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Greater Sudbury council backs $200M arena/events centre

Unanimous vote favours new downtown venue to replace 70-year-old Sudbury Community Arena
The more than 70-year-old Sudbury Community Arena is seen in the city’s downtown core.

A unanimous Greater Sudbury city council greenlit a $200-million arena/events centre in downtown Sudbury during the April 16 meeting.

The successful resolution calls for the construction of a new building to accommodate an arena/events centre.

As such, city council opted against renovating the existing 70-year-old downtown Sudbury Community Arena.

Mayor Paul Lefebvre said that although he’d expressed past support for renovating the existing downtown Sudbury Community Arena, a new build now appears more attractive.

A report accompanying the meeting clarified that a new build is roughly the same cost as a renovated Sudbury Community Arena, and checks off more boxes than a renovation reasonably could.

A report tabled by city CAO Ed Archer recommended city council approve the resolution to push forward a new $200-million downtown-based arena/events centre with 5,800 fixed seats.

In his report, Archer estimates a reasonable grand opening date the city could expect for a conventional design-bid-build project on its current timeline could be April 2028.

Within Archer’s report are the findings of Brisbin Brook Beynon Architects, which analyzed whether the city should build new or renovate the more than 70-year-old Sudbury Community Arena.

They found the cost of renovating is roughly the same as a new build, but wouldn’t achieve nearly as many goals as a new build would, such as increased seating and modernizing the centre to meet industry best standards.

Drawing from past comments by city council members, it was anticipated a $200-million arena would be a hard sell.

During the 2022 civic election campaign, Mayor Paul Lefebvre said he’d only support spending money already allocated “less the amounts that have been already spent,” which would be $65 million — well short of the $200 million sought by city administration.

In 2022, the previous incarnation of city council killed the Kingsway Entertainment District (an early proposal for the new arena project) when its cost more than doubled to $215 million. 

Including a new arena/events centre’s $200-million cost and money already spent on the KED and downtown properties, the project is projected to hit $225 million, excluding interest paid on borrowed funds. This exceeds the KED’s projected cost by $10 million.

Since the KED was cancelled, however, Greater Sudbury has six new members on the 13-member city council, and its location has shifted from The Kingsway to Downtown Sudbury (its location had been a contentious issue, and the past city council was divided).

Tyler Clarke covers city hall and political affairs for