Public, Businesses ignored – Bus Terminal on the move

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Photo of the possibly soon-to-be former bus terminal on Dennis Street. (Dan Gray/SaultOnline.com)

“I have considered all of the arguments we’ve received, pushing back on the staff recommendation, but I don’t find many of them substantive,” – Mayor Provenzano.

Six Councillors agreed in the end with Provenzano after a conversation lasting over an hour. The discussion, full of double-talk, extra motions, criticism of staff, and a complete disregard for what the majority of citizens wanted, ended with a decision to move the terminal.

The extended debate included two motions, one to have a proper EA done on a new downtown bus terminal, and a second to build a bus terminal, were defeated before the main motion was read.

Councillors Matt Shoemaker and Matt Scott headed the first motion. In essence, they wanted a proper assessment done for a downtown location. During the following discussion it was apparent that the Mayor believed everyone wanted a downtown location based on his comment made to Councillor Hillsinger.

“My understanding is everybody’s of the (opinion, the) one place where we are aligned, I think Councillor Hillsinger, is everybody wants to keep this in the downtown. Right?”

Multiple heads at that point could be seen agreeing with that sentiment.

Staff had provided reasons as to why the ACR station wasn’t being looked at more closely in their report, but Shoemaker didn’t think it had been done properly.

“I believe that there needs to be a more thorough investigation of certainly the ACR station. And I’m not convinced that that was as thorough as it needs to be,” said Shoemaker. “If in doing that research, they find something more fitting, then I’m happy to hear from them in that regard.”

At that point, Provenzano chose to defend city staff in light of this accusation by Shoemaker and make his opinion heard.

“I couldn’t support your motion in spending more money on the investigation of this because it’s my opinion, based on the multiple reports that we’ve read on this and received on this, that staff has been thorough, and staff has had a thorough investigation. But there are limited places we could put this in the downtown core,” said Provenzano. “Do we need any more information before we vote on Councillor Shoemaker’s motion?”

Before anyone could jump in, Shoemaker responded by averring that the EA process was not started properly and it appeared that this decision had already been decided.

“The typical EA process starts with asking for a solution to a problem. This did not start that way. And Mr. McDonald confirmed that at the last meeting or two meetings ago when he was here. Usually it starts with what’s the problem? Okay, our transit building is out of date and we need a new option. That wasn’t the case here,” noted Shoemaker. “It started with an alternative that was already decided.”

When his motion was defeated, Councillor Rick Niro’s motion was next. Backed by Councillor Bruni, he had made a motion to build a new terminal downtown.

During the discussion, Councillor Lisa Vezeau-Allen backed moving the terminal away from the downtown by quoting a report which said it should stay downtown.

“I just want to bring up the 2018 Roger Brooks presentation that went through our downtown, and and Roger Brooks did say that it’s important to keep the terminal within the downtown core because it’s where people stop and start.”

In her opinion, with the current location, the only place people stop and start at is Station Mall. She said moving the terminal to Huron Street might actually be beneficial to the downtown.

“While the terminal does access the Station Mall, we certainly have many, many, many more places in our downtown that are not within walking distance to the terminal that people need access to,” said Vezeau-Allen. “I think this might even make it easier for people to get to places like the library and Clergue Park.”

Councillor Niro’s motion stated that moving the terminal is the equivalent to turning their (Council’s) backs on the downtown businesses.

“Over the last few years, we’ve spent significant time staff time and money, significant dollars to convince people and businesses to move downtown, to stay downtown, to spend money on their buildings. We had matching grant projects, very significant, now it is our turn to do something downtown.” said Niro.

“I have a hard time just turning our back and walking away. I think that you know, if we expected people to stay downtown because we want to revitalize we need to show them that we really mean it and we’ll do our part to stay downtown, as well,” Rick Niro

Just before the decision on Niro’s motion was made, Provenzano gave his expansive personal opinion on the motion. In part he said:

“I have considered all of the arguments we’ve received pushing back on the staff recommendation, but I don’t find many of them substantive and the reality is this, the proposed location is in our downtown. And it is important that we support all of our downtown,” said Provenzano.  “But from my perspective, I think it is much more advisable to spend $2 million on an older building and improve that building that is at the gateway of our city, a building that people see when they come into our city.”

After Provenzano’s five minute explanation of his stance, Niro’s motion was defeated 7-4. The original motion to move the terminal to 111 Huron Street was approved, also 7-4.

For Moving – Gardi, Vezeau-Allen, Hillsinger, Hollingsworth, Christian, Dufour and the Mayor.

Against – Niro, Bruni, Scott and Shoemaker.

Do you think this council completely disregards public opinion? Cast your vote in our community opinion poll below.

Do you feel that city council is repeatedly disregarding public opinion since the last election?

Stay with SaultOnline as we continue to follow this issue and others which come out of council discussions.

46 COMMENTS

  1. This entire council & Mayor Punkin’ Head are hiding behind ‘revoked’ emergency measures, allowing only supportive thoughts & opinions to be heard.. creating the illusion of public support via ‘zoom’ & social media.

    They have completely lost touch with what’s happening at street level, displaying absolutely no concern for actual public opinions while they continue to act with a complete disregard for transparency & oversight.

    IMHO they have blatantly misappropriated municipal, provincial & federal funds and have been quietly compromised by global ‘not for profit’ organizations & international interests that do not even remotely reflect the current concerns or interests of our local constituency.

    This is not just about a bus terminal.. ‘this’ is about a total disregard for democracy.

    Each & every one of them need to be individually audited & imediately removed from office.. by force, if necessary. Before the next election & before they can implement fraudulent ‘mail-in’ & electronic balloting.. or we may never be rid of their tyrannical contempt for democracy itself, just sayin’.

    Strange daze indeed..
    .

  2. The Gardens remains a venerable place as we have seen with it used as an injection location. Can’t help but feel bad for future elderly ( majority pop.) whom can exit a bus and just walk across the street for this service now. Are council really disregarding the populace majority? Asking for a Senior.

  3. I think a new terminal downtown makes more sense, as the mall, quiet or not, and the rink, hockey, musical acts, Remembrance Day, etc etc etc, are all a stones throw away. Maybe some on council are thinking the the people using drugs, meth clinics etc, is bad enough to warrant the moving of the terminal. The Mayor might be wise to seriously and aggressively address the blatant drug problem in our fair city. Drugs and buses, “oh what a tangled web we weave”. Ron…..

  4. I would have to disagree with the heading of this article, and playing the devils advocate here I do believe they heard the businesses and citizens loud and clear and then analyzed the data and made the best financial and operational decision based on what was in front of them… there’s this fixation for the “main terminal” to be right in the middle of downtown” but there are multiple stops in the same strip. It never made sense to me there was a stop literally 100 feet from the terminal, so I just don’t see the huge issue here. The bus that comes through my neighbourhood literally you see 1 or 2 people riding on a daily basis so it’s a lot of tax dollars to provide this service in the first place. What is their operational deficit/profit per year? MINUS the government subsidies to maintain bus services? Probably cheaper to provide cab devices to everyone in need of a ride

    • I think you need to consider the purpose of the terminal. It’s not just a location to get on or off the bus, but also to transfer between lines. With the current location lines from the east, west and north all converge and provide access to downtown from anywhere in the city. With the new location, buses from the west end will now go there without accessing downtown. Anybody wanting to go downtown from the west end will then have two choices: walk from Hudson Street; or wait for an eastbound or northbound bus to transfer to. Yes the stops are there downtown, but for 1/3 of town it became more complicated to get to them.

  5. What did you expect from Mayor and council and City Hall staff?
    Do you think they would have gotten away with these shennigans if Frank Manzo was on council?That is what wrong with council no common sense .We have these bleeding heart liberals at City Hall and on council who have lost touch with the people.We have people who their only means of getting around is the Transit system.The Terminal is and was there for a reason Convience close to everything .The People spoke and all of you ignored there cries to leave the Terminal where it is ,What developer is after this property ?What developer is after the Point Des Chene RV campground ?
    We know that the Real Estate Market here is hot and money is being made.I question the Integrity of this council? This Taxpayer is concerned about whatis going on .

    • Smaller vehicles, running more frequently, with expanded routes that are intuitive and logical, along with more transfer points.
      Continuing with, and spending more millions (in a broke city) on an antiquated, illogical, user-unfriendly and somewhat counterintuitive system makes little sense.

  6. There should be an in depth investigation by an outside firm into this and a few other recent matters where the mayor took liberties that he shouldn’t have. Send the bill to the mayor.

  7. Why???? Wasting tax payers money. Location makes no sense. Businesses, hospitals, schools and the stores are all on the hill. The stores down Queen St. are on borrowed time. Station Mall has more closed stores than ever. Moving the terminal to Huron is not a practical decision. Not a safe area of town either. Another example of a terrible decision was changing the Northern Avenue flow. Two lanes..two bike lanes…two sidewalks and a turning lane. I live on this street it does not warrant 2 bike lanes…there aren’t enough people using them. Mind you the cyclists use the sidewalks like their own personal roadway. There is absolutely not enough foot traffic to warrant 2 sidewalks. It sure will be interesting to see how the winter goes. Having only 2 lanes and a turning lane does not help people reduce their speed nor has it reduced traffic. What were you thinking. Maybe more thought should of been put into it. Take into consideration how often our cities emergency vehicles use this road. The traffic has not decreased. These vehicles have to make it through these changes done to this road on a daily basis….numerous times a day. Getting out of my driveway was not easy before but has become more of a challenge. I am not going to mention how many times city workers came out to paint the lines on the road…tax payers really paid a big dollar there. I was wondering if our city planners put any thought into the fact the city has shifted to the top of the hill.

  8. Pumpkin head will fit right in with the corruption of the federal Liberals. Pretty sad when he’ll go down as a worse mayor than Amaroso .

  9. Bring Fratessi backi. Now.
    Go and get him in Florida if necessary.
    Call an external audit regarding the purchase of the vacant land of the burdell and kick the mayor and all complicit councillors to the middle of the street.

  10. Remember the mayor will not be running in the next election probably because he will jump onto the provincial Liberal Party to run against Romano. So remember this at election time, because he will not listen to you in that job either.

  11. He wants people to see the terminal when they come into the city? Those people don’t use the city bus if they are driving their own vehicles? WTH 🤦‍♀️

  12. The city council and mayor needs that detox center fast!! They need to be weaned from the drugs they are taking… The location is inconvenient for most people. The bus schedule needs a major overhaul. In my case, I live 8 kms away from work. If I catch the 1st morning bus, I would arrive at work 1 1/2 hrs late every time. I have to walk to work to be on time. Talk about inconvenience!! Seriously…. 8 kms away and takes 1 1/2 hours to get to work. Used to take 30 minutes with the earlier buses but not anymore. If I had to get to the new terminal location at that time of the morning, I would not feel safe. It’s apparent that no one from city council nor the mayor rides the buses… maybe they should be forced to for a whole month from going to work, council meetings, doctor appointments, grocery shopping etc to see what a disastrous system they have implemented!!

  13. I personally think the ACR building in the station mall parking lot is a perfect spot and help out the station mall it self
    With the covid and stores being forced to close and some business’s forced to close forever we need to encourage the mall to come back again with new business’s to open and reopen our economy is really bad and need to help it get back on its feet again even with tourism and people coming and wanting to get to points of interest

    • Someone like to waste money .. Waste money on Bay Street , waste money on new city logo , waste money on buying property worth 60k for 350k .. Van you say kick back .. waste money here waste money there.. Mr. P ..Its not your money to waste but you seem to have no problem writing cheques.. You can take 100k and clean up and fix the current bus terminal but no you want to waste over a million to build a new one .. So tell me who is get the contract for this one another buddy who needs money and how much of a kick back are you getting for this one .. Corrupt and greedy that’s what I call you .. And you are not working for the people cuz you DON’T LISTEN … We put you in and we pay your wage … And I think it’s time for you to go … You are corrupt…

  14. I don’t understand our city council. It is my understanding that we live in a democratic society. That means the majority rules. I for one will be contacting our council to express my displeasure.
    I also seem to recall a few years ago a big push to combine the EDC and the Sault Ste Marie Innovation Center because they wanted to eliminate duplication of services. That didn’t happen because of the cost involved. Now they want to add a third one. Nothing this council does makes sense.

  15. Too bad the Gong show is no longer around because they would have an endless line of city hall dimwits ready to perform their lack of intelligent thinking.

    On one hand they want to have a new social area downtown, maybe a much needed innovation centre, hahaha and more people shopping. What a joke !!!

    Provenzano is a useless fool who continues to show no leadership qualities. He has killed tourism and what new businesses want to locate in this ludicrous town of continuous poor decisions?
    Next much needed election remember who voted against moving the bus terminal, Nero, Bruni, Scott and Shoemaker.
    The rest and the so called circus clown mayor should all be given the boot.

    This has to be one of the worst decisions made in quite a while.

  16. What….you were surprised with the ivory tower decision…since when have these idiots ever listen to “the people” look at the money spent on Bay St…our “beautiful logo”…the mill market or whatever they’re calling it they want to build downtown…the “Studio 10 fiasco” ( has anyone seen the “shack” in Echo Bay that the former owner of Studio 10 has built…take a ride out sometime and have a look…just over the bridge and to the left…YOUR WELCOME ANDRE…some of my tax dollars help build it).
    Come election time…we have to start fresh…vote EVERYONE OF THOSE IDIOTS OUT.
    Shoemaker should be on top of the list to go…boy was he a BIG DISAPPOINTMENT..then work our way down with Christian.
    The Sault’s going down hill so fast.
    Just my opinion.

  17. Our Station Mall at both ends, old Sears & Walmart should both be affordable living for seniors & handy cap people that have limited mobility with this said that can then enjoy their life more as they will be able to take their wakers & wheel chairs out & enjoy the water, boats & our locks & sit on the benches near the river.
    Then all the stores in the middle of the mall would be full as the seniors would support them as well as many other people as they enjoy our water front. They would also be able to meat with friends & family during the winter months for coffee & diner in the mall as well as get their exercise walking in the mall & entertainment enjoying the shows at our Cineplex Theatre. This would be a much better life for these people & help our small businesses. Someone needs to think about this & step it up. If the next mayor & councillor is willing to do this they will have my vote.

    • It’s already happening…. but probably no stores.

      Just check out the movement of stores out of the LCBO end. Sportchek probably moving back to Cambrian Mall. Le CHateau gone. It seems McDonalds is gone. Cineplex is gone soon.

      The Mall is empty and no longer has the critical mass of stores to be a destination.

  18. The problem with council is the blind faith they have in staff. Not everything staff comes up with is correct or requires a rubber stamp. Maybe we need to elect councilors educated enough to call out some of the stupid ideas that come from staff.

  19. One question. Why would you or any city not want to have a buss terminal in the down town area so that those that do not have cars can take the buss to the businesses & the water front in our down town. Bringing customers to businesses & theatres & water front areas & malls in any town is a no brainer. My guess is that want to change our down town & water front to condos on the water so that only the people with money can enjoy the area. (Watch & see)

  20. The mayor is leaving & cares very little if any about our city, that was our mistake when we voted him in. The staff at city hall makes way to much money & cares only about themselves & the other family member they hire. We need to vote in a mayor that has worded in the real world & knows what it means to watch every nickel & dime. As this kind of a person would help build our city & care for the people that live here. We need fare taxes & rent for people who live & work in the real word. Our taxes need to go back into our city & not into the pockets of the over paid politicians & city workers that make over $100,000 every year & could car less bought us & our seniors & our children. Think about it people we have the power to change this.

  21. Not surprising and totally typical of this spineless council. You can bet that some palms got greased to push this through. How much longer until the election? They all need to go.

  22. we did vote them in………now we can vote them out……..but the terminalis just like any other stop on the route,people will be able to get off at numerous stops along the way, what businesses are concerned with is now the amount of people getting off at terminal will no longer be there. Just think of our property taxes going up because this band of spoiled spenders are going wild throwing millions around………..:putting perfume on a pig”

  23. Since Counsel is no longer interested in doing what is good for the citizens and the ones who pay their calories by the way, they should all be fired.

  24. “While the terminal does access the Station Mall, we certainly have many, many, many more places in our downtown that are not within walking distance to the terminal that people need access to,” said Vezeau-Allen. “I think this might even make it easier for people to get to places like the library and Clergue Park.”

    So you vote to move it 5 blocks further away lol ya because that’s the definition of closer… a piss poor decision if you ask me.

  25. Well my sister for one will now lose her independence of walking to the mall from the bus terminal. She is mentally challenged and uses a walker to get around,albeit slowly. She would take the bus and walk to the mall from there. A perfect distance for her to do something on her own.
    Thank you to the six counsellors and Mayor Provenzano for their poor decision. In my opinion

    • This type of democracy aligns itself exactly with what we have in the Liberal Federal Govt.
      Have people vote to make them feel good about having a say, yet ignore their feedback.
      There is no room for this style of politics whether it be at a municipal, provincial, or federal level.
      Time for these left wing idiots to go.
      We need people in place that will actually listen to their constituents. Period. We pay their salaries.

    • This is an argument that I don’t understand.

      You can get off the bus ANYWHERE. The bus will take her right to the mall, or if she wants to walk a bit, she can use a stop further away.

      The location of the terminal is completely irrelevant.

      • It is not irrelevant and clearly a comment from someone who doesn’t ride the bus. Try taking a bus from somewhere then waiting for the other bus to show up and leave and then finally get to your stop. Could take anywhere from 30 mins to an hour or you could just get off at the terminal and walk to your destination. Every other city has 10 min buses. SSM though has half hour to hour busses.

        Also what about greyhound nights. Think they are going to take a hit with no terminal to walk to? Think 50 people are all going to want to stand at a stop, then transfer to a terminal. Its inconvenient. Watch revenues drop in half. Then the city will shake their head and wonder why.

  26. I’m beginning to understand why people don’t bother to vote. Why bother when nothing you say makes any difference. City Council (especially the mayor) have chosen time and time again to ignore the majority of citizens of this City. This is not a free and democratic system in SSM, we are being dictated by a minority of people who just do what they want, when they want. Hence the city pizza logo which had been decided before we knew about it and then it was shoved down our throats.

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