THUNDER BAY -- Depending on who you ask, the city’s plan to purchase property for parking in the north core is either “disgusting” move or a sign of “progress.”
The city has been making offers to landowners in the Tupper and Camelot Streets area between Court and Cumberland Streets to buy or enter lease agreements for land that could provide up to 300 parking spots.
Concerned Taxpayers of Thunder Bay chair Ray Smith said the plan is outrageous given that the proposed event centre isn't even approved yet. Smith said there have been cost overruns on the feasibility study and added that this recent development supports the group's familiar claim that most people think the project is in the wrong location or not needed.
"We find it alarming, disgusting and a real slap in the face for the people of Thunder Bay," he said. "This is unaffordable right now and not needed."
But Citizens for a Waterfront Event Centre member John Susin said the city's plan has been known for months and is a matter of due diligence regardless of whether or not the event centre goes ahead.
"It's called progress. We knew about it. We got excited about it because there are a lot of derelict properties there that could come down," he said.
He said that people have complained about the lack of parking downtown, but are now complaining that the city is looking for options.
"You're not going to keep everybody happy," he said.