Sault Ste, Marie bus terminal to move to Huron Street

Sault Ste. Marie's bus terminal finally has a new home.

After much debate, city council opted to relocate the city's bus terminal to 111 Huron St., from its current Dennis Street location.

According to the city's director of community services, Brent Lamming, the new location will provide a much larger facility with more accessibility, including improved washrooms.

It will also provide a big benefit to the city's operational spending, by amalgamating all transit services under the same roof.

"Mechanics will be on hand to troubleshoot buses as they are coming in," said Lamming. "Also with respect to operational efficiencies in terms of dollars, we would save $172,000 a year."

Huron Street has been the preferred location by the city for three years, but has been met with opposition from business owners downtown.

City council opted to direct staff to look at alternative sites closer to the downtown core, including rebuilding/renovating the current location.

"One of the major concerns is accessible washrooms that were there, so if that was done with the renovated option, it would have to take away from some of the existing seating at the current Dennis Street terminal," Lamming said.

Not all of city council was on board with the move, with four voting against the relocation.

A bit of a surprise

City Coun. Matthew Scott said he was actually a bit surprised the rest of council made the decision, given the controversy surrounding the Huron Street location.

"In my opinion, or at least the people who reached out to me, it seemed pretty overwhelming that they wanted to keep it here or somewhere in the main downtown core," Scott said.

"Riders who I spoke with appreciate that this won't impact the stops and routes, but they did like the fact that the current terminal is closer to downtown."

Scott said he's now turning his attention to developing the area surrounding the new site, located in the city's canal district.

"Of course, everything happening there like the Machine Shop is certainly a good thing when it comes to bringing more people downtown," he said. "I'm hopeful that maybe the Gateway site will see some development as well now that there's going to be more foot traffic in the area. I'd like to see some more streetlights and security as well."

City staff will now look to hire a consulting firm for construction drawings and begin the tendering process for awarding the renovation contract.