Sudbury's large projects progressing, city officials say

'We believe we are building momentum'

The Junction City of Greater Sudbury

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The city is making headway on its large projects and plans to issue a couple of requests for proposals this fall.

Ian Wood, the city’s interim GM of community development, gave council an outline of the current status of the large projects, which include the event centre at the Kingsway Entertainment District, Place des Arts and The Junction.

Wood was optimistic and said the projects are moving along well. He also said there have been some “positive developments” regarding the KED.

“I’m pleased to say as I stand here before you this evening that from a staff perspective, we believe we are building momentum on all of our projects,” he said.

As Wood noted, six of the issues brought forward by opponents of the KED were rejected by the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal. A total of 19 issues, however, were filed, so there are still many that will play a role in determining the fate of the entertainment district. Wood also told council the LPAT will meet again in May 2020 to discuss the way forward for the KED.

“While we are concerned about the length of time between now and the hearing date, we are pleased that some definition of the process is emerging and that we can start to build some momentum around our project,” Wood said.

So far, the city has spent about $2.23 million, or 2.2 per cent of the project’s $100-million budget.

“We will continue our efforts to be prepared for a positive decision on the KED in 2020,” Wood said.

The fact the LPAT will not be meeting until next May all but confirms that Gateway Casinos will not be a part of the KED. They have indicated they need to be in their new home by April, since the lease at Sudbury Downs will expire.

Wood also said Dario Zulich has forwarded him a letter indicating he could build a convention centre for a fraction of the cost of the currently proposed centre. Wood noted, however, that Zulich has not provided a detailed proposal, which is what would be required to move forward.

“We’ve indicated to him that in order for us to consider this in any way, that’s what’s required, and we have not received that to this point,” he said.

Once built, The Junction, one of the city’s feted large projects, will include the main branch of the library, the Art Gallery of Sudbury and a convention centre. The project will cost more than $100 million.

“The estimated building costs for the library/art gallery is $46.5 million, and the convention and performance centre building cost is estimated at $63 million,” the city says on its website. “Additional capital funding sources will be explored such as the Canada Cultural Spaces fund, the Ontario Trillium Foundation and FedNor.”

Wood said the city plans to embark on an intensive and extensive public consultation process, so that they get the design right. The Junction will become a pearl in the core, so the stakes are high. The city plans to issue a design RFP by early October for the library and art gallery, and by early December for the convention and performing arts centre.

“The Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation has notified us the library/art gallery and performing arts centre applications can proceed to stage two; staff are undertaking that work to make that happen,” Wood said, noting the city is also pursuing other funding avenues.

Wood also noted construction has begun on Place des Arts, at the corner of Larch and Elgin Streets. As a result, there are some traffic disruptions and lane closures. They have secured 98 per cent of the funding required for the $30-million facility and are well on their way to realizing the dream of a Francophone cultural centre in downtown Sudbury.

mkkeown@postmedia.com

Twitter: @marykkeown

705 674 5271 ext. 505235

 

 

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