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Program and services review recommends closing numerous city facilities

Golf courses, Port Arthur Stadium, beaches, and the conservatory are all recommended for closure or sale in Phase 2 of the city’s Program and Services Review.
Thunder Bay City Hall

THUNDER BAY - A review of city programs and services is recommending numerous closures of city services, from childcare to golf courses.

Thunder Bay city council will receive the results of phase two of the final report on city services and programs on Monday.

The report, prepared by Grant Thorton, includes 45 recommendations in four areas, including cost reduction, process efficiency, alternative delivery model, and further review.

“At the time of this report creation, there was an outbreak of COVID-19, global pandemic that continues to affect all communities in Canada,” the report reads. “The City of Thunder Bay is no exception. The pandemic has led to numerous changes to municipal functions, business operations and people’s personal lives through social distancing, working from home and unemployment due to business closures.”

“The impacts of COVID-19 will be felt in the short term but also in the long term as Canadians adjust to a new norm. These impacts have corresponding effects on the recommendations in this report.”

Some of the cost reduction recommendations include the city discontinuing involvement in the Private Childcare Program, reducing the number of outdoor rinks by eight, repurposing the Baggage Arts Building into an art hub, and expanding the purpose of the Pagoda building.

Larger facilities on the chopping block include selling the Port Arthur Stadium for a net cost saving of $113,047, Jumbo Gardens Community Centre to save $30,182, and ending the lease with Vale Community Centre for a net cost saving of $43,782.

Other recommendations include closing or repurposing Boulevard Lake Beach, closing under utilized areas of Chippewa Park, reducing hours of operation of the Muskeg Express, and reduce service delivery in under utilized areas of the Canada Games Complex.

The report also recommends closing the Conservatory for an estimated savings of approximately $230,000 and one time saving from investment into the structure of $2.1 to $3 million.

It is recommended that both municipal golf courses be closed for a savings of approximately $100,000.

The report will be presented to city council on Monday. The closures included in the report can only move forward if city council votes to implement the recommendations.

Doug Diaczuk

About the Author: Doug Diaczuk

Doug Diaczuk is a reporter and award-winning author from Thunder Bay. He has a master’s degree in English from Lakehead University
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