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Sudbury Wacky Wings owner ‘heartbroken’ restaurant being expropriated, vows to reopen

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While he’s a big supporter of what the city has planned for downtown, the owner of Wacky Wings on Shaughnessy Street says he and his staff are “heartbroken” they are being forced out of their location.

Craig Burgess said he had hoped his restaurant could be incorporated into Sudbury’s plans to redevelop the area.

“Our preference would be to stay in the current location,” Burgess said in an email interview. “It is heartbreaking for us and our dedicated team to learn this news.”

“We offered to be relocated within the landscape of the events centre or surrounding property in order to try and keep costs down to relocate, but unfortunately that was not something they were ready or able to entertain.”

In October, city council voted to spend $12 million to acquire properties within a two-block radius of Sudbury Arena, including businesses such as Wacky Wings, Alexandria's, the Dog House Sports Bar and Eatery, Old Rock Coffee and Golden Grain Bakery.

Mayor Paul Lefebvre said the decision was made to boost tourism and economic growth.

"We believe in our city, we believe in our future,” Lefebvre said at the time.

“We believe in our downtown, so that’s why we are going ahead and making that investment.”

Because they were unable to reach an agreement, however, Wacky Wings is being expropriated by the city. Burgess said they were willing to strike a deal, but they disagreed about the costs they would face when forced to relocate.

While he’s a big supporter of what the city has planned for downtown, the owner of Wacky Wings on Shaughnessy Street says he and his staff are 'heartbroken' they are being forced out of their location. (Darren MacDonald/CTV News)

“We certainly support the idea of a new events centre for the City of Sudbury and believe it will be exciting for the city once it is completed,” he said.

“That being said, it is not our choice to leave and through the negotiations, the disparity in costs has really been the main sticking point. I certainly could be wrong, but the costs have escalated so much to build, renovate, etc. across the country and I believe that what was put forth for compensation to relocate would not make us ‘whole’ and our understanding is that is what is required by law.”

Negotiations began last spring, Burgess said, and stalled on a disagreement of the costs the restaurant would face in relocating. The restaurant’s unique log cottage look is expensive to replicate, he said.

“The lumber is not square and anyone that knows about woodworking, knows that the cost to do specialty cuts of such lumber is substantially higher than that of square lumber,” he said.

COSTS TO RELOCATE ARE HIGH

“Of course in addition, many other factors we believe will drive the cost up to relocate. Unfortunately, pricing is substantially higher right now for almost anything and makes the process much more complicated to come to an agreement.”

While unable to strike a deal, Burgess said he has had positive dealings with the city and he hopes “that continues as we work towards a mutual path forward.”

The restaurant has operated for about 13 years in the location and Burgess said they hope they won’t be closed for long.

“We have many children that have fond memories of eating and playing games in our location years ago and now stop in for wings and beer,” he said.

“It's kind of cool hearing those stories and we certainly intend to open back up as soon as possible.”

City council will vote on the land expropriation at its Dec. 5 meeting. An update on the project will be presented to city council in March. 

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