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So it will be interesting to see where and what city staff plan to eliminate from the long-term capital plan to accommodate the new hockey rinks. Of course, there also is the possibility of increasing the tax levy!
I find it incredulous that, in the midst of a pandemic that is far from over, this is a priority at all. But since apparently it is, perhaps we need to backtrack. Especially since federal/provincial funding was denied and the only shovel in the ground will be our own.
Flashback! At one time during the arena process and MURF (multi-use recreational facility) studies, there were at least three private-sector groups that showed an interest in participating in the community centre concept ….. The Pinewood Group, North Bay Mall, and Paul Orsi’s group. Despite the private-sector level of interest being demonstrated, the city, for reason’s unknown, dismissed the idea outright.
So perhaps a pivot is in order?
The North Bay Mall proposal was a true community-centric vision. It included YMCA programming, a day-care centre, a true seniors activity centre (by the way, 35 per cent of North Bay’s population) and, of course, genuine “twin” ice pads that benefit from economies of scale not only on the build, but also more importantly on the ongoing operations side.
The proposal also signaled an interest from the proponent in participating in financing and operations. (A good thing when you have no money!)
Fast forward. Our world has changed forever. As a city, we have new, emerging priorities, including senior care and homelessness. No one can predict the eventual effect on city revenue streams, commercial assessment evaluation, increased expenses related to services, etc. Are we really prepared and, more importantly, financially competent to go it alone?
So to council, I urge you to seriously reconsider private-sector participation in the creation of a true community-centric facility. And if this pandemic has taught us anything, family and community are more important than ever.
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