BREAKING – Council Approves Downtown Plaza with $8.4 million price tag

Concept drawing of ice rink at proposed Civic Plaza ( City Agenda )

After a lengthy debate, including a few councillors who suggested the cost was at the “upper limit of where they were comfortable”, council approved the project unanimously.

This is the last time the Downtown Plaza Project will come before council unless the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation doesn’t approve the $2 million contribution the city is counting on to help fund the project.

Councillors asked many questions including why they didn’t have an option for a smaller park that would have fit under the original budget.

Mayor Christian Provenzano address those concerns while being supportive of the overall project.

“I do think that there’s certain elements of the project, that if we’re not going to do them, when we can’t afford to do them, we shouldn’t move forward with it. So I do think there’s a scope where Councillor Shoemaker points out that we are at a limit now. As far as an appetite to spend, we also have to make sure [what] we’re doing with the money we’re spending is being spent, not worthwhile away,” said Provenzano.

“I think that the project that’s before you is the project that we need to do. I think it’s important that we do a project,” he noted.

Councillor Matt Shoemaker and a few others were concerned about the cost as well as a few other aspects.

“I think this is stretching the limits of where we are prepared to go in terms of cost, I think  any higher and I would struggle to support it even at this cost, I would say I’m struggling to support it. I do understand the need, and the purpose for a Downtown Plaza,” said Shoemaker.

“At at some point, we’re gonna have to draw the line on costs and we’re at that point. While I’m hesitate to support it at this point, if any of the proposed funding doesn’t come through, I don’t think I will hesitate not to support it,” he continued.

Sault Ste. Marie is home to a NOHFC office, if you are in support or against this decision and want your voice to be heard, you could reach out to them at [email protected]

Stay with SaultOnline as we bring you more information about this developing story.


  1. Amazing. I get that grants are ear marked for certain projects, but this is incredibly tone deaf to be going forward with this project at this time. There is so many other important issues that need to be addressed first before spending tax payers money on something that won’t even generate that many jobs or profit. Is the local government listening at all?!

  2. Unbelievable!! Fixing up an area that is not utilized any more. It like putting a 10K dimond in a old flattened out piece of tin and calling it a piece if jewelry. Down town is dead, to many addicts, buildings are old and low income rentals and homes that nobody real cares about. Down town is done, it’s old it’s had its time, start putting some thought into industry and bringing money into our community. A healthy community has employment and opportunities. Shutting down facilities that make money to providing a beautiful place for Crack heads and hookers to hang out isn’t the answer! Clean our city up first, programs to help these people, more law enforcement to control first. Idiots we have for city council. Well not all, but majority!

  3. People, this kind of stuff didn’t start with our current council, it was even worse when Fratezi was running the train.. This is just a continuation of an age old problem, not only here, but in a lot of other centers as well.. Yes, the final cost will be at least a 3rd higher, and yes, after the first year or so it will just be a hangout for bums and panhandlers and Crackheads because the average citizen will be afraid to go down there.. It will require regular foot patrols by our police, and when was the last time you saw one of them walking anywhere ?? Just another “pat myself on the back” decision by our leaders…

  4. A viewer opinion poll shows that nearly 4 to 1 are against this park at this time, but all of council does not listen to the people. This is their pet project and they will do anything to get it done. They had no 250,000 to fix the campground at Point De Chene but found a few million to build this thing that will only be used for a few months, then die down. Take that 8.8 million and build a treatment center and forget about your pet projects. Do what is right for the citizens of the city.

  5. Wow, and they are raising our property taxes to over 4%, due to the times. Jan you are correct, it isn’t even safe for me to walk to my corner store anymore. I have young people walking up my driveway checking inside vehicle and if you confront them they just walk slowly away because you cant do anything to them as you would be the one getting charged. Who is going to go around this plaza picking up needles, or even the James street plaza they are creating. This city needs a rehab center not a plaza!!!!

  6. This will come back to bite this already cash strapped city as the costs overrun even more. If that kind of money was to be spent, there were many more crucial places for it to go.
    When is this mayor leaving? The city cannot take any more of these reckless decisions.

  7. How long before the next election so we can boot out this entire so-called council.?? If you want to be a councillor and do the best for your constituents then you have to be able to step up and make decisions that can adversely affect your voters. This council is not considering fiscal responsibility in their decisions. They are following like sheep and not voting their conscience.

  8. This is a sound decision. If our City is serious about revitalizing our downtown and waterfront we have to be ready to put the money into projects such as this Plaza. There are many local businesses that believe in our downtown district and have already been investing. I am glad our Municipal Government is doing the same. This plaza will be enjoyed by locals and visitors alike.

    • Using this plaza asa revitalization step is putting the cart before the horse.
      Revitalizing must begin at he root cause, which this city has neglected to do just about every time. Why do you think pretty well all the revitalization attempts to date have failed?
      Downtown has been dead and rotting and that has only gotten worse over the decades. When banks pull out of a downtown area that speaks volumes.
      High vagrancy, crime, drugs, prostitution, vandalism, stunt driving, litter & garbage, greedy landlords, crumbling infrastructure, poor parking plans, ridiculous traffic flow…..
      The entire city is dying but the downtown core is rotting.

      • Thank you, Howard Hughes for summing it up so well. This City notoriously puts the cart before the horse and then wonders why the core problems still exist.

    • Visitors??? What visitors? Tourism has been dead for quite some time in the Sault.

      Sound decision Cliffy? I think not.
      Revitalization? Funny choice of word to describe another council clown car fiasco.

  9. So 300k was too much for a camp ground that generated revenue, but a couple million which is def gonna turn into a few more million is chump change for a plaza that’s gonna become as useless as our big white tent on the water….this council is a joke…..2 million could have retro fit a decent addictions facility from a retired school or hospital…so frustrating to have elected ppl not representing the ppl every level of government…..we need a revolution badly!!!

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