Saturday, June 6, 2009

Prince Arthur's Landing Receives Massive Financial Contribution

Thunder Bay's Prince Arthur's Landing waterfront redevelopment project received met a significant milestone on June 5th with the announcement of $29.3 million in funding, split equally between the Ontario and Federal Governments as part of the Build Canada Infrastructure Stimulus programs. The announcement was made by Minister of Northern Development and Mines Minister and MPP for Thunder Bay Superior North Michael Gravelle, Thunder Bay Superior West MPP Bill Mauro and Federal MP for Kenora Rainy River Greg Rickford and is important in that it demonstrates the non partisan collaboration that demonstrates an confidence senior orders of government have in this strategic project.

This essentially means work on phase one of the project can now proceed and in short order, Thunder Bay will have an enhanced waterfront district that will play an integral role in visitor retention and align with our gateway strategy connecting urban visitors to the natural environment around us. This is also a milestone in the community as we are moving towards an urban renewal goal in a way unlike ever before in this community, improving our access to the Lake and improving opportunities for sustainable recreation, tourism, commerce and living.

This city's economy is changing in new and exciting ways, and with the shift from primary forest products towards a health sciences lead knowledge based economy, mining exploration and value added manufacturing, we can offer the urban amenities that these professionals, many relocating here from other parts of the world, expect and appreciate when choosing a new city. This investment also will create employment and entrepreneurial opportunities for local residents and it demonstrates an important commitment to our community's youth by creating a vibrant city they will want find opportunity in and be partners in its evolution.

Work will include realignment of sewer and water mains through the area, lake infill and the development of new market square, gallery and associated retail space, splash pad and skating rink. Laureate Developments, the private sector partner, will be complimenting the area by a proposed a new boutique hotel with proposed indoor water park and residential units and destination spa, creating a hip downtown waterfront community. Bringing approximately 300 people per night living and staying on the downtown waterfront will create a more lively downtown, increase the tax base of the community and foster business retention and expansion efforts within the Northward downtown, creating new entrepreneurial and employment opportunities for the community. Phase 2 of the project is the creation of a 300 slip marina and related retail component. The City of Thunder Bay has recently issued a request for expressions of interest from parties interested in partnering on that exciting project and it is likely to come online in the next several years.

We've already seen the positive impacts the skate plaza has had in attracting more people to the park, especially during the shoulder seasons where the park activity has traditionally been non-existent. Dozens and sometime hundreds of skaters of all ages using the plaza each day, its already fostered the opening of a new skate shop on St Paul St and increased food and beverage sales opportunities for neighboring businesses. The project aligns well with last year's Federal announcement of the Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area, is consistent with our aggressive cruise ship attraction strategy and will introduce new visitor experiences to the community.

Stay tuned for more updates on the project.

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