Thunder Bay residents question events centre consultants
Final public information meeting jam-packed with details about multi-million dollar complex
Thunder Bay's proposed arena and convention centre was at the centre of a public forum Wednesday night, when several hundred people showed up to hear a consulting team's review on where the multiplex should go and how it might operate.
The consultants' hour-long presentation included site designs, cost breakdowns and plans for parking. It also gave an overview of the economic spinoffs the multiplex could bring.
"I thought it was great," said Thunder Bay resident Trent Thompson.
"I think they've given us a lot of information to think about and it sounds positive, they've done a lot of research."
The consultants favour building in the downtown north core.
After the presentation, they took audience questions for more than two hours, answering queries about a variety of concerns ranging from site selection and parking to the project’s projected $106 million price tag.
The lead consultant said the meeting was a positive one.
"It doesn't matter whether you are for downtown waterfront or Innova," Conrad Boychuk, senior director of recreation and venue development with CEI Architecture.
"You need to come away from the meeting more informed, and I think everybody did that."
Thunder Bay resident Jason McKee was one of those people.
"I'm excited about the possibility of a new event centre and I wanted to see what these people were saying first hand, so I know what information to make my decisions on," he said.
City council will vote on Monday whether to accept the recommendations. It will also decide whether to give administration the go-ahead to start taking further steps, such as developing a schematic design and a business plan.
- This was the final public information session on the phase 2 feasibility study report.
- The presentation showed site designs and cost breakdowns for both the north core site and Innova Park, even though the consultants are recommending the north core site.
- Discussed at length the pros and cons of each site and how issues such as construction and parking would have to be handled at each location.
- The consultants estimate the multiplex could bring in $6.1 million annually to area businesses.
- The estimated cost to build the planned designs at either location is slightly more than $106 million.
- Several residents used the question and answer portion of the meeting to voice their support for either the downtown north core or the Innova Park site.
- Some also wanted to see the city hold a plebiscite on the issue.