Now a decade old, enough has changed that Sudbury’s Downtown Master Plan is due for an update.
This, according to a report by city planner Ed Landry, is anticipated to be discussed by the city’s planning committee at their Sept. 26 meeting, at which they’ll vote on whether city administration should draft a business case for consideration during 2023 budget deliberations.
The Downtown Master Plan was adopted in April 2012 and received an honourable mention at that year’s Canadian Institute of Planners annual Awards Gala.
Following this initial praise, Greater Sudbury city council received criticism for going against the plan by voting in favour of a property on The Kingsway for a new arena instead of a downtown location or to renovate the existing 70-year-old Sudbury Community Arena.
The 10-2 vote in favour of The Kingsway location came in 2017 and was consistently reinforced by a narrow majority of city council. That was, until they voted to back down from the project in July of this year due to its budget more than doubling to $215 million.
The Downtown Master Plan proposes “an upgraded arena in combination with the construction of a new multi-use facility south of Brady Street with a four-star hotel overlooking Memorial Park.”
Although the multi-use facility in question has not proceeded, a new central library advocated for in the plan is moving forward alongside a new Art Gallery of Sudbury with the $98.5-million Junction East Cultural Hub.
The Downtown Master Plan was developed over a 20-month period, and featured what Landry reported as a “comprehensive examination of existing opportunities and constraints, a visioning exercise, detailed planning and design work, and the active participation of a community liaison group.”
Although not everything in the report’s extensive 10-year action strategy has been completed, Landry’s report cites the following as being completed:
- Place des Arts
- Laurentian School of Architecture
- Downtown Market
- Elm Street Parking
- Outdoor Patio Pilot
- Residential Incentive Programs
- Riverside Pedestrian Tunnel Upgrade
- Tom Davies Square Upgrade
- Brady Green Stairs (Durham Street Parkette)
The following projects are cited as progressing at various stages:
- Nelson Bridge Retrofit/Security Upgrade
- Junction East (Central Library and Art Gallery)
- Public Art Strategy
- Elgin Greenway
A downtown parking study is being updated to ensure there’s adequate parking to support the city’s downtown core, including the Junction East Cultural Hub, and will be aligned with other city plans.
In conjunction with the Junction East Cultural Hub work, the city is also working to create a more active transportation-friendly movement between the proposed site (next to the Sudbury Theatre Centre) and the rest of downtown centred on Durham Street and Cedar Street.
Another recent development was a city council motion to work with the School of Architecture on amendments to the Official Plan and Downtown Master Plan on recommendations emanating from the Sudbury 2050 design competition, which will help inform a new Downtown Master Plan.
The city’s planning committee is anticipated to discuss the Downtown Master Plan during Monday’s meeting, which will take place in council chambers at Tom Davies Square beginning at 1 p.m. A livestream of the meeting will also be found by clicking here.
They are expected to vote on whether city administration should proceed with drafting a business case for an updated Downtown Master Plan. It will be up to the new city council elected on Oct. 24 to decide whether to proceed with the business case, which will be considered during 2023 budget deliberations early in the new year.