City Council’s Multi-plex Decision Will Mark Our City

Finger Trap

Finger TrapTHUNDER BAY – Right now City Council is thinking about where a proposed Multiplex should be located. The news comes as another event was just cancelled – a professional wrestling card. Part of the reason is cited as a lack of advance ticket sales. For some reason, here in Thunder Bay as we keep seeing, people buy tickets at the last moment.

Ever see a finger trap? That is a child’s toy where one inserts a finger in each end. Then to get out, one has to do the opposite of pulling to get one’s fingers out.

Right now City Council is faced with a metaphor of a finger trap. If they do what they usually would consider as right, our city and district will be trapped in the past.

The real issue of a multiplex seems to be, for many to replace the aging Fort William Gardens. The reality is that in building for the future, the idea of replacing what we have with something newer is not what we should be doing. Thunder Bay will lose out if that is all that we do. We need to step up and invest in our own future here.

The Fort William Gardens and the Community Auditorium are both too small to bring in some of the bigger and newer shows and acts that a growing and emerging community needs.

It has been suggested that some in our community simply do not believe that the big names will actually stop here in the city. During last year’s wrestling show, there were naysayers figuring that the biggest names wouldn’t show up. They all did, and likely the organizers of the show still didn’t make a profit.

Part of the issue is the quality of venues for anything really big. What should be fully explored as a part of building a new multi-use facility is making sure that facility will be large enough to bring in shows, acts and events that also seem to completely miss our city. Take professional wrestling as an example. In Duluth, the World Wrestling Entertainment makes regular stops in that city, but doesn’t bother to make the trip north to Thunder Bay.

There are some really good shows that never would consider stopping in our community because there isn’t a venue that allows those shows to make enough money to make it worthwhile setting up. Combine that with what seems to be an attitude in our community that “They will never come here… so I won’t buy tickets…” and we are missing out.

So it terms of a multiplex, first we have to admit it is time.

Second we are going to have to bite the bullet and build one big enough to bring in some of the bigger shows that we are now missing.

Finally, and this is a big one, those who are constantly wondering why big shows are skipping Thunder Bay are going to have to start changing their ways, and start buying tickets ahead of time.

Over the past several years promoters have shared that the real issue for them in terms of Thunder Bay is that they simply have learned not to take big risks. Our community, which should be a great place to showcase talent has evolved into a place where the big shows simply drive through.

We are all losing because of this, and it is something that should be addressed in the discussions of a new multiplex.

City Council should be building for the future. If they don’t, and all that happens is the Fort William Gardens is replaced with a similar sized venue, the results of that short-sighted vision will be seen in a declining community.

Lets hope that our Councillors are wise enough to make the correct and futuristic decision.

Push don’t pull should be the message for Council.

James Murray

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