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City moving to "arms-length" relationship with Community Auditorium

City council votes unanimously to transition to arms-length model, with continued financial support from municipality.
Thunder Bay community auditorium three

THUNDER BAY – The city-owned Thunder Bay Community Auditorium will operate as an "arms-length" organization beginning in 2023, though details of what that change will mean in practice remained unclear Monday.

City council approved the transition to the new operating model Monday evening after a discussion held earlier that day in closed session. The change will take effect on Jan. 1, 2023.

There was no public discussion before councillors unanimously endorsed the decision at Monday's virtual meeting.

Coun. Cody Fraser, one of two council representatives on the auditorium's 11-member board, said the city had committed to continue funding the facility. 

The municipal government currently supports the performing arts centre with about $741,000 a year through its Community, Youth & Cultural Fund.

The facility will transition to "more independent operations" under the new model, Fraser said, but maintained it had always been overseen that way.

The Thunder Bay Community Auditorium "is and has always been an independent entity governed by its own board," he said in a text message, though the city owns the 1,500-seat performing arts centre, which it built in 1985.

The city had confirmed in October it was conducting a review of its relationship with the facility, but remained tight-lipped on the details.

At the time, the city was reportedly considering three options: operating it under a local board, as a section within a city department, or under an arms-length model, which was recommended.

Ian Kaufman

About the Author: Ian Kaufman

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