Sudbury·Audio

Sudbury to bid for 2021 Canada Games, despite council concerns about costs

Sudbury is in the running to host the 2021 Canada Summer Games. City council voted unanimously Tuesday night to bid for the event featuring the top young athletes in the country.

Winning city will be named in the spring of 2017

The most recent Canada Summer Games was held in Sherbrooke in 2013 and they'll be in Winnipeg next summer. (Jacques Boissinot/Canadian Press)
Greater Sudbury is in the game to get the games. City council voted in favour of biding on the 2021 Canada Summer Games. Already some councillors are wondering about the cost to taxpayers. We have audio of the discussion on the matter at city council. 5:30

Sudbury is in the running to host the 2021 Canada Summer Games.

City council voted unanimously Tuesday night to bid for the two-week event featuring the top young athletes in the country.

Ward 11 city councillor Lynne Reynolds called it a "fabulous" opportunity for Greater Sudbury.

"It's something I don't think we can pass up. An opportunity to tell our Sudbury story, hopefully in a shiny new event centre by 2021," Reynolds said with a smile, referring to the ongoing debate about building a new 5,000 seat arena in the city.

Replacing the aging Sudbury Arena is seen by many as the city's top priority in sports infrastructure, but while its pricetag will likely be over $50 million, the Canada Games wouldn't take as big a bite out of the city's bank account.

Putting in a bid will run about $30,000 and if Sudbury is chosen, the city would be required to put in $3 million for new sports infrastructure, funding that would be matched by the provincial and federal governments for a total of $9 million.

But how the bill for actually running the event, estimated to be between $35 million and $55 million, will be split up is unclear,
Greater Sudbury Ward 6 city councillor Rene Lapierre (Yvon Theriault/Radio-Canada)

And that made several city councillors like Rene Lapierre from Ward 6 a bit nervous about the cost overruns that often come with large sporting events.

"Because I wouldn't want this to be a success in economic development and a huge tax burden for long years to come afterwards," he said.

City staff say council will see more specific financial details during the 2017 budget talks, before the winning city is selected in the spring. 

Tourism and marketing coordinator Meredith Armstrong told council that the Canada Games has a lot of controls in place to guard against cities taking on too much debt.

Armstrong said Sudbury may have an advantage over southern Ontario cities that are considering a bid thanks to the Francophone and First Nations communities here. 

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