Sudbury

Sudbury's Junction East plans coming into view

Sudbury city council will soon be making key decision about plans for a new library and art gallery building slated for the city's downtown core. 

Price tag has jumped, but councillors remain enthusiatic about the library and art gallery project

The Junction East building would be home to a new main branch of the Greater Sudbury Public Library, as well as be the new location of the Art Gallery of Sudbury. (City of Greater Sudbury)

Sudbury city council will soon be making key decision about plans for a new library and art gallery building slated for the city's downtown core. 

On Tuesday, councillors received a presentation with updated information about the design, cost and overall plan for the "Junction East" project. The building is set to be constructed on Shaughnessy Street next to the Sudbury Theatre Centre, and will house a new main library branch, the Art Gallery of Sudbury, and the Sudbury Multicultural and Folk Arts Association.

"This is the type of development that really sets its place in our city as the capital in northern Ontario," said Mayor Brian Bigger, 

"[It] will allow these very creative and innovative groups to develop new programming … that we've never seen before in our community."

$93 million price tag 

City staff, project partners and architects detailed plans for the space, including a video tour of the proposed design. Council also received an update on the projected budget. 

Council originally approved a $46 million budget for Junction East. Now, the total projected cost for the project is $93.2 million. That includes just over $11 million for enhanced sustainability and accessibility recommendations, and a public art component.

The sustainability recommendation would align with the city's community energy and emissions plan, and would include rooftop solar panels and geothermal heat. The accessibility recommendation would incorporate a number of features such as an included pathway, a digital map, tactile signage and a service dog relief area. 

The building will be located on Shaughnessy Street, next to the Sudbury Theatre Centre. (City of Greater Sudbury)

Coun. Bill Leduc said he was "shocked at the price tag," though he said the design does look nice. 

Other councillors, however, said the project will be worth the cost, as an investment in the community. 

"I truly believe that we're worth this," said Coun. Fern Cormier.

"So I'm not frightened by what we've seen here this evening with respect to the budget. It's realistic." 

Between money the municipality has borrowed specifically for this project, as well as confirmed federal grants, and a commitment from the Art Gallery of Sudbury, the city has $12.3 million in confirmed funding for the project. 

Staff said the city could re-allocate $58 million which had been intended for Junction West, a project that has not got off the ground. The city will also continue to seek more funding from both the federal and provincial governments.

'Community of opportunity' 

During the presentation, project partners spoke about the importance of the new facility. 

Art Gallery of Sudbury co-chair Paula Gouveia said a new space is important not only for creating a welcoming gathering space, but also for protecting the gallery's collection from accelerated deterioration.

"Each and every year we face issues with water, we face issues with mould incursions," Gouveia said. 

Greater Sudbury Public Library CEO Brian Harding said while the library has evolved over the last 70 years in its main branch on MacKenzie Street, he said the space has become constraining, and "it's becoming very apparent that we are no longer able to continue that evolution."

Sudbury Theatre Centre chair Patricia Meehan said the centre looks forward to participating in a "community of opportunity" in the downtown. 

Tuesday's presentation came ahead of upcoming decisions for city council. Councillors will have to approve detailed design, financing plans, and other details in mid-June. The goal is to have the project complete by 2025. 

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