give your share --- do us all a favour a movet to another jurisdiction and spout of on another website. Not everone agrees with your endless "wisdom" or your endless negativity about everthing. We vote leaders in to spend our money on such things. That is one of the reasons why they are there. How you could possibly think that this would be an "albatross" is beyond me.
By the way, the sarcastic tone was impressive.
2/25/2012 12:16:23 PM
keiths31 says:
Funny how when the city of Fort William built the Gardens in 1951, there was no outcry or people chest thumping that the city could not afford it. City leaders knew what the Gardens could bring and mean to the city. Lucky too since Port Arthur never rebuilt there arena (well, one with a large seating capacity) after theirs burnt down.
Another fact, the Gardens, when built it held over 5,000 people. And that was for one city of 50,000 people.
A new arena/event centre is an investment in our city's future.
2/24/2012 4:06:13 PM
keiths31 says:
And on the topic of location. The odds on favourite right now is the waterfront. I still think this is a terrible place. It is congested enough down there, add in the final development of the waterfront and it could be hell down there on event days. Innova Park, which used to be my least favourite site, is the one that makes the most sense of late.
2/24/2012 4:10:30 PM
chezhank says:
Keeping in mind City Lean and the Core Business Review, we can just kill the idea right now!
Let those in favor of the idea purchase shares with a private developer and share in the projected profits!
2/24/2012 4:38:50 PM
Delbert Grady says:
The bottom line is NO.

This city cannot afford to have another albatross around our necks. The numbers dont lie, but city hall sure does.

On top of that, where does Commieisso think the federal and provincial governments get their money from?

If we have this cross to bear (like so many others sold to us before) what do we taxpayers get from it? It doesnt contribute to our tax base since it will cost $900K/ year just to remain operational.

Will we get in for free? No of course not. So whats in it for the tax payer? We can go see whomever we want once a year in Wpg or Minneapolis, so why do we NEED this?

So the university can play hockey? let them build it then!

and nice spin on the thunderwolves bringing in 2100-3500/night. Thats not per night, thats per game. Trying to make useage sound bigger than reality? or just bad choice of words?

Whats the advantage for Joe taxpayer? Tell me, because @ 900K/yr (underestimated, no doubt!)in the red to start, whats so good?
2/24/2012 4:50:40 PM
Tbaylifer says:
I believe the issue isn't if or where we should build it, now. I wanted it built when first brought up 30 some yrs ago but the youth weren't listed too back then. Now it has come down to trust. Am I willing to believe what is being presented or is there some unseen development that will come out after the fact? At this point get the report and nothing further. At this time.
2/24/2012 4:55:20 PM
SadButTrue says:
My location choice is still the downtown location, thats my opinion at least.

I would really like to see this built, but only only be initiated by a council that has managed to maintain a budget without having to increase taxes. Balance the budget for even just one year, one simple year and then start this discussion again. Until then put it on a shelf.
2/24/2012 5:03:20 PM
ring of fire dude says:
Why is it that the picture of the proposed arena site looks bigger than what I see when I drive by it ? -30 , there,s no way I'm walking from the parkade dodging the Oxy zombies , bums and winos . And I cant wait for the Restaurateurs to start winning that they are losing business because there's no parking for their patrons on game night . After blowing my "wad" of cash in the arena , it's doubtful I would have any left to even go to a restaurant .
2/24/2012 5:56:14 PM
anvil of crom says:
pro hockey Ha,...
leblanc says yes!
yes to what? giving a few "mil"so we can build the place?
i dont think so!! he talking about paying rent , only possibly!
but to me john Q public, I say no wait a few years when the ring of fire lights some kind of fire under the cooking pot of thunder bay, IF thats going to happen then do it ..
right now, I cant spare the expense.
2/24/2012 6:16:02 PM
blue says:
When is Mr Commisso going to forget these visions of grandure for Thunder Bay. If I didn't know any better I'd say that he and ice edge holdings have a common goal. We will run out of money soon enough without pushing the issue.
2/24/2012 6:29:20 PM
canrebel53 says:
Well this is just what we need another boat anchor, city councils running around trying to find out what to close to keep the taxes down. And then in another breath start yapping about this boat anchor. And just when are the people of this city going to learn when these jerks tell you's it's going to cost this much, all you have to do is double it just like the hospital. Why not wait till they see if they can get more business's to come here first and help with the tax base before starting this. Because we all know who's going to get stuck flipping the bill for it.
2/24/2012 8:18:27 PM
TBinTO says:
I don't understand this part: "Boychuck said a new facility could last as long as 70 years from a structural standpoint, though from a patron standpoint it’s probably a 20- to 25-year venture and from a business aspect it could be obsolete in 20 years."

There is something wrong with investing this much money, energy, and resources into something that will be obsolete in 20 years. I know that one cannot predict the future, but why not plan and build for the long-term?

Life-span aside, are they really going to build this blob of a building next to the Pagoda, the Prince Arthur Hotel and the beautiful Whalen building? Downtown Port Arthur has some real architectural gems -- the Whalen in particular will be shamefully obscured by this ugly structure.

So sad!

Don't city councilors work close enough to that ugly shopping mall they wrapped around the Chappel's building to know better?

Who did they hire to design this thing? It's uglier than Walmart, for crying out loud.
2/24/2012 9:34:30 PM
TB4life says:
Nice building where do you park! lets waste so much money that thunder bay is forced to cancel every other service just so we can have a shiny new waste of cash, water front wasnt too much already
2/24/2012 10:01:54 PM
spoiled says:
bet ya most of that annual cost ,will be for someone to manage it at a cost of....250,000.00 or so........another project to create a new sunshine member. The rest of the workers you can bet will earn minimum wage.
2/25/2012 2:27:48 AM
trips says:
why would anyone blame commisso...hes the employee that follows instructions given to him by city council
2/25/2012 6:50:34 AM
mika says:
It's my understanding that the city is only doing planning and collecting input from the citizens regarding a event/convention centre for this city. Once again the vocal minority, whom seem to complain about everything are at it again. I'm sure they would complain if the city wasn't doing consultation and planning.

In any event, a new event/convention centre for a city the size of Thunder Bay is long over due. It would be wise for the city to explore private sector partners, such as True North Sports and Entertainment to possibly either own and or manage this new facility.

A similar debate took place in Winnipeg in the 90's, regarding a new arena and it's location. Many felt it should go where there was space (green field) mainly for parking and access. I for one disagree with that logic and we need only to look at what other cities have done in regards to similar facilities.

The city needs to stop building out, where new roads and infrastructure (increased taxes)
2/25/2012 7:23:15 AM
mika says:
Building out means new roads and other infrastructure and maintaining that infrastructure which in turn leads to increased taxes. We have plenty of available land in areas already service. Other problems regarding location are the city has no organization or appropriate districts. Locating the auditorium in a largely residential area was a huge mistake, as would be locating a planned event/convention centre in an area specifically designated for business development.

The only logical location for an event/convention centre is somewhere in the waterfront district. Perhaps not the location proposed, but somewhere in that general area where the city will reap the most benefits from a facility of this sort.

I'm not advocating for building it tomorrow, but we should as a city at the very least plan for it and secure the appropriate land for its future development.
2/25/2012 7:38:31 AM
maxumpat says:
OK gang. Lets all pretend this happens at the proposed site in the picture. Even if the pope was on the ticket to fill the place there is no close by parking.

Imagine walking for blocks and being accosted by the fine people that hang out around the downtown core and the lovely park across the street.

This will make parking at Centenial Square and dredging to the FW Gardens seem like a cake walk.

Like it or not this area needs a good size parking lot adjacent to it or it will be a failure.

In other words, Innova Park......WHEN WE CAN AFFORD IT.

2/25/2012 8:28:00 AM
Jon Powers says:
tannharr :


The "Waterfront District" alrerady got its $700,000.00 a year for ever waterfront project.

The taxpayers shouldn't be spending another $900,000.00+ for their exclusive clientel.

Let's face it the Complex Concept is still all wrong and only has one sheet of ice if it had more than 2 sheets "MayBee".

Too small multi-purpose/convention spaces.

Let's Stop All this "Business Well-Fare System" right now!

History Waterfront $38.5Million mortgage plus $700,000.00 a year and climbing to operate!

Let's stop this silly reckless waste of all our tax money!

Great Story!
See All of You At Wednesday's Meeting!
2/25/2012 9:02:28 AM
tannharr says:
Completely Disagree! We currently spend $600 000 per year on the Gardens, so an additional $300 000 is nothing, especially when this new facility will generate more revenue. This new venue will attract new conventions and events that would otherwise go elsewhere.

I really don't know what you mean by "Business Well-Fare"! The reason why governments invest money like this on major infrastructure, is to generate business and growth.

Let's build this NOW before people like Jon Powers put the idea to pasture.
2/25/2012 8:21:12 PM
stairwayto7 says:
If you build it they will come.
2/25/2012 9:27:13 AM
Delbert Grady says:
Hollywood movies dont mix well with reality.

Thank you, come again.
2/25/2012 1:21:02 PM
SG says:
If the parking issues are anything like the parking issues at the Gardens, you won't find me there!I'm not talking about space, I'm talking about break-in's, muggings and what not. The Gardens is a dangerous place to be, so placing this at the Marina will be exactly the same. Put it at Innova with bus access.

The Gardens will become obsolete not because the building is useless but people will refuse to be in the area or leave their vehicle there.
2/25/2012 9:29:19 AM
anvil of crom says:
Uhhhh , you build a parking lot underneath the structure, geepers......which reminds me of a star trek quote,
"Spock to Kirk : He (Khan)is intelligent, but not experienced. His pattern indicates two-dimensional thinking."
Share this quote
2/25/2012 10:01:37 PM
SG says:
Well geepers aren't you smart.

This is not what they have planned, anvil. It won't make sense if the plan is to further revitalize the waterfront. People will go to the 'underground parking', get in their cars and leave. That's not what the powers that be want. They want you to 'experience' the downtown area ie spend more money. You having the ability to leave that easily is NOT want they want.

Two-dimensional thinking is right.
2/26/2012 9:33:34 AM
jimmyboy says:
The only answer to this entire thought is too put it to bed for the next 10 to 20 years and fix what is already broken here in Thunder Bay with the money we would be throwing at this white elephant.!
2/25/2012 9:50:05 AM
Joey Joe Joe Jr. Shabadoo says:
Whats the name gonna be if it is built near the marina? The M-ARENA?
2/25/2012 12:23:28 PM
jetpowered says:
I'm sorry people...but get with the times...tbay is a growing city that needs to move into the future. Things like an event center are needed. If the bulk of the cost can be obtained through gov't funding we have to build it. People that say they just dont want this are probably the same narrow minded people that didn't want the work done at the marina. Citys need things like this...get your heads out of the 60's and get with the times and help our city move forward! also...if this convention center does go ahead it absolutely needs to be downtown...the spin offs to local business during events would be huge.
2/25/2012 12:58:50 PM
Curious says:
I do believe it will be going in the area of the present Conservatory. If the city wants to sell Chapples golf course, the land has to go back to the Chapples family because of their agreement. So, get rid of the Conservatory,put the new Sports centre there, and sell Municipal to other companies to build Condo's.

By the way, who is footing the bill to repair all of the cracks in the new skating area at the Marina?
2/25/2012 2:40:01 PM
CityHawke says:
Administration and council have been famous for giving the public an impression of performing due diligence in the "study" of potential projects.

A green light has been given a number of times before proper public consultation and ratification by council. This includes the allocation of monies from the reserve fund for two fire stations and hiring of more staff.

In haste the city applied for federal funding before completing a study to decide on a location for the Events Centre. No surprise their application was rejected based on the lack of information including economic impact for the area.

The city cannot afford this type of facility without huge levels of government and private funding. Confirmation of major users would also be needed to help cover operational costs.

Administration and council need to realize the general public cannot be burdened with additional taxes to pay for hugely expensive capital projects.

Lets hope for clarity and no more missing memos.

2/25/2012 3:29:24 PM
CityHawke says:
Administration and council have been famous for giving the public an impression of performing due diligence in the "study" of potential projects.

A green light has been given a number of times before proper public consultation and ratification by council. This includes the allocation of monies from the reserve fund for two fire stations and hiring of more staff.

In haste the city applied for federal funding before completing a study to decide on a location for the Events Centre. No surprise their application was rejected based on the lack of information including economic impact for the area.

The city cannot afford this type of facility without huge levels of government and private funding. Confirmation of major users would also be needed to help cover operational costs.

Administration and council need to realize the general public cannot be burdened with additional taxes to pay for hugely expensive capital projects.

Lets hope for clarity and no more missing memos.

2/25/2012 6:09:25 PM
eastender says:
Why do I need a new arena? If I dont go to a hockey game, Iwont die, if I dont go to a wrestling match, I wont die, if I dont go to some metal concert, I wont die, the sky wont fall. But if my taxes go up, I wont be able to afford groceries, I wont be able to afford heat, or hydro, or pay for medication, I could die. But does
Commisso care? why should he, he probably gets to dine on the biggest boat in the marina, and spend time in the penthouse suite in Florida, no charge. Right now we cant even fill the Gardens, and there was still room in the auditorium for the Pink Floyd Concert I recently attended. The Casinop is taking cash out of the local economy, and giving back only, what, 5 percent? Where are all the busloads of gamblers from Duluth, Minneapolis Winnipeg, and Toronto? This arena will be the biggest white elephant Thunder Bay has ever created and it will be on the books for years to come. I know my next home will not be within the city limits.
2/25/2012 10:19:08 PM
realistic1 says:
Tim....Please.....STOP. We can't afford anymore taxes....PLEASE.
2/25/2012 11:03:36 PM
Sandwiches1123 says:
The Fort William Gardens is a building that has some bad sight lines for hockey games but the facility is not terrible. The roof, which I've heard as one concern, has been rated for another 20 years at least.

The biggest complaint the Gardens has, as a facility, is the lack of parking, especially since the new Courthouse has taken the Paterson Park area along with the King Stereo parking area.

I actually don't mind an arena in the North core. If you think about good city planning, the need to centralize entertainment is evident. I often look to Duluth in this respect, where I think they have done it right. However, my issue with the North core location is parking. This design takes over two parking lots currently full and being used by people working in the area. On top of that, there is not too much public land or easily accessible parking in the area. That shows lack of planning from this administration, but that just seems like par for the course.
2/25/2012 11:34:37 PM
tiredofit says:
So I'll raise the same question again, when this is said and done, whats to become of the Community Auditorium? We will still have to manage that and once it starts loosing even more acts etc.. our costs for managing it will skyrocket!
What about the impact on other venues in town that will now loose a large amount of business? The Dome does a lot of stuff which will be taken over by the so-called multiplex.

Let's look at the entire picture here folks. I asked administration why they couldn't add this as part of the next election, as an addition to the ballot. The answer I got? Well if we did that for everything we'd never get things done. Umm this is a multi million dollar expenditure for use and our children and grandchildren. I"m sure we can hold off and wait till the next election.
2/26/2012 11:12:55 AM
get_the_chip_off_your_shoulder says:
I see alot of comments here such as "what about when the multiplex opens, will the auditorium survive? Will the Golf Dome survive because alot of what they provide will get taken away by a multiplex?" Well first of all this is nothing more than a bunch of pessimism. Thunder Bay is in a transition to totally new industries and major growth as long as gold remains strong and we are booming in medicine and research etc. And with a multiplex you can then attract large venues and bring in tourists with that. Those from out of town that would then be here for concerts and events will often spend more time in the city frequenting the symphony, the golf dome for the kids as well as shop and do other things. So no, in my opinion other facilities will most likely Benefit from our situation in 5+yrs time from now.
2/27/2012 12:12:20 PM
tbayguy009 says:
It honestly seems that the most vocal people here, are those which are trying to pull the wool over the public's eyes by portraying this project as a 'necessary' taxpayer funded 'improvement'. It is NOT for everyone.

Quiet people in their own homes don't concider this to be of any importance to their daily lives WHATSOEVER.

So the people 'needing' this project will use every dirty tactic to get their way. To them, it will be like 'taking candy from a baby'.

After all it is only borrowed taxpayers money. Their pool of money seems to now extend to 'us', not just their own. They think they have that right. They haven't even allowed a democratic vote on this.

Isn't there a spending limit REQUIRING administration to have a plebicite?
2/29/2012 9:54:47 AM
tbayguy009 says:
How about a dose of reality. One aspect of which was the recent government census results. The decine of Thunder Bay was shown by ACTUAL numbers not someone's opinion. Even the Mayor tried to sluff that off with his 'opinion'. Imagine that! A political puppet (cause he works for business) saying that another level of government just got their information all wrong. Well, if he can't believe the census number, why the heck should the public beleive any costs and profit predictions pulled from some hired consulting firm. Does administration believe only the numbers that they pay for?

The pressure is doubly placed on the locals, because this province can't get a grip on it's spending just like this local 'clan' of politicians.

Who in their right mind, forces someone else to pay for their own dreams. Only dishonest politicians, backed up by shady business people. It is not for 'us'. It is being 'pushed' for a select group.
2/29/2012 9:57:17 AM
TBayBuddha says:
Totally in favor of having some sort of multiplex arena... would be nice to finally have some big name bands, sporting events/teams coming into Thunder Bay for entertainment and revenue's purpose... Hopefully this can happen in a way that won't negatively affect the city...

However, if this does happen I believe that the location shown in the picture (current water street bus terminal) would be a Horrible location... Where will people park??? Innova park would be a great place for a venue like this... It's a wonderful central location with Lots of room for parking, and is very easy to find and access via the expressway for those people coming up from the states, etc...
3/1/2012 6:17:36 PM
dank says:
Council should get there head out of the sand. Despite their constant spin on things, this city is in recession. The only jobs the two liberals are able to attract are call centres and big box stores. The back room boys have already decided on an event centre,which we cannot afford, in downtown Port Arthur-don't kid yourself. I live on the south side and the cost of fuel or taxi is very prohibitive as Im sure it is for many others!
3/1/2012 9:38:48 PM
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