THUNDER BAY – Mayor Hobbs has a growing list of priorities for Thunder Bay City Council. One has remained the Event Centre in addition to a revitalized downtown Fort William and continued work on infrastructure.
A motion put forth by Mayor Keith Hobbs for the Monday, Sept. 28, Committee of the Whole meeting is asking Council to support moving ahead with Lakehead University as the main tenant in the proposed Thunder Bay Event & Convention Centre (TBECC) project.
The resolution directs Administration to negotiate directly with the University and that the Intergovernmental Affairs Committee, continue to seek opportunities for funding at the Federal and Provincial levels of government.
A letter received from the Federal Minister of Infrastructure, Communities and Intergovernmental Affairs over the summer indicates that the proposed TBECC would qualify for funding with the University as the main tenant.
“The Minister’s letter outlines the conditions under which his Ministry, and the Government, would support funding the TBECC: namely if the major tenant was an amateur sports organization rather than a professional one – we have that in LU,” said Mayor Hobbs.
“TBECC offers significant incremental economic benefits for our City and the entire region of Northwestern Ontario, both through the jobs to be created in its construction and in its on-going operations,” added Hobbs.
“City Council has confirmed that the TBECC is a priority amongst our major infrastructure projects and we have invested significantly towards its realization including the recent approved Phase 2 and Phase 3 feasibility studies,” states Hobbs. “I do not want to see that investment lost and I feel strongly that it is time to continue to pursue options that might lead to development of the TBECC.”
Given the current Letter of Understanding with Thunder Bay LIVE! consortium group is expiring, the motion also directs Administration to report back with recommendations (including the related procurement process) for moving forward with major facility development elements including, but not limited to:
- Final Architectural Design
- Project Management, including Owners Agent and Contract Administration
- Facility Operations and Programming
“This is very positive news,” said Dr. Brian Stevenson, President – Lakehead University. “The TBECC venue would provide an exceptional place to welcome the community to a variety of University events, including Thunderwolves Varisty games. Lakehead University is very pleased to be considered the lead tenant at a new event centre. We believe the City should move forward with this initiative and we’re glad to be a part of it.”