The Downtown Plaza will have to come back to council at least one more time, giving councillors a final chance to decide on the future of the $8.4 million dollar project.
According to Tessa Vecchio, the communications manager for the City of Sault Ste. Marie the two ways this could go are:
- Should the NOHFC funding be secured and the tender comes in on budget – A report would come back to Council recommending awarding the tender.
- Should the NOHFC funding not be secured, or the bid comes in over the approved budget – A report would come back to Council with a recommendation as to how to proceed with the project.
Multiple councillors and Mayor Christian Provenzano acknowledged the community concern about the cost if the NOHFC didn’t grant the $2 million the city has planned on.
Out of 1984 votes in an unofficial poll on our website which you can see to the right, approximately 74% are against the project.
Three of the major features of the new facility are duplicated within a 5-minute drive by city services.
If you want participate in outdoor skating, you can attend Clergue Park, almost directly across the street from the proposed Plaza which will be off Spring Street.
A $550,000 splash pad which is less than two-years old, has rave-reviews at Bellevue Park.
The approximately $16 million (when adjusted for inflation) Bondar Pavillion, constructed in the late 80’s stands ready to provide an outdoor concert space and other services according to Vecchio.
“The Roberta Bondar Park and Tent Pavilion is an outdoor venue that can accommodate a variety of special events including concerts, festivals, fundraising activities, ceremonies and wedding receptions,” said Vecchio. “The Tent Pavilion facility is booked on a part-day or full-day basis by individuals and not-for-profit and commercial groups. In 2019 (pre-COVID), the Pavilion hosted 96 events with over 60,000 individuals participating.”
She also cautioned SaultOnline if we were to compare the Downtown Plaza with the Bondar Pavilion.
“If you are looking to compare the Downtown Plaza with the Bondar Pavilion, they are definitely two separate projects with separate objectives albeit both community focused for engagement and events.”
The Canal District has seen millions of dollars of both private and public investment including funds from the above mentioned NOHFC. It includes a place to skate outdoors and a concert area and an event centre.
Soo Blaster, GFL Memorial Gardens and Kiwanis Community Theatre Centre are all capable of hosting concerts, albeit not outdoors.
So, whether the community believes this is a good project, a bad project or just doesn’t care, the $8.4 million dollar plaza duplicates services already provided by multiple other facilities in the community.
Stay with SaultOnline as we bring you more information on this and other files at city hall.
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