Mayor casts deciding vote on over $230,000 pre-spend

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The council meeting held last night was rife with seeming contention well before it was called to order.  One particular item on the agenda was potentially set to generate lengthy discussion for many reasons.  The $230K ask for the Plaza that has yet to be approved formally, as well as accepted in the forum of public opinion was prominent and glaring.

“Really, no matter what form the plaza project proceeds in, the work that’s being contemplated here is primarily turning this into a public space.”

That was the tone set by Deputy CAO Tom Vair, at the mayor’s request, before the conversation around the $230,000 pre-construction spend could even be started last night.

According to Vair, the city had already factored in the work with PUC and had tentatively scheduled it to start at the beginning of September, in anticipation of the project going forward.

“Obviously, we had a setback. And we hope to come back to Council on the 27th,” said Vair, outlining the timeline for full approval of the project. The setback he is referring to is the $2.5 million dollar hole in the budget for the project, due to failure to secure funding in this amount through NOHFC.

Five councillors, Bruni, Shoemaker, Nero, Scott and Christian voted to delay the $230,000 spend for two weeks to the 27th, when the full report and approval is due back to council.  Vair confirmed it wouldn’t put the overall project behind, if that motion was approved.

The other five councillors, Hilsinger, Gardi, Vezeau-Allen, Dufour and Hollingsworth voted to move forward with the pre-spend.

With the vote split 5-5, the head of council, Mayor Christian Provenzano, voted in favour of spending the over $230,000 despite lacking a concrete final decision on the project.

There are many unanswered questions about this build, including whether or not the land is polluted, how parking will be structured and where the rest of the money will come from.

Stay with us as we continue to provide you with information regarding what some in the community are referring to as a “legacy project”.


20 COMMENTS

  1. The Sault deserves better! Now on MacLeans annual list of most dangerous places to live! Super high taxes and terrible road conditions, so much potential. We need a progressive mayor, not this hack. People need to start rising up and complaining or nothing will change. Vote
    Them Out!! Let someone who knows how to run a city take over.

  2. It’s been Mayor Provenzano’s practice to vote ONLY when a Recorded Vote has been called over the past 7 years. Just watch all of the votes from Monday night’s Council meeting, or any other meeting for that matter, and you won’t see the Mayor vote on any of them unless they are Recorded Votes…

    Except for the vote on the $230,000 downtown plaza electrical upgrade deferral.

    That vote was NOT a Recorded Vote, yet uncharacteristically the Mayor CHOSE to vote causing the Resolution to Pass (6-5) rather than Fail (5-5). I guess our Mayor really wanted that one to pass.

    Hmmmm…

    If you’re looking for someone to blame for the spending of that $230,000 dollars it’s Mayor Provenzano and Mayor Provenzano alone.

    And please tell me why Senior City Staff had already scheduled a $230,000 dollar electrical upgrade for a project with a multi-million dollar funding shortfall whose Project Scope has STILL not yet been approved by our representatives?

    Listen up Senior City Staff: When you want to schedule a quarter of a million dollar expenditure of our hard earned tax dollars make sure you have approval from our elected representatives BEFORE you schedule the project and spend our money.

    I’m pretty sure that’s the way it’s supposed to work, but maybe not for Mayor Provenzano’s pet projects?

    You know, the projects he wants to get finished before he leaves the Mayor’s Chair.

    I mean Mayor Provenzano has got to get something else finished besides the $9 million dollar recladding of City Hall, the donation-funded splash pad at Bellevue Park, and the massively expensive shift to the new City Logo before he leaves office

    The $10 million dollar downtown plaza is his last chance.

    That’s why Mayor Provenzano uncharacteristically CHOSE to cast the deciding vote to go ahead with the $230,000 electrical upgrade to the non-existent, underfunded $10 million dollar downtown plaza. He can’t afford the time to have the PUC reschedule the electrical work. His time as Mayor is coming to a quick close, and he’s got to get this thing finished.

    But who knows, maybe that plaza will revitalize Queen Street by becoming a community hub which our entire community flocks to daily filling Queen Street with people from Pim to Huron like it was back in the good ole 70s?

    Or maybe the taxpayer’s multi-million funding shortfall will be picked up by some generous donor?

    Or maybe the new downtown plaza will be some massively under-utilized waste of $10 Million taxpayer dollars?

    Time will tell.

    I hope this downtown plaza works out well for all of us, including Mayor Provenzano, because there’s no looking back now.

    That 6-5 vote was the canary in the coal mine.

  3. We already have the downtown plaza which can easily be accessed via the future bus terminal.
    It’s the vacant lot which Studio 10 (The Dime) sat on.

    Haven’t we had enough from the clowns at city hall?

  4. This rogue mayor needs to be shown the door, he is making a lot of bad decisions and completely ignoring the wishes of the citizens that elected him, spending money that the near broke city does not have. He knows he has nothing to lose at this point so he’s going for broke. Very sad. At least half of the sycophant Councillors are no better.

  5. It is time to give all this Council tthe Boot .Thank you all for your service to the City.It is also time that some these long term City Residents of the Castle on the
    River retired.Its time for a complete change of Soo ‘s sDeep State

    • I think Tom Vair seems to be pushing this plaza as well…. I can’t afford to pay my taxes now….and if my taxes go up to pay for this useless plaza, and I have to move from my home…. I won’t be too happy. Why can’t the Mayor and city councilors see it from the perspective of the citizens they represent!! Doesn’t seem like very many are in favour of it. There is a skating rink at clergy and why don’t they utilize Roberta bondar tent for market?

  6. My response to this is “what a waste of tax payers dollars, but deep down most people new they would pass it… they do not need our blessing. I’m thinking the mayor and his buddies can pay for it, I’m sure they are well off.
    And do not bother us lower class people by raising taxes to cover this waste, nor ask us for donation. If your throwing money around then put it we’re it’s needed…

  7. How much does anyone wanna bet…Provensano is Sault Ste Marie’s next CEO…anyone?? He learned from the best….JOE..he pulled it off…why not Provensano….2 peas in a pod!

  8. Provenzano needs something shiny to point to when he runs for the Liberal Party of Ontario or the Liberal Party of Canada. Betcha it’s the next provincial election.

  9. So. If you took the time to watch the council meeting you would have also picked up on the fact that this PUC upgrade is going to benefit the surrounding businesses. Mr Vair tried his best to downplay this part. Is this a cost that maybe should be shared and not footed totally by taxpayers? Or is that how things work in this city?
    Good for Shoemaker and Niro for trying to postpone this expenditure until the proper information could be brought forward. We know who’s who now.
    And good for Bruni, Scott and Christian for backing the motion.
    As for the rest of the councillors, we will remember.

    • Never noticed your name up there either , Barry… Get out of Mom’s basement and run for office yourself… I would but I’m too old now.. That doesn’t mean that I can’t recognise stupidity when I see it… I miss Manzo at times like this….

      • My name isn’t up there because I don’t constantly complain about absolutely everything City council does, good or bad like you and the rest do. As for you, you are too Old? I call b.s. You are a keyboard warrior, and the man you adore who tried to keep the Sault in the Stone Age his entire career was old also…we would still have dirt roads if it were up to him. Of course you recognize stupidity, you look in the mirror every single day

  10. What in Hades is the big push all about for the new downtown druggie hangout, which is exactly what it is gonna become… No body I’ve ever talked to is in favor of it but the mayor keeps pushing it.. I’ll take bets it will be called something “Provenzano”,,,,quite probably “Provenzano’s Folly”, the way things are going now… It’s just about time for a major change in council in the next election.. We need one that is actually gonna pay attention to what the people actually want, not about monuments to stupidity….

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