A last-minute about-face by Thunder Bay city council will keep the doors of the city’s conservatory closed longer.

At a previous meeting, council had approved $76,500 for repairs to the main tropical display area of the Conservatory.

That vote essentially expedited the funding, as council is still considering a long-term strategy for the facility.

The Conservatory, in its entirety, will be back before council in two weeks.

The funding would have allowed repairs to the tropical display area to start immediately, and the display would have been reopened to the public when the repairs were done, said Michael Smith, the city’s manager of facilities and fleet.

However, at Monday’s meeting, council didn’t ratify the earlier vote. The matter technically lost due to a tie in the ratification vote.

As a result, the $76,500 was denied, and any immediate plans for the Conservatory were cancelled.

The facility has been closed since February because, the city said, glass panels were falling, which posed a safety risk.

Council may well vote in two weeks to go ahead with paying that $76,500 and begin immediate repairs, but Monday’s vote doesn’t bode well for the future of the Conservatory, said Coun. Andrew Foulds.

“I’m very disappointed by council’s decision,” said Foulds, who’s spoken out against the closure of the facility in the past.

“What this basically means is that we will be delaying the opening of one of our facilities.

“This is one of those facilities that is a quality-of-life issue.”

Foulds said the vote is indicative of a movement in the city, province and country that is seeing quality-of-life services attacked through funding cuts.

“We should be aspiring to do more,” he said.

“Improve the quality of life.

“I hope that council decides in two weeks (to get the Conservatory) open, even if it’s only partially open.”

Recommended for you