Letters: Why is City Council Not Hearing the Concerned Citizens in Thunder Bay

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Thunder Bay – LETTERS / OPINION – On December 17, 2020 a memorandum from Lauren Paradis, Manager of Budgets and Long Term Planning was sent to Mayor and Council with results pertaining to the Pre-Budget Community Engagement Survey. Apparent in the survey are citizen objections to building an Indoor Turf/Sports Facility. The citizen appeal to Mayor and Council to stop this major infrastructure project during the pandemic dominated three of the five questions presented in the survey.

The #1 comment on question five of the citizen survey reads: “Stop or Postpone the Soccerplex Sports Facility ( not for everyone, a ‘want’, not a ‘need’, don’t compete with the private sector). The #1 comment on question four of the survey that asked: “ Are there any programs or services that you would be comfortable with temporarily reducing or modifying in order to help cover estimated Covid-19 financial impacts?” was, “Delaying the build of the ‘Soccerplex Sports Facility.” Citizens also commented clearly “No Soccerplex Sports Facility” in question two that asked what citizens rated as important.

The continued efforts of the community to have Mayor and Council reconsider their decision to move forward with building this major infrastructure project without the majority of citizen consent is appalling.

Administration has also recommended to council to postpone this build, and a motion from Councillor Bentz asking to defer the project for many of the same reasons as reported in the survey, was recently defeated.

Ayn Rand wrote, “You can ignore reality, but you can’t ignore the consequences of ignoring reality.”

I fear that the road in front of the Thunder Bay taxpayer is heading towards unmanageable financial consequences for many families.

City administration states that the procurement process for the Indoor Turf/Sports Facility includes “owners rights” that allow not to proceed with an award without penalty. I ask that council listen to its citizens and use this clause to not accept any tender to move forward with the building of the Indoor Turf/Sports Facility at this time.

Lori Paras


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