City staff in Thunder Bay is recommending council proceed to the design and construction phase of the proposed event centre.
The city released a report laying out a financial plan for the $114.7-million facility on Wednesday afternoon. It will be reviewed and discussed by council during two meetings next week.
Thunder Bay Mayor Keith Hobbs says he wants to give the new federal government time to find its feet — but he's hopeful that funding will eventually be delivered. (Jeff Walters/CBC)
Mayor Keith Hobbs campaigned on making the event centre a reality as part of his mandate and said he's excited to see it reach this new phase.
"At the end of the day, I would like to see this move forward as not our legacy project, but a legacy project for our children and grandchildren," Hobbs said.
The recommendation to move ahead with the project is conditional on the city receiving federal and provincial funding, which hasn't been confirmed yet.
Here are 7 things the city wants residents to know about the event centre:
1. Why is this report coming out now?
The city was hoping to have a final response about funding from the provincial and federal governments by March 31, but now isn't expecting to hear until April. Administrators say they're proceeding with the planning process because they "have an obligation to keep the community apprised of the status of the project, as well as an obligation to our private partner consortium."
2. What will the event centre look like?
The "contemporary multipurpose city-owned facility" is designed to have 5730 fixed seats and 66,000 square feet of combined convention, trade and exhibition space.
3. What is the projected economic impact?
The report said more than 1,000 "person years of employment" will be created during the building of the event centre and the operation of the facility will add up to 270 "new person years of employment annually". It also predicts increased tax revenue from " 32,000 new visitor days from convention/conference delegates alone."
4. What is the updated cost estimate?
The total capital cost estimate for the project is $114.7 million, comparable with the $114.1 million estimate in September 2014.
5. Where will the money come from?
The city envisions a 60/40 split with the city paying 40 per cent of the total capital financing and the federal and provincial governments paying a combined 60 per cent of the $114.7 million. It has asked the province for $36 million and the federal government for $23 million from the Build Canada - Gas Tax Fund.
6. What is the status of funding from other levels of government?
The city "remains hopeful of confirmation in April 2015."
7. What is the impact on property tax payers?
The impact on the city's net tax levy is expected to be 1 per cent which would amount to about $34 for a property with an assessed value of $200,000. It will be phased in over a minimum of three years beginning in 2017.