Another hurdle has been passed in the quest for a new Aquatic Centre in Timmins.

But it didn’t come without another battle from two city councillors, who have long maintained their stance against the resolution as it stands.

Ward 5 councillor Rick Dubeau says it’s just not the right time to explore this.

He says when this was brought forward in August, it was noted the project wouldn’t proceed without any financial commitment from upper levels of government or any local fundraising in place.

“That was also repeated again last month, and it was made very clear when I talked about that.  And I was admonished, saying we will not do it till such a time as we get the $8-million dollars in fundraising.”

In that August meeting, it was estimated the Aquatic Centre would cost between 33 and 40 million dollars depending on what add ons council wanted.

Along with the $8-million, another $3-million dollars would come from grant sources.  Plus, $3-million would come from Future Infrastructure reserve and in the end, around $26-million dollars would be financed in a debenture of $1.8-million a year.

Mayor Steve Black mentioned the city has a $5-million dollar application awaiting approval or denial from the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation.

(CLICK HERE to see the August presentation, with cost breakdowns.)

Dubeau pointed to Black’s fundraising efforts since putting out the challenge in the fall to businesses to match his personal $1,000 donation.

About 5 or 6 businesses have come forward to match since then.

Mayor Black maintained it’s been the stance all along that without help from the upper levels of government, this project doesn’t go ahead.

He adds Monday’s resolution is merely to show confidence that the city is committed to the project and getting it shovel ready, so that applications for funding have some extra legs behind it.

Councillor Mike Doody backed Black up, saying he takes the Mayor at his word.

“Our Mayor deserves the opportunity to try and do what he would like to do, what we would like to see.  And if it’s not feasible, we as Mayor and council will do what we have to do and lower our sights,” the veteran councillor said.

“But is there something wrong of taking a look that we want something up there that is first-class, the best in the regional area that people come to Timmins (for).”

Doody says while he can appreciate the financial concern, he points out the eight new mines that opened in the “Timmins triangle” in the last three years.

“Where do you think they come to to buy supplies, facilities, man-power, women-power, mining expertise?  (They) come to Timmins.”

He continued: “It’s easy to write up something and be negative and say this and that, but we come all this way where we are at today by being negative?”

Dubeau countered by saying he and Ward 3 councillor Joe Campbell aren’t being negative, just realistic.

“These are numbers, you can’t argue with numbers,” he replied.

“We’ve been told, we don’t know where we are.  All I’m asking is let’s defer this until at least get through the budget process so we know where we are, that’s all I’m saying.”

The plea seemingly fell on deaf ears, as council eventually voted to pass the motion by a 7-2 count.

CLICK HERE to see the full discussion, under Item 6A.

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