THUNDER BAY – Thunder Bay City Council held debate last night on moving forward with a new indoor turf facility. The debate raged at times with several councillors, Peng You and Rebecca Johnson along with Brian Hamilton questioning the affordability of the project.
A presentation to council by the tennis association to include indoor and outdoor tennis courts led to an amendment to the motion before Council last night that resulted in a vote to include indoor and outdoor tennis courts in the feasibility study for the project tentatively planned for Chapples Park.
There were nine councillors including Mayor Bill Mauro in attendance for the debate. Councillors Ruberto, Bentz, Fraser, and Guirtuga were not present for the debate. Giurtuga had been in attendance earlier in the evening but left the meeting.
Last night’s decision will be ratified at the next Council meeting scheduled for July 22, 2019.
There seems to be discussion toward this indoor turf facility as it is more critical than road construction and maintenance. The Mayor stated that ‘People don’t move to a city because of the roads”. Northwood Councillor Ch’ng stated, “I’m not the councillor for smooth roads.”
Councillor Johnson expressed that she is very uncomfortable spending the $4.2 million for the feasibility study which is a first step toward the $38-million dollar indoor turf facility.
Johnson’s concerns were echoed by Councillor Peng You who also said there is not enough information at this point to be making such an important decision.
Mayor Mauro has advocated for the facility since the election saying that this was needed years ago.