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Sudbury council unsure what to do about money-losing halls

Sudbury city councillors had few answers last night to questions about the 18 money-losing community halls run by the city.
City councillors say something has to change with the 18 community halls the city runs. A special committee has been formed to discuss the halls and will report its findings next month.

Sudbury city councillors had few answers last night to questions about the 18 money-losing community halls run by the city.

Councillors repeatedly said the city has to decide if the halls are a public service or a business.

Right now, the halls collectively lose about $600,000 a year.

City councillor Jacques Barbeau said something has to be done, but didn't like much of the plan presented by staff last night.

"We may never get it perfect,” he said. “But it's got to be closer to perfect than what we have here."

The staff proposal called for non-profit groups to be charged for holding fundraising events in city-run halls.

But some councillors said the fees for the hall are already too high.

‘What business are we in?’

Greater Sudbury's general manager of Community Development Catherine Matheson sounded frustrated at times during last night's meeting.

"We were here again in February with the same report and you're right, we're shooting darts and not knowing what direction to go,” she said.

In the end, councillors decided to strike a special community halls committee, which will report back at next month's city council meeting.

City councillor Terry Kett said there is one core question that has to be answered:

"What business are we in? If our business is service, that's fine,” he said. “But if our business is not service, but making money, that's fine also, but you can't have both. It doesn't work."

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