Will Mayor Provenzano support Downtown Plaza, McMeeken discussion may give insight

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

City Council will decide whether to send the proposed Downtown Plaza out for bid tonight.

Currently, the project has already rose by 24% from $6.6 million to $8.4 million.

There have been multiple motions put forward by Sault Ste. Marie council that although split seem to be decided in the direction in which Mayor Provenzano votes.

During the December 7, 2020 council meeting, it was decided to go forward with asking for bids on the McMeeken Centre replacement, currently approved for $28.8 million. Mayor Provenzano said during that meeting he was hesitant but approved it with a condition.

“I will not support the project. If the tender comes back significantly higher than the price we approved today. It was very, it was said during the presentation to Council, that we have a modest budget. I do not believe that is the case. This is not a modest budget,” said Provenzano during the council discussion.

He then warned he would change his decision if the tender came back much higher than the $28.8 million.

“We’re spending a significant amount of money on a facility. And I frankly think we should be able to build the double pad for this amount of money., So while I will support it today, and while I will encourage it moving forward, I will not support it if the tender comes back to any degree that I consider significantly higher than the announcement authorized today.”

Now council is faced with a decision to approve a project that has already gone up 24% in cost and it hasn’t even gone out for tender, which is where the McMeeken project currently is.

So although this project got unanimous support in September when it was brought before council with the original price tag, what will happen Monday is unknown.

So where is the limit to “significantly higher”, if the Mayor supports this, then a pricetag of over $35 million should be acceptable for a McMeeken replacement, right?

Stay with SaultOnline as we bring you more information in regard to how city council decides to use taxpayer money.


  1. I think everything should be put on hold and stop the yearly tax increases. Give the taxpayer time to recover, we have bee beaten to death with covid. Enough is enough. Stop the foolish spending.
    Fix what we have before thinking about building something new, we really don’t need.

  2. Between Provenzano and Romano i am not sure that we have any representation in this city. The mayor should be pushing to have covid restrictions either removed or at least loosened for an area where covid risk is very low. The small businesses in this city have suffered enough. The last thing small business wants to hear about is a downtown plaza. How will this help them restore their businesses that have been closed , not due to covid but rather due to the government’s inability to bolster a fragile health care system and government policies that are centred around the big centres like the GTA . We can’t be last on the vaccine line because we have very low covid numbers yet be shut down as if our numbers are through the roof.

    • What about Terry Sheehan? The way Trudeau has engineered our swiss cheese borders and provided so many exceptions to foreign travelers that don’t need to isolate Canada has become a covid cesspool.
      With no responsible representation from Sheehan and Provenzano calling for more refugees and internationals our numbers won’t be low for long.
      With a tiny airport and only one highway SSM should naturally have seen zero cases, yet….

      • you are right . I did not mention him as i forgot that he even represented this area. Total lack of representation at all levels of government regardless of political affiliation.

  3. If the mayor had any sense at all he would bury this downtown project fast & deep. Sault Ste. Marie has many other priorities including help for the drug addicts, the starving, the homeless, the local crime that is getting out of hand, not to mention the crumbling infrastructure and the poor, long neglected, shot, roller coaster, pothole ridden roads. The poor old city that will never be the same as it once was due to horrible management.

  4. My opinion will not weight on the decision, but I have a vote at election time.

    I know it’ll only be one vote, my vote, but you win or lose an election for one vote, not for a million, just one vote.

  5. If potential bidders know that the mayor will not support a much higher bid, they will ensure that their numbers come in at some acceptable amount – but that will not affect the ACTUAL cost down the road. In the end it will be much more expensive than originally projected. The cost of the city hall renovations is a perfect example.

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