Sudbury city council to decide where to build cultural complex

Sudbury city council will vote Wednesday night on plans to replace the downtown arena with a multi-million dollar cultural complex.
(Yvon Theriault/CBC)
Greater Sudbury city council is facing another big location decision. It will vote on where to build a library, art gallery and performance centre. The only cetainty at this point is that the project will be located in the city's downtown. 5:24

Sudbury city council will vote Wednesday night on plans to replace the downtown arena with a multi-million dollar cultural complex.

Staff are suggesting the current arena site on Elgin Street is the best location for a new library and art gallery, as well as a performance and convention centre.

It would be available once the city builds a new $100 million event centre on the Kingsway, which would include a new arena, a hotel and a casino.

John Caruso, the co-chair of the performance and convention centre steering committee, says he hopes his project isn't shoved aside to pay for the other big ticket items.

"In terms of economic impact between an arena and a convention and performance space, there is no comparison," he said.

"There is no project that is a game changer like this convention and performance space."

Caruso says if the arena site isn't available, he thinks the performance and convention centre should go on one of the nearby city parking lots.

The Elgin Street site beat out several other options, including a proposal to build the art gallery and library inside the Rainbow Centre Mall.

An artist's rendering showing what the main branch library and Art Gallery of Sudbury could look like in the Rainbow Centre downtown. (Vista Hospitality Group )

Robert Green is the project coordinator for Vista Hospitality, which owns the mall. He says building the library and art gallery in the downtown mall would cost about $15 million, compared to a $100 million price tag for building the proposed complex on the arena site.

"We thinks it makes sense. Obviously the numbers, they make sense," he said.

"I think council's fiduciary obligations force them to take a hard look at the report and the conclusions that are there."

Library board chair Michael Bellmore says he thinks the current Sudbury Arena site is a great place to build a new main branch.

However he says he does question if there will be enough tax dollars to go around.

"That's the multi-million dollar question," he said.

"Sorry for the pun. In order to get to that finance piece, the funding piece, we needed to advance ourselves."

Bellmore says the library and art gallery project will have an easier time getting provincial and federal funding to help cover the construction costs.

With files from Erik White


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