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Indoor turf facility moves forward

By CJ Goater May 28, 2024 | 2:19 AM

Thunder Bay City Council - Acadia Broadcasting File

Thunder Bay is getting an indoor turf facility.

Council has approved a recommendation from administration to proceed with a request for a proposal (RFP) for an indoor turf facility compliant with the energy efficiency components of the City of Thunder Bay (CTB) Building Design Standards. This will allow contractors to place bids for the opportunity to complete the project.

The recommendation came with a cost of $37.2 million for the building and a total bill of $42.7 million including site works.

This ultimately comes in below the $44,575,000 financing strategy and $38,033,400 budget for the facility (excluding site development/ancillary work, and discretionary work) approved at the November 27, 2023 city council meeting.

“This facility isn’t for me, this facility is about upstream investment for my kids and maybe my grandkids,” explained Councillor Andrew Foulds. “This is not getting any cheaper, we’re just making it more and more expensive, and if we want to be a community that makes investments in its citizens, I think this is it.”

The public was given opportunities to provide feedback on the potential facility through open houses and a survey. The survey received 991 respondents on the city’s ‘Get Involved’ website. Responses to the survey showed general support for the facility.

A majority of respondents or 73 per cent supported the proposed location approving of it proposed central location and access to public transit.

Fifty-nine per cent of respondents support the proposed building design, citing the facility’s practicality, capacity to meet community needs, and cost-effectiveness.

When it came to financing 61 per cent of respondents supported a one-time increase to the municipal tax levy of 0.52% or a property tax increase of approximately $26 for the median single detached residential home to support the debt cost of construction.

Ultimately only 20 per cent of respondents were consistently against all aspects of the project.

According to the city’s survey, the dream of a turf facility has been under serious consideration since 2016. Its approval and pending construction will enhance and expand sports recreation in the winter inside the city in ways that were not previously possible.