About 100 people turned out to a public meeting Tuesday night to voice their concerns about the proposed event centre in Thunder Bay — but speakers often had trouble making their points.
Hecklers tried to drown out voices like those of Steve Robinson, an event centre supporter who doesn’t think the city needs to have a plebiscite on the issue.
"I don't think it's necessary. I think the majority of people in Thunder Bay—” Robinson began, before someone in the crowd interjected, “How do you know unless you have a plebiscite?”
To which Robinson replied, “[The] same reason you're saying [the city] needs it right now."
Even city manager Tim Commisso was heckled by a few members of the crowd.
He was being asked to specify how much the city would pay for the proposed centre.
"My view of that is—” he said, suddenly interrupted by yelling, then someone shouting, “Let him talk!”
Commisso continued, “Can I just speak to the question please?”
“Define significant,” another person shouted.
To which he retorted, “I will, OK?"
But when Thunder Bay resident Andrew Bryan — who has some concerns about the event centre — addressed the crowd, the room was quiet.
"I can tell you [about] those consultant numbers,” he said.
“I've seen them for other places before. They don't bear true. It doesn't happen. They're selling you a bill of goods, and it's not going to pan out."
Tannis Smith addressed the crowd, saying she hopes more young people will come out and speak their mind at the next event.
"The younger generation … feel pretty disengaged in politics and things like that. Well, I am a young person, and I'm speaking for myself."
The Concerned Taxpayers group, which hosted the open house, said its next event will be a rally on Monday night, in front of city hall.
The group representing supporters of the proposed event centre also has its own public meeting planned. The Citizens for a Waterfront Event Centre will host an open house on Tuesday, April 15 at Rooster's Bistro on St. Paul Street.