Province revokes $4M promise for Sudbury sports dome

The province has revoked a budgetary commitment to the Belli Foundation to build the sports dome.

The goal was to open the facility in 2019 in honour of Sudbury city councillor Fabio Belli

On April 6, the family of the late Fabio Belli, from left, his youngest daughter, Brianna, his wife Susan, and his eldest daughter, Emma, help Sudbury MPP Glenn Thibeault reveal the original plans for a multi-use sports dome to be built with $4 million in provincial funding. The Ford government has now revoked that funding. ( Benjamin Aubé/CBC)

The province has revoked a budgetary commitment to the Belli Foundation for funding to help build a sports dome in Sudbury.

The Foundation planning the multi-use indoor sports dome in honour of a late Sudbury city councillor was promised a $4 million funding boost from the Liberal provincial budget last spring.

Then-Sudbury Liberal MPP Glenn Thibeault made the announcement publicly with the Belli family in attendance last April.

Board spokesperson Michel Lariviere says he wouldn't want to speculate that the Progressive Conservative government's decision has anything to do with politics.

"I would hope that's not the case. I would hope that the health of the community by far trumps the politics."

Lariviere says he doesn't know the reason behind the government's decision.

He said the Deputy Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport called the board chair with the news.

Two weeks after the call, they've received nothing in writing, he says.

Lariviere says the loss of funding has held them up but it won't stop them.

He says the Deputy Minister had some suggestions on where they might go next.

"The ministry did encourage us to seek other pots of funding and some of which would be a shared venture between three levels of government, municipal, federal and provincial and they would be one contributor to it," he says. "So that's what we're exploring currently."

The foundation, which promotes health and wellness in the community, was created following city councillor Fabio Belli's death in 2014.

The goal was to open in 2019.

The plan is to build the facility behind Lasalle Secondary School, with the Rainbow District School board acting as a partner.

Lariviere says everyone is definitely disappointed but they remain steadfast in the goal of fulfilling Fabio Belli's vision. and will continue to work with the community to raise funds for the project. 

with files from Kate Rutherford