While I support new positive investment in the revitalization and
progress of our city, this project raised many concerns for me that were
not addressed and had the potential to be a drain on our city through
an unsustainable operating subsidy.
As well, the consortium that was to run the Centre would have not shared in any of the operating losses and the impact on the hospitality and other related businesses like the Hotels, Community Auditorium, service clubs, Fort William Historical Park, etc. did not seem to have been taken into account in Phase 2-3 of the consultants’ report.
I have expressed such concerned in a guest column on the local daily newspaper and the feedback from the community indicated that many shared similar concerns, which led me to vote against the project.
The article can be viewed in its entirety by clicking here.
Since then, it has become apparent that combining the convention aspect with the arena part of the project is not a good idea as it limits Council’s flexibility to adequately plan the two components. For example, the Arena component to eventually replace the Gardens could be developed on the site of the Port Arthur Arena and benefit from the collaboration with the Auditorium in selling tickets, staging/managing sporting events, and use the parking facilities already in place and make it a much more viable operation.