December 13, 2011 – City Manager Tim Commisso has been advised that the Convention/Trade Centre component of the proposed Thunder Bay Event Centre may still be eligible for P3 Canada funding from the Federal Government.
“P3 Canada recently made a policy change to exclude sports and recreational infrastructure such as arenas, but a Trade or Convention Centre is still eligible for funding based on my follow-up discussion with P3 Canada officials,” Commisso said. The City of Thunder Bay has learned that an application can be made for round four of proposals next spring.
To be eligible for round four, the City of Thunder Bay must prepare a business plan that demonstrates projected revenues from the Convention/Trade Centre will support the facility’s ongoing operations.
“We’ve also learned that P3 Canada has reduced the minimum capital project expenditure threshold to $20 million, which may help in the long run,” Commisso added.
Mayor Keith Hobbs said this is good news for the City of Thunder Bay.
“It means we may receive financial support from P3 Canada after all,” said Mayor Hobbs. “It’s important that we present a business plan in time for the next round of proposals. I felt we had a strong proposal in our request for $20 million. Several other cities with sport and recreation infrastructure were also turned down for P3 funding, including Calgary.”
The City of Thunder Bay has engaged the external consulting consortium of CEI Architects, Price Waterhouse Coopers and True Grit Consulting to complete the Phase 2 Feasibility Study for the proposed Event Centre. The funding is in place for the study, which must be completed by the end of March 2012 in accordance with the terms of the FedNor funding. The consortium will be led by architect Conrad Boychuk of CEI Architects, originally from Thunder Bay, and now one of Canada’s preeminent designers of Event Centre facilities.
The proposed Event Centre would be designed to succeed the Fort William Gardens as the City’s main sport, entertainment and indoor event venue for the long term and to be a major economic development catalyst.
The Phase 2 Feasibility Study will include the following major activities by March 2012:
- Final site selection including detailed engineering analysis for each site
- Proposed facility design and concepts for each site
- Confirmation of the capital financing and business model
- Completion of economic impact analysis
- Detailed parking and traffic analysis for each site
- Two series of public open houses and reports as required to City Council
The Event Centre is proposed in the City’s Renew Thunder Bay Plan as a high priority, major legacy project over the next five years. The City’s share of funding for the project (estimated at $25 million) is to be provided from the Renew Thunder Bay Reserve Fund.
In spring 2011, the City conducted a preliminary review of facility design and site options, which included extensive public consultation. In June, City Council approved that the Phase 2 Feasibility Study include a comprehensive site evaluation for three sites: Downtown Waterfront District, Innova Business Park and Thunder Bay International Airport.
The public will be advised of the consultation opportunities in the new year through advertisements and notices on the City’s website at www.thunderbay.ca/eventcentre.
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Contact: Tim Commisso, City Manager, 625-2224