Before we go anywhere, let’s get one thing clear: nothing has been voted upon as of yet for “construction ready services” for the proposed Aquatic Centre.

But the thought of pushing through a $1.2-million dollar plus report was enough for Timmins city council to debate the whole venture for about 30 minutes Monday night.

And it finished off with another butting of heads concerning council procedure and conduct between Mayor Steve Black and Councillor Rick Dubeau.

The recommendation from city staff is to undertake Phases 1 and 2—or construction ready services—and award the contract to Perkins and Will. Furthermore, a Phase 3 would be added for just over $420,000, but contingent on getting “adequate” funding from senior levels of government and other sources, as well as council approval to move ahead with the construction phase.

CLICK HERE to see the administrative report to city council.

This report stems from a decision made back in March, when council voted 6-2 in favour of moving to detailed design work on a $48.4-million dollar facility.

And similar to that March meeting, Councillor Joe Campbell voiced his displeasure on moving ahead on this in any capacity.

He says it would be “irresponsible for this council to go any further with this thing” anything on this project until they get their “house in order financially.”

He says they’re facing economic challenges with the impending vacancy of the Porcupine Health Unit from the downtown, vacancies at the Timmins Square, the Mattagami Waste Water Plant’s direction and the Connecting Link—more particularly it’s $100-million dollar plus price tag and no guaranteed funding from either the provincial or federal government.

And he also brings up uncertain times with upcoming mine closures like Dome underground operations (end of 2017) and Kidd Operations (expected 2021)., as well as tax rates that will be voted on at a meeting this Wednesday.

“People may think I’m a broken record, and that’s fine,” Campbell adds, “But I have serious concerns where were going with this thing, and the amount of money we’re going to have to debenture.”

“I have no idea what’s going to debenture, but we’re debenturing tens of millions of dollars. I don’t care if we get $8-million dollars from some government source.”

Councillor Pat Bamford says it needs to be put through to “show interest” in the project.

“If it’s not feasible at all, we just don’t go ahead with it,” he said, “Unfortunately, we have to invest some money to move ahead.”

“Nobody in the community of any consequence is going to give us any dollars unless they see that we’re keen on this.”

Campbell and Councillor Dubeau both argue that they don’t need to spend the money to be shovel ready, as they’re already at that point. Campbell says a consultant told council they were “months ago.”

Mayor Steve Black says there has been debate on whether they are or not, but he says officials dealing with the funding applications have told him and CAO Dave Landers they are not. Black, in the same instance, noticed and pointed out Dubeau’s disagreeing head shake.

“We can debate this all we want,” the Mayor says, “The federal government is coming out with recreational funding in the next year or two, and if we want to have the opportunity to apply for some of that funding and get to the point where we are ready to go to construction, this is an important step in that process.”

Black says they still have about $630-thousand dollars leftover from the 2016 budget allocated to design and planning.

Add in the $1-million dollars council voted to allocate from the Future Infrasturucture Reserve to the 2017 budget, Black says if expended—which he claims it won’t be until 2018—there’s still about $400-thousand dollars left.

Black admits he also has concerns, but is optimistic the city has “many great years left” in the resource industry and projects will go ahead.

In the end as we first mentioned, no vote has taken place as that is expected at a meeting later this month.

However, Dubeau closed by calling out Black’s mention of his head shaking, noting it’s “just something we all do, (including Black)” and hopes he doesn’t point at others who do the same.

“I smile sometimes, gets pointed out,” Black responded.

“Yeah, you snicker. You laugh out loud,” says Dubeau.

See below for the rest of that exchange.

It went on for a moment, and concluded by Black saying they can agree to disagree on the issue, but the fact is the funding agency told them they’re not shovel ready and good to apply for the funding and this report is the next step in the process.

CLICK HERE to see the full 30 minute discussion, under Item 5A.

Filed under: Local News