THUNDER BAY – Thunder Bay City Council by an 8-5 vote moved the proposed event centre a step forward at a special session of Council last night.
Councillor Aldo Ruberto offered an passionate voice to Council expressing that the importance of building a city with a good quality of life is key to building our communities future.
Councillors Shelby Ch’ng, Frank Pullia, Rebecca Johnson, Lydna Rydholm and Larry Hebert voted no on the motion last night.
Mayor Hobbs, Councillors Aldo Ruberto, Joe Virdiramo, Brian McKinnon, Iain Angus, Andrew Foulds, and Paul Pugh voted to move forward with the Event Centre.
Several Councillors commented during the lengthy Thursday night session on how the City has not done a good job of communicating the information to Thunder Bay residents.
At last night’s meeting, one common rumour was confronted head on. Councillors were told that the Delta Hotel at the waterfront has no secret deals that involve the building of the event centre as a contingency for the hotel to be built.
Gary Green, Thunder Bay LIVE and True North addressed questions surrounding the status of the AHL team, “If the TBECC goes ahead, Truth North intends on being in Thunder Bay for the 2017 season. We are in negotiations for a seven year deal in Thunder Bay, if the facility is funded and agreements are in place,” stated Green.
During his very impassioned speech, Councillor Ruberto said that during Thursday’s meeting many of the facts came out, and those facts need to be shared with residents.
City Administration, construction officials and input from residents were all provided to Councillors in working toward their decision last night.
Rod Bosch was one of the residents who presented information to Council. Bosch explained to Council that there have been curling events from Olympic Trials, right up to the Briar that Thunder Bay could host if there were a facility that met the needs of organizers and sponsors.
Bosch explained that the economic impact of those events range from $2 million to up to $12 million per event.
Thunder Bay Manager of Tourism Paul Pepe explained that there are many conventions that have expressed interest in coming to the city, but that we do not have the facilities needed.
The Event Centre in order to be built remains contingent on receiving funding from senior levels of government.