Sudburians may be asked to settle one of the longest running debates in the city's history.


Sudbury city councillor Ron Dupuis

City councillor Ron Dupuis wants to hold a referendum on when stores can open and close.

Sudbury is the only city in Ontario that regulates store hours. The bylaw has been attacked by politicians and businesspeople many times, but has always been saved by city council.

Dupuis said its time to put the question to the voters.

"It's been discussed and rehashed over the years so many times," he said. "If we can get the people to make a decision on it, then it will be done."

If Sudbury city council approves the store hours referendum next month, it will need approval from the province before it would go on the ballot for the 2014 municipal election.

Scrapping the city bylaw was a key platform plank for Mayor Marianne Matichuk in the last election, but Dupuis said he thinks politicians should stand back and let the voters decide.

"I really believe that councillors should stay out of it," Dupuis said. "Let the public ... whoever wants to lobby one way or another ... let them do it."

Sault Ste. Marie held a referendum in 2010 on whether stores should be allowed to open on Boxing Day.

About 60 per cent voted "no," but the decision wasn't binding because less than half of eligible voters cast a ballot.