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Proposed Event Centre Update


December 2, 2011 –  While the City of Thunder Bay has learned its proposed Event Centre is no longer being considered in the current round of P3 Canada funding, completion of the approved Phase 2 Feasibility Study will proceed so that the project is "shovel-ready" for future funding opportunities.

"While we are disappointed, the community supports this project and we need to complete the necessary feasibility work to get it right,"  said Mayor Keith Hobbs.  

City Manager Tim Commisso said he understands demand for the current round of P3 Canada funding increased six-fold with 120 applications up from 20 last year and that about 80 of those were from municipalities.   "Given the national scope of the competition, this is a not an unexpected result,” he said, adding that all levels of government are working on longer term infrastructure plans.  “We need to keep working to get the project shovel-ready for the time when funding does become available.”

With support from FedNor, the City will be hiring 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