Art Gallery chair outlines waterfront plan, explains rejection of Eaton’s site
The gallery’s board and staff have planned for the future. In 2010 we completed a feasibility study and determined that construction of a new facility at the waterfront made more economic sense than renovating our current facility. A waterfront location would also provide exceptional visibility that we do not have in our current location. We conducted an economic impact study which confirmed that our move to the waterfront would have a significant positive economic impact on the community.
In July of 2013, city council approved, in principle, the gallery’s proposal to relocate and build a new art gallery at the waterfront. The resolution advised the gallery to approach the 2014–2018 council to request city participation as a capital funding partner.
The former Eaton’s building has been suggested as the perfect location for the new Gallery but the building was not available when we were reviewing options in 2010. In 2015, when the building became vacant, six years of studies and planning had already been invested in our project. Funding applications identifying the waterfront location had been submitted and architects had been selected based on that location. And the Eaton’s building is five times larger than what the Gallery actually requires. – Heidi Uhlig, Letter to the Editor, Chronicle Journal
read full letter here
…The former Eaton’s building has been suggested as the perfect location for the new Gallery but the building was not available when we were reviewing options in 2010….
Hmmmmm…..the following is from the Feasibility And Economic Impact Assessment
“The Consultants were asked to consider two options: An expansion of the Gallery on the current site; and building a new Gallery at a waterfront location. – Waterfront Site Feasibility And Economic Impact Assessment
No mention is ever made about other locations seriously considered for the location of the new art gallery in the feasibility study. In fact, the feasibility study says that only two options were considered: expansion in current location and building new on the waterfront.
So what were the other options considered that Ms. Uhling is talking about? How much would they have cost? What were the pros and cons of building an art gallery at those other locations? Who would benefit? Do we not deserve to know? We, the taxpayers, are not being told…yet we are being asked to fund the $35 million plus facility.
How much would the expansion in current location option have cost the taxpayers? We don’t know.
How can anyone say that an isolated location (yes its isolated..can’t be seen from Water Street because of railway cars parked on the tracks) at the extreme south end of Marina Park is the best place to locate a $35 million plus in public funded facility WITHOUT seriously considering other locations? You can’t, but that does not seem to matter. Everything here stinks.
I have a real problem with spending that big pile of sweet, sweet taxpayer cash on a facility that is not constructed in the best location,, A location that is easily accessible by the public and provides a financial benefit to the neighbouring businesses. The most bang for the buck.
No north core businesses will benefit from the waterfront location. None. That is a fact. Just talk to the north core business owners. How much business do they get from events held in the Baggage Building? The Water Garden Pavilion? The answer is none.
No easy access to public transit. None.
So why spend $35 million plus of taxpayer cash to build an art gallery in such a place? Why? Who benefits? The people? Small businesses?
The answer is that the consultant stands to benefit a great deal…now and in the future.
Building the art gallery in that particular location pushes the waterfront development south toward the Pool 6 property. It opens the door to Phase 2 of the waterfront development. THAT is why the art gallery HAS to be located on the waterfront at the south end of Marina Park.
More waterfront development means more work and money for any consultant that gets to write feasibility reports, produce architectural drawings and site plans. Right? And who is that lucky consultant going to be? Hmmm?
Building the art gallery anywhere else in the city would not be as “productive” for companies tied to the development of the waterfront. Not at all.
But wait….lets go back in time. Back to choosing the site for the construction of a $120 million hockey rink. Remember that? Water Street, Arthur Street, Innova Park. The three finalists.
The Water Street site was recommended. Hmmm….Seems like only yesterday.
Why was the postage stamp sized Water Street location chosen as the preferred location for the proposed $120 million hockey arena? Why was that location chosen over the much more spacious Innova Park option?
- Revitalize the downtown core, Urban infill.
- Direct benefit to the north core businesses
The $120 million hockey arena HAD to be built in a downtown core BECAUSE of the direct economic impact it would have on the neighbouring shops, restaurants, bars and cafes. BECAUSE it would revitilize the downtown core. Urban infill..remember that term?
For some reason, none of those points that were soooo important back then, matter now.
The downtown does not need revitilization any longer. The downtown businesses do not need a financial boost any longer. The downtown core does not need to be made more walkable any longer. That was then.
None of that matters when it comes to spending $35 million plus in public funds to construct an art gallery. Why not? What is different about this facility? What has changed?
No other location was ever seriously considered for the $35 million plus publicly funded art gallery and again I have to ask why not? Why not?
PS – What about the Baggage Building? Will there not be a duplication in art programs offered to the public?
PSS – And then there is this from the Waterfront Site Feasibility And Economic Impact Assessment that
The reader should note that the study utilizes various assumptions which are based on a set of economic conditions and/or possible courses of action that are reasonable and appropriate in BrookMcIlroy’s judgment and are consistent with the purpose of this assessment of economic impact, but which may not materialize as set out herein. These hypotheses represent plausible circumstances, with conservative estimates, and may not be fully supported.
Since future events are not subject to precise projections, some assumptions will not materialize in the exact form presented by our analysis. In addition, other unanticipated events and circumstances may occur which could influence the future outcome and performance of the Thunder Bay Art Gallery. Therefore, the results achieved in future operating periods will vary from the analysis of prospective market and financial conditions set out herein. While there is no recourse to predicting these matters with certainty apart from informed and reasoned judgements, it must be stated that future events may lead to variations in project performance which may materially alter project results either positively or negatively. – Waterfront Site Feasibility And Economic Impact Assessment
Soooo, any economic impact projections made by the consultant is meaningless. Why? Because you cannot predict the future.