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Prince Arthur's Landing work continues in Thunder Bay this summer

The Market Square component has changed from the original concept.

On an unusually hot spring day, about two dozen Thunder Bay residents were seated Tuesday on chairs and under umbrellas the city has installed in a green space beside the splash pond at Prince Arthur's Landing. 

They are part of the infrastructure and amenity improvements the city recently made in the area between the splash pad/skating rink and the Delta hotel.

This year, the city plans to do another $500,000 worth of work for the next phase of the component dubbed Market Square.

The name remains even though the original concept has changed.

Part of the area was initially earmarked for a market-type building, but it was quietly cancelled at some point because the city's waterfront development partner – Winnipeg-based Resolve Group – failed to meet deadlines. 

Brian Newman, a project engineer with the city, said "There was an agreement with the city that said they had to have it done by a certain date. The timeline was extended enough times that finally the city said 'We have to take it back.' "

Tbnewswatch was unable to obtain clarification from senior city management, but councillor Andrew Foulds said he remembers that when council agreed to the switch, there had been "some issues."

Foulds said he doesn't recall the details.

He added, however, that council was also impressed by the public response to the amenities that were already in place near Market Square.

"People were using it, they were enjoying it as a contemplative space and relaxing. That was also part of the decision-making" that went into revising the plan, Foulds said.

This year's work around Market Square will focus on the gravel parking lot across from the hotel.

It will include asphalt and concrete paving, electrical infrastructure, stormwater infrastructure, and landscaping.

Newman said electrical "power pedestals" will be installed at the four corners of the lot, which will facilitate using the site for food trucks, bands, or special events.

Decorative lighting will also be installed "above it and around it," he said, adding "It's something new to the area. It's going to look great."

When the COVID-19 pandemic was declared, it looked as if the project might have to be delayed.

But Newman said that, with reduced activity resulting from the hotel's temporary closure and the cancellation of public events, city officials feel it's a good time to start work so that everything will be ready before the end of summer.

The city has expedited a call for bids on the project, and hopes to see it begin early next month.

Farther south on the waterfront, the city will also continue improvements this year to the public lands near the planned location of the new Thunder Bay Art Gallery.

Funding sources include a $750,000 grant from FedNor, confirmed by the federal government earlier this week, and a previously announced $1 million contribution from the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund.

Gerry Broere, Director of Asset Management for the city, said some of the money has already been spent, partly on the relocation of utilities on the art gallery site.

The next phase includes extending Sleeping Giant Parkway toward the former Pool 6 elevator site where the Alexander Henry museum ship is moored.

A pedestrian walkway along the water's edge will also be extended to the Pool 6 property.