City councillors in Thunder Bay voted Monday night to have the fire department take over the city's emergency services training centre — however details about why the city will operate the facility are sparse.

The president of the group that ran the non-profit Thunder Bay Region Protective and Emergency Services Training Centre said he says he was surprised to hear it would be taken over by the city as of Jan. 1.

Larry Price said he wants to meet with city administration to explain the centre has a new contract and could break even.

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Larry Price, president of the Thunder Bay Region Protective and Emergency Services Training Centre, says he was taken by surprise when council voted to take over the centre. (Jeff Walters/CBC)

"My concern was the lack of communication with administration," he said.

"All of the sudden this was sprung on us, and how do you deal with something like that?"

Price won't get that chance, however.

In a closed session, councillors voted for the fire department to take over the buildings the group owns. The building sits on city land.

'We have obligations'

A $570,000 loan from the city to the centre four years ago is at the heart of the matter.

"We have an agreement with the board in terms of how… it's to … be run," said Greg Alexander, the city's manager of community and emergency services.

"And, there's special provisions in there … we have obligations and they have obligations. Some of those have not worked out."

Alexander said he can't get into the details of those obligations. Once the city takes over the facility, the loan will be forgiven.

Price said council has forgotten how important the centre is to the economy.

"As far as I'm concerned, there's no doubt that we would not have landed the police-fire games without the fire site," he said.

There are external contracts at the training centre and Price said he is unsure how the city will be able to honour them.