MPP Bill Mauro – No Program in Place to Fund Event Centre

Thunder Bay Atikokan MPP Bill Mauro says there is no program in place currently to allow the province to help fund the proposed Thunder Bay Event Centre

Proposed Thunder Bay Event Centre or Convention Centre as proposed by BBB Architects
Proposed Thunder Bay Event Centre or Convention Centre as proposed by BBB Architects

THUNDER BAY – UPDATED – At last night’s Thunder Bay Atikokan Candidate’s Debate, Liberal MPP Bill Mauro informed the audience that at this time there is no provincial program currently in place that that would be available to fund the project.

The Ontario Government along with the Federal Government has provided funding for the Phase 3 Study, on the proposed Event Centre.

That funding has been suggested as offering support for the project.

Thunder Bay City Manager Tim Commisso states, “The City through the Intergovernmental Affairs Committee has presented the project to various  Provincial Ministers a number of times at OGRA and AMO    We have received nothing but support to continue developing the project to the point it is ‘project ready’ including making a formal application for funding be it as part of a joint Building Canada submission or separately to the Province”.

“In my view and in keeping with the direction of Council, we need to complete Phase 3 Study and submit the best funding application possible including a business case and economic impact analysis showing how both the Province and Feds will recover their investment,” adds Commisso.

On Monday, Thunder Bay City Council will receive a full update on Phase 3 of the Thunder Bay Event & Convention Centre this Monday (June 9) together with a request to budget $1 million in new items required to have the project shovel-or project-ready for funding applications to the Federal and Provincial Governments in September.

The new items include:

  • Design fees and costs related to relocation of the Camelot Hydro Substation from the proposed site ($395,000);
  • Hiring a highly qualified owner’s representative (Icon Venue Group) to protect the City’s and other public investments by anticipating potential problems, reducing risk and maximizing cost savings for the City ($223,900)
  • Legal fees to negotiate draft definitive agreements identified in the Letter of Intent with Thunder Bay LIVE! ($173,000)
  • Other related costs including Environmental assessments, geotechnical study and survey of the proposed site, and additional traffic and parking study ($239,100)

In a media statement the City reports, “These new items must be undertaken to establish a maximum price for the proposed Event and Convention Centre by July 31. This will allow preparation of the funding applications for submission by September 30, 2014. All of the above items are recommended to be funded through available funds set aside in the Renew Thunder Bay Fund”.

“The reality is that in order to proceed to a ‘project ready’ stage and, in so doing, maximize the opportunity to secure significant Federal and Provincial funding, a significant upfront financial commitment is required towards the various feasibility stages,” said Michael Smith, General Manager – Facilities, Fleet and Transit Services.

Thunder Bay Atikokan MPP Bill Mauro says there is no program in place currently to allow the province to help fund the proposed Thunder Bay Event Centre
Thunder Bay Atikokan MPP Bill Mauro says there is no program in place currently to allow the province to help fund the proposed Thunder Bay Event Centre

Monday’s update will include the following key items

  • Lauren Hilderlely, Research Manager, Ipsos Reid Public Affairs, will present the preliminary results of the statistically valid survey. The random telephone survey of 1,000 citizens aged 18+ was conducted May 8 to 22 with a random representative sample of 1000 adult (aged 18+) residents of the City of Thunder Bay. The sample size of 1,000 respondents will achieve results considered accurate to within +/- 3 percentage points 19 times out of 20;
  • Architect Chris O’Reilly of the Thunder Bay LIVE! Consortium architect Chris O’Reilly of BBB Architects will present the schematic design of the proposed facility
  • Conrad Boychuk of CEI Architecture will present the Future Use Assessment for Fort William Gardens which Council will receive for consideration on July 21