Ontario balks at Windsor Cultural Centre

A plan to convert an amoury in Windsor into a downtown cultural centre met with more disappointment after a provincial legislator said Ontario has no money earmarked to pay for the venue.

A plan to convert a Windsor amoury into a cultural centre has met with more disappointment after a provincial official said Ontario has no money earmarked to pay for the venue.

CBC News has learned that the provincial government has no plans to help fund the $30-million project proposed for the location at the exit of the Detroit-Windsor tunnel. 

The proposal, which was unveiled Monday, would see the site converted into a 1,150-seat concert hall with a glass atrium connecting it to the Palace Theatre. It would include a four-screen multiplex theatre and an outdoor-indoor performance stage.

Organizers had hoped the cost of the centre would be split between the three levels of government.

The city already said it has no money, and without provincial support it would leave the funding totally up to the federal government. But Essex MPJeff Watson said that would be a very tough sell.

The plan's backers say the armouries location would serve as a Windsor landmark for the millions who drive through the tunnel each year.

And City Councillor Percy Hatfield, chair of the city's armouries re-use committee, said the plan is best idea for the site, but doubted whether it is financially viable.

"I don't believe the taxpayers of Windsor want to pay the $30 million or $40 million to make this happen," he said. "So the money for this has to come from the federal government, the provincial government and private donors and sponsors. We just don't have the money as a city council to pay for it."