Sudbury city council rethinks arena approach

Sudbury city council is changing its game plan when it comes to the citys aging arenas.
Sudbury city council is rethinking its approach to aging arenas. (Yvon Theriault/Radio-Canada)

Sudbury city council is changing its game plan when it comes to the city’s aging arenas.

At the July 8 meeting, councillors decided to repair rinks rather than replace them.

One city councillor said he wasn’t surprised that talk of closing arenas caused such an uproar.

"You can say what you want, but Canada is hockey," said Claude Berthiaume.

This past winter, city staff suggested closing several arenas in outlying communities, and put forward an idea to build a new two-pad arena.

However, that idea prompted some negative feedback from the public and staff now recommends spending millions to repair the arenas instead.

City council also voted to look closer at building a new home for the Ontario Hockey League’s Sudbury Wolves, concerts and other major events.

City staff estimate a new facility could cost as much as $70-million.

Mayor Marianne Matichuk said she hopes much of that bill will be covered with private dollars, potentially from a proposed casino.

But city councillor Joe Ciminio said the public sector should still play a role.

"We’ve been in the business of arenas for decades and decades," he said. "And to leave that, I would question."

A report from city staff is expected this fall with more details on how to pay for millions of dollars in arena repairs.