Thunder Bay

Make-or-break time for Goal Sports Centre II: manager

The next few weeks will make or break a proposed privately-owned indoor turf sports facility, the manager said.

Proposed turf sports facility developers ask city to speed up rezoning process

The City of Thunder Bay's planning department says it will be several months before the site of the proposed Goal Sports Centre II can be rezoned. (CBC)

The next few weeks will make or break a proposed privately-owned indoor turf sports facility, the manager said.

The proposed facility, which would be built on Golf Links Road, has run into a zoning issue.

"A recreational facility is a permitted use [for the site] as long as it is associated with another main use," said Leslie McEachern, Director of Planning Services.

Further, the recreational facility can't be built first under the current zoning; the Goal Sports Centre II developers have announced plans to also build a hotel at the location, but had intended to build the turf sports facility first.

They have filed for a zoning amendment, but that's not a quick process, McEachern said.

"It will require a circulation of the proposed development to surrounding property owners, and that will be followed-up with a public meeting before our city council," she said.

Council has to approve the decision, and then information is again circulated to surrounding property owners before a building permit is issued.

All-told, McEachern said the process takes several months.

However, Goal Sports Centre II developers had intended to have the facility open in time for the upcoming winter indoor sports season.

"That's why we've asked for the timelines to be shortened," said Goal Sports Centre II manager Carmen Felice.

The zoning amendment is specifically asking for permission to build the centre before the hotel.

"I believe the that the next week or two are going to make it or break it," Felice said. "I believe that if nothing happens in the next couple weeks, or by the end of this month, then I think, for this winter, basically it will be over."

"I'm not going to keep telling people we'll have another delay of three or four weeks."

McEachern said this is the first rezoning request of this nature filed with the city. However, she said, the rezoning process is guided by provincial legislation.

Felice has said he hoped to see the centre open by January. However, that, McEachern said, is "a very aggressive goal."