City robs Peter to pay…. Peter on plaza

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From report to Council dated September 27, 2021

The money shell game at city hall is in full effect again, this time with the Downtown Plaza project being the target of all the extra taxpayer dollars.

From report to Council dated September 27, 2021

You see, the Economic Development Corporation, an arms length organization which receives funding from Sault Ste. Marie, has decided to donate $250,000 to the plaza. The EDC is a taxpayer funded arm of city hall where last year taxpayers were on the hook for over $1.2 million of the EDC’s budget. This year, that number is over $700,000, of which now we are “donating” $250,000 to the plaza project.

Next, we have Tourism Sault Ste. Marie, with a donation of $250,000. Tourism received over $500,000 during this years budget, so over half of it has gone back into a project which isn’t really intended for tourism.

Both the EDC and Tourism Sault Ste. Marie are located inside City Hall at 99 Foster Drive.

From report to Council dated September 27, 2021

So the city will be redirecting $500,000 of taxpayer monies meant to attract businesses and tourists to Sault Ste. Marie to ensure the Downtown project moves ahead despite considerable opposition from the Community. A project which has failed to gain support, even on their own social media page. Less than 10 out of the 136 comments made on the city’s Facebook page announcing the fundraiser for the plaza were in support of the city still going forward.

From report to Council dated September 27, 2021

Victor St. Pierre likes the concept, but thinks timing is off.

“This is an awesome idea but until we do something about the opioid crisis these kind of things won’t work because a high percentage of drug users live or hang around the downtown core and will bother citizens and tourists trying to enjoy the facility,” he commented on the city’s page.

“Our downtown at one time was bustling and prosperous. But unless people have been living in seclusion, take a stroll any evening. Junkies on every corner, ally ways great for doing drug deals,” said Darlene Mew, another poster on the city’s page. “Park sometime and just watch the demographics that patrol the streets any time but especially after 7pm. But I’m sure the park will be utilized to full capacity by our City Councilors and extended families. It may be an educational experience for those who live in Oz.”

From report to Council dated September 27, 2021

Without the $500,000 “donated” to the city by city funded organizations, the target of $600,000 fundraising would most likely would not have met its goal.

With Councillor Hollingsworth’s family business, Soo Mill, donating $50,000 there have been public calls questioning whether she should even be allowed to vote Monday as it may be a conflict of interest.

Add to this, Council intends to spend money from future councils in order to get this project done. They are using $500,000 from the 2022 and 2023 Future Community Growth Initiative line in the budget. They will then spend $472,000 from the same line of the budget in 2024, a full 2+ years past their current mandate.

Most likely the final vote will be held Monday, which you will be able to watch it live on SaultOnline/ONNtv and our Facebook Page. If it passes, the only way it could come back one more time is if the results of the RFP ends up way higher than the projected budget.

Stay with SaultOnline/ONNtv as we continue to cover more aspects of this multi-million dollar legacy project.

35 COMMENTS

  1. This news site has gotten so negative over the past couple of years. This plaza will be a welcome addition to the downtown and I look forward to going to events there with my family.

    Half the issues all of you commenting aren’t even in the scope of the municipality.. Please, educate yourselves on Provincial / Federal and Municipal matters, and the private sector while you’re at it. Screaming bill c75 at everything does nothing. :facepalm:

  2. I thought the extra funds needed after the government request was denied were to come from private business sources not taxpayers. A sad story for the Soo.
    PS how is that city hall recladding job going! Still not finished 3 years later.

  3. This is another example of City Staff driving the agenda – not the elected officials. Like with the new bus terminal, city staff appear to be directing what happens in our city – regardless if it serves the needs of the residents of our city or not. Elected officials are afraid to lose the cooperation of City Staff so there is very little opposition to the ideas put forward. There are so many problems our city faces that need to be addressed but are ignored once an idea gains traction. Our once proud downtown core is a shell of its former self, riddled with drug deals, drug users, theft and vandalism. Who is going to want to bring their family to this unsafe area with all the crime? With so much money taken from the future initiative funds, to be used to complete this project, the city is hanging their hat on this project as what? Is this going to revitalize our downtown core and bring future opportunities to our community? I think not.

  4. I always got a kick out of the signs as you come in from 17 east..Downtown Attractions.. You can only have a limited amount of tourism attrations that are over 30 years old. People are tired of them. This plaza idea needs to be shoved back up someones sunshine and find better ways to spend this kind of money on some type of NEW attractions that might lure tourists back to the city. But the mayor and council memebers need to start making smarter choices of how to spend taxpayer’s dollars. The roads are down right dangerous, City sidewalks are not safe anymore due to the junkies crawling around begging for money. You cant even feel safe in your own home or aptartment building because junkies are taking over everything. When you call the police it sometimes takes hours for them to show up to deal with the problems. I know the police have quite a bit on their plates with all the shinanagans going on around this city. Landlords are getting fed up because there’s only so much they can do once they have a tennant cemented into a rental. This city need’s some changes at the top !..Mayor needs to go if he does not want to start fixing the problems in this city. Liberal MP with their billC75 catch n release needs to go too. The Liberals C75 bill is what is causing a majority of the problems in our city. Catch a guy with a weapon and hes out of the cuffs before the police even have their peperwork done. Next thing you know we have an officer shot, a 19 year old kid dead, The whole incident didn’t need to happen !!!! Get it together !!!!!!!!!!!

  5. Well I know who is going to supply the material for it, also I’m very disappointed in the rotary club I have supported the club for all the great things they do for our community but to donate 200000 dollars for the plaza was disappointing so many families and children need help at this time in our city I’ll be thinking what to do when they want support for there fund razing again along with friends who also were. disappointed

  6. You can’t steel someone’s idea. Then use the city building dept, to harass and delay the construction, not follow through. I mean they definitely want
    To reach the finish line first. Just a Thaught!

      • I have NO idea WHY they have not bucked this so called mayor,(IN NAME ONLY)
        Take up petitions or whatever it takes.There is power in numbers folks Protest !!
        There are more who does not want it than does ,save yourselves alot of heartaches & money.
        And yes he should be fired YESTERDAY!!!

  7. As I previously stated, it doesn’t matter what the majority of citizens want….it’s what city council and the downtown merchants want. Does anyone really believe this will attract money spending citizens to the downtown area? Give your heads a shake! Until people are made to feel safe, the vast majority of Saultites will not convene at any plaza downtown, especially with their children. People who don’t go now, will not go then. Don’t need to be a rocket scientist to figure that out.

  8. Well, it looks like another model of; “Little Italy” which was in the :City Fauludi Renewal plan” will follow ..in this new plaza.. What a shame. I am not against renewal, making our Community prosper but in what conditions? The name of this new plaza should be ” Drugville, Plaza”.. The Centre of it all!!
    I personally think the money should be spent on removal of boarded up, condemned housing
    and make the slumlords responsible for either taking better care or taking it down.A sure way is a deadline, if not fines ..
    And our City Council can only do so much .. don’t blame them totally however this idea was not well thought out .. Could the reason be everyone has a blind eye?
    The planners obviously never took a walkabout during the day but more so after 7.

  9. Shouldn’t money that is “tax payer” money be put to something that the tax payers vote on? Not just what they want. Our city is a wreck, far more important places to put that money. Priorities , we have alot of issues we are facing as a city drugs and crime to say the least and none of those issues are being addressed.

  10. Wrong headline. Not the city . We are the city ! Provenzano and council are robbing the city to cement his legacy with a statue . Hopefully that statue will be pigeoned at will …

  11. It is time someone starts a petition that can be presented to the council which contains the names of all those denouncing the building of this so-called plaza. The property in question can be turned into much-needed parking and will save taxpayers a bundle. Most ideas pertaining to this venture can be carried out at Clergue park and the Bondar Pavillion….no need for duplication.

    • It is already a parking lot. Where is a skating rink going to go at the RB Pavilion even though Clergue already has the oval? This would be a great place for bands to play during Canada Day and such while keeping Queen Street from being closed off.

  12. The city needs:
    More police to combat the drugs, guns and violent crimes, the out of control reckless driving going on.
    A drug treatment and rehab center 10 times the size of the one planned.
    Millions upon millions to fix the long neglected war zone roads.
    Why is an unnecessary plaza anywhere on the priority list?
    The mayor has gone rogue and should step down, if he doesn’t he should be fired.
    The people have lost all faith in this out of control mayor that doesn’t listen to a thing those elected him have to say.
    He is obsessed with getting his name on a plaque in front of the unwanted downtown plaza, where junkies will gather and scare everyone else off.
    It couldn’t get much more pitiful.

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