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VIDEO: Mayor wants to put plaza debate 'behind us and make it work'

To mark his first year in office, Matthew Shoemaker stopped by our SooToday studio for an in-depth interview about the pressing issues facing our city

When it comes to polarizing topics around town, it's hard to top the Downtown Plaza.

But love it or hate it, the Sault's $11.6-million plaza is here to stay — officially opened during a ceremony Thursday night.

One of the most vocal opponents of the plaza's escalating price tag was now-Mayor Matthew Shoemaker. As a city councillor last term, he did not support the final cost of the project. 

During an interview this week in our SooToday studio — just hours before the mayor delivered a speech at the plaza's grand opening — we asked him what he thinks of the final product. Now that it's actually finished, are you happy we built it?

“I am eager to see it succeed, I would say," Shoemaker replied. "My difficulty with it, as you noted, has always been the cost of it, not necessarily the concept. The concept, I think, is sound: to try and create a community gathering space in the heart of downtown. The costs — frankly — got to be more than I was willing to support over the course of the last term. But it was built. The majority of council supported it in the last term and I accept that the majority of council has the authority to proceed with that even if I disagreed with it. And now that it is there, it would be a shame to not see it succeed.”

You can watch our full interview with the mayor HERE. Be sure to also vote on how you would grade Shoemaker's first year in office.

Still have strong feelings about the plaza? Check out this poll, too.

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