Downtown convention centre may hinge on how quickly a new arena can be built
Critics say the downtown core will be missing a key cultural amenity if the project falls behind
The Greater Sudbury Convention and Performance Centre is slated to be constructed on the site of the current arena in the downtown core.
City council voted in favour of the location on Tuesday night.
But some, like John Caruso, are concerned that the timeline for the project will depend on how quickly a new arena can be built.
Caruso has been with the project from the beginning, as co-chair of the steering committee. Now, he's worried that the fate of the centre is tied to the construction of the Kingsway arena.
"Construction can't begin until — at the earliest — 2020," he said. "And also if there's a delay in the move of that arena, if that project has problems."
Downtown Sudbury board chair Jeff McIntyre shares those concerns.
He says the downtown core will be missing a key cultural amenity if the project falls behind.
"We're going to have a delay of several years where we don't have that replacement for the attraction of the event centre," McIntyre said.
Caruso cautions there's still a lot of work to be done before any kind of construction begins. City staff have to get feedback from the community first.
Staff is expected to report back to council early this year.
Meanwhile, other contenders for the convention centre, are doing their best to roll with council's decision.
Vista Hospitality — the company that owns the Rainbow Centre — had initially bid to house the gallery and library at the downtown mall.
The project co-ordinator for Vista says the company supports council's decision, but Robert Green is disappointed that their offer was turned down.
"Although we firmly believe that this would be the site with the best impact, nevertheless the old arena site will have a residual impact as well, including for us," Green told CBC News.
"We are the largest property in the downtown."
Green added the company is looking forward to future investments in the downtown core.
With files from Robin De Angelis