One Sudbury city councillor is speaking up about the hiring of a consultant to draw up plans for a new arena.

The city is set to spend about $15,000 to hire an expert to go through proposals for building a new Ontario Hockey League rink.

Speaking at the city council meeting on Feb. 25, councillor Fabio Belli said he believes council needs to first decide that it is replacing the 63-year-old Sudbury Arena.


Sudbury city councillor Fabio Belli. (CGS)

“If we’re going to proceed in spending more money, number one: are we replacing the Sudbury Arena? Because everybody has to be one board with this,” he said. “And I don’t know that we are.”

Despite his concerns, council still moved ahead with plans to hire the consultant.

City councillor Joe Cimino said he believes an expert in the arena business is needed in this case —  even though he has criticized the city’s hiring of consultants in the past.

“I’ll tell you right now, if this is going to be politically driven, it’s not going to succeed,” he said.

“Because the ratepayer out there — the community — won’t support it. It’s a business-case driven exercise.”

The arena consultant is expected to report back to Sudbury city council in June.

Any final decision is not expected until next year, after the upcoming municipal election in October.

A new arena in downtown Sudbury is estimated to cost between $30 million and $85 million.