Sudbury·Audio

Shawn Ouimet is on a mission to keep an arena in downtown Sudbury

Debate is heating up over where a new arena should be built in Sudbury — and there is a push to keep the facility downtown.

'I love the city and I just want to see great growth starting from the heart of the city and growing outwards'

City council has voted to prioritize the development of an events centre. A bidding process is expected to open in the coming months. (Yvon Theriault/Radio-Canada)

Debate is heating up over where a new arena should be built in Sudbury — and there is a push to keep the facility downtown.

Shawn Ouimet, who represents a group that wants to build an events centre across from the Rainbow Centre and bus depot, said the arena should stay in the downtown core because spectators will help local businesses.

"They're coming to that arena and they're enjoying that show and then they're dispersing," he told CBC News.

"They're going out and shopping and enjoying the other facilities and shops that we have in the city."
Shawn Ouimet represents a group that wants to build an events centre across from the Rainbow Centre and bus depot. (Olivia Stefanovich/CBC)

Ouimet's pitch will be up against two other arena proposals from construction companies Dalron and Zulich — and they want it outside of the downtown core.

A partner for Zulich's proposed centre said there can be issues building downtown.

"It's more costly in order to construct," Andrew Dale said.

"The timeline takes longer. So these are challenges that are real."

Zoned and ready to build

Zulich's True North Strong project is slated to be developed on the Kingsway. Dale noted that development needs to happen beyond Sudbury's downtown.

"The whole community needs attention and we think that our vision responds to the Greater City of Sudbury's need to invest in growth in an economic and great opportunity," he said.

"Our site is zoned and ready for development. We have infrastructure ready at the doorstep. We are prepared to get involved in a competitive process that would demonstrate the economic viability of what we're proposing."

Andrew Dale, managing project partner for Zulich's True North Strong project proposal on the Kingsway, says their "site is zoned and ready for development." (Olivia Stefanovich/CBC)

Ouimet said the land that is proposed for the downtown Sudbury Entertainment Centre has not been purchased by his developer group. He said it would first need to be expropriated by the city.

"You can't grow the city in different pockets and hope that everyone is just going to meet in the middle," he said.

"You grow it like a balloon. When you blow up a balloon, it blows from the centre and grows outwards. It doesn't grow in various pockets. That's the unfortunate thing. It looks like, right now, that many groups throughout the city are proposing. I love the city and I just want to see great growth starting from the heart of the city and growing outwards so we can all enjoy the city together."

City council has already prioritised the development of an events centre. Meaning it's just a matter of time before the bidding process starts to nail down a location for a new arena.

The four plans prioritised by council were chosen from a list of 16 possibilities.

with files from Olivia Stefanovich

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