City council agreed Monday night that the 62-year-old Sudbury Arena needs to be replaced — but they spent more than an hour arguing over whether they are moving as quickly as they can.
The entire Sudbury Wolves hockey team was there to watch city council talk about their home rink
"We often watch you fellas entertain us, and we get a chance to entertain you tonight,” said Coun. Jacques Barbeau.
But they weren't cheering for what Barbeau said next.
He said he doesn't agree with councillor Fabio Belli that plans for a new arena need to be sped up.
"We're not talking about going to the corner store to buy a bag of milk,” Barbeau said. “We're talking about a 50, 60, 70, maybe $100 million project."
Belli said council has been stalling for too long — and with elections campaigns less than a year away, raised the spectre of this becoming an election issue.
"So remember that tonight, when you vote, you're sending a message that this council will not be approving the replacement of that Sudbury Arena."
Belli's proposal was voted down 9 to 4, with most councillors, like Andre Rivest, happy with the work staff are already doing on a new rink.
"Because it's already being addressed,” he said. “It's going as fast as we can."
Budget-conscious Mayor Marianne Matichuk voted in favour of moving ahead with a new arena, noting that waiting can be expensive too.
"Every year we sit here and don't do something, it costs us millions of dollars more,” she said. “And we're just wasting money by not doing things."
City staff members say they hope to put out a call for companies interested in the project in the coming weeks. A staff report on the health of the aging arena is expected later this month.