THUNDER BAY – The proposed Event Centre is the main issue in this year’s municipal election, Oct 27 and it shouldn’t be. Our city has much greater needs.
Maintaining the services we already have, upgrading our infrustructure, providing decent roads to drive on and making our city a safe place to live in once again should be at the top of the list.
There are 2 main reasons the Event Centre has become such a hot election issue.
1. The cost of the proposed hockey rink, convention centre has skyrocketed out of control from $50 million to $114 million dollars. What will the final cost will be? How much more will this cost city taxpayers?
2. The citizens of Thunder Bay have been denied a plebiscite in this year’s municipal election on the Event Centre. Did Mayor Hobbs not promise us a plebiscite four years prior to the last election?
Many non-profit facilities in the city like the Da Vinci Centre, the Italian Cultural Centre and the Knights of Columbus who pay city taxes are very upset and concerned that the city will be subsidizing a Convention Centre that will compete for the services they already provide including banquets, meetings and receptions. The annual subsidy required from city taxpayers to support the Convention Centre component of the Event Centre will be approximately $540,000.
The total operating loss of the Event Centre is expected to be at least $1.2 million annually.
It would appear that Councillor and Mayoralty candidate Ken Boshcoff supports a new facility and the conference centre as he refers to it even though he now seems to be sitting on the fence. Here’s what he said in the May 14th, 2014 issue of Thunder Bay Business: “Thus the need for a new facility should be self-evident. It is what started us down this trail. The “multi” aspect was to include things that we know are missing in business development, conference attraction, and large-scale occasional entertainment.”
There are several candidates running for Mayor who are opposed to building a new Event Centre now. Perhaps Mayoralty candidate Shane Judge says it best when he states we should be building neighbourhoods not an Event Centre.
This election is very important in what direction our city takes and it is the hope of the Concerned Taxpayers of Thunder Bay that all voters take the time to learn about the candidates and their platforms.
Raymond A. Smith
Chairman- Concerned Taxpayers of Thunder Bay