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City invites feedback on multi-use turf facility

Residents have until July 19 to weigh in on the proposed design concept for the facility.

THUNDER BAY – The City of Thunder Bay is seeking public comment on the design concept for the proposed multi-use indoor turf facility. Residents have until July 19 to weigh in on the controversial project, which would be located at Chapples Park.

The facility, which is not yet approved, is expected to cost nearly $30 million – though the city hopes other levels of government will kick in much of that figure. Some city councillors have previously expressed hesitance over that price tag.

The facility would provide a venue for sports including soccer, ultimate frisbee, cricket, football, lacrosse, and baseball training, Stantec says.

Residents can view a virtual presentation from Stantec and provide comment through the city’s website. The online form contains no guiding questions, simply one box in which to write feedback.

The city says Stantec originally planned to hold a public town hall on the proposed design, but turned to the online mechanism due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Design details provided by the company indicate the facility will include a full size indoor turf field (310 by 190 feet, with a minimum clear height of 40 feet), separation curtains, a two-lane walking track, eight change rooms, second-floor seating for up to 800, food and drink amenities, and more.

Stantec will present the results of the feedback along with the proposed concept to city council on July 20.

If approved, the company's tentative timeline shows the project could go to tender in early fall of this year, with a contract awarded by late fall. It estimates the facility could be open to the public by 2022.