Planning for future use of downtown arena needs to start now: Sudbury city councillor
Although the Kingsway Entertainment District -- which will house Sudbury’s new arena has not been built yet -- some city councillors are planning ahead and thinking of ways the current arena in the downtown core could be used.
The 70-year-old Sudbury Community Arena on Elgin Street has been home to the Sudbury Wolves for more than 50 years now and has held various other events such as circuses, concerts, and figure skating events.
Ward 5 City Councillor Robert Kirwan said the election next year should include this facility as a topic and planning for what this building will be used as needs to start now.
"It’s going to take us till the spring of 2022 to start consultation, and there is an election in 2022. So, that consultation is going to have to be a topic for candidates," Kirwan said. "Then in 2023, we’re going to have to make a decision on what to do with this by the summertime because you have to have a business case for the budget that fall in order to have money in the budget to do the renovation when this becomes vacant in 2024. We can’t wait."
Ward 11 City Councillor Bill Leduc said even though it’s still two years away, it will take that amount of time to develop a plan.
"We’re going to have to bring a business case forward for the new council that gets elected, and get the community input as to what they envision with the Sudbury arena moving forward now," Leduc said.
Both Kirwan and Leduc said tearing the building down would cost approximately $5 million, and demolishing the landmark would be a shame.
Leduc said he’s already heard from some residents about what they would like to see in the facility once it is vacant.
"I’ve heard some comments regarding the Sudbury arena converting it to something along the lines of the St. Lawrence Market. I think that would be a great opportunity, that would fit perfectly downtown here and that would generate a lot of business and a lot of foot traffic down here," Leduc said. "The other idea is possibly a one-stop-shop for everything regarding the safe injection site, housing, and that sort of stuff."
Kirwan and Leduc will bring this motion forward at this week’s council meeting.