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Report: Renovating Sudbury Arena would cost $74M-$150M, would only last 25 years

A report on the future of Sudbury Arena says renovating the 72-year-old building could cost as much as $150 million and would only last 20 to 25 years.

In contrast, the report said a new arena would have a lifespan of up to 100 years.

However, the city no longer has affordable options to build a new rink after a years-long battle over moving the arena to the Kingsway ended when soaring inflation pushed the costs of a new arena from $100 million to more than $200 million.

In North Bay, officials are dealing with similar problems. Bids on building a twin-pad arena at the Steve Omischl Sports Complex came in $20 million higher than the $50 million budget. City council voted to tender the project again to see if anyone can deliver the basics for $52 million.

In Sudbury, the report said even a renovated arena would have severe limitations.

“There is less than the recommended 70 feet of clearance so renovation options could not meet facility requirements for some events and require compromises for others,” the report said.

“Similarly, spectator seating remains constrained and unreasonable compared to a contemporary facility and current consumer demands ... There would be fewer opportunities to book events/acts that would otherwise consider Greater Sudbury to be an attractive market to include as part of a tour. This could constrain the facility’s revenue potential and increase the likelihood of higher taxpayer operating subsidy.”

One of the challenges of a renovation is that the old arena was built using old building standards. A deep renovation would require the city to conform to the new standards, pushing up costs.

A report on the future of Sudbury Arena says renovating the 72-year-old building could cost as much as $150 million and would only last 20 to 25 years. (File)

“In contrast to a new build that, with an appropriate maintenance and asset renewal plan, could last up to 100 years, a renovated event centre should be expected to last between 20 and 25 years,” the report said.

“This reflects the fact that SCA is currently almost 75 years old and its maintenance/asset renewal history has not been consistently sufficient to maximize its service life.”

A new arena, however, would allow the redevelopment of “the South District of Downtown Sudbury,” the report said.

A new facility would mean the city could attract, for example, the World Juniors tournament, the Scotties and the Brier.


“The development of a new facility would allow the City of Greater Sudbury, through sport tourism, to attract provincial, national, and international sporting events, trade shows and live performances,” the report said.

“With increased seating capacities and the modular multi-use floor plan capabilities the city would attract new elite-level sporting events …”

Should councillors vote to go with a renovated arena, preliminary work would cost about $100,000, rising to $500,000 if “invasive testing” of the old arena is required.

Should council vote to build a new rink downtown, staff will contract an architect to design the project and provide current cost estimates. Read the full report here. Top Stories

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