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.