Skip to content

City seeking alternative plans for Hanmer twin pad project

With no funding from senior levels of government, the City of Greater Sudbury is looking at less-expensive alternative plans for the Valley East Twin Pad Multipurpose Sports Complex
Ward 6 Coun. René Lapierre is seen speaking at a town hall meeting at Centennial Community Centre and Arena in Hanmer last year.

Despite years of trying, the City of Greater Sudbury has yet to secure funding from senior levels of government for the Valley East Twin Pad Multipurpose Sports Complex.

The Hanmer-based project was approved during 2022 budget deliberations, but was only OK’d to proceed if at least $20 million of its estimated $29.2-million cost was funded by the senior levels of government.

This funding has not come in the months that followed, during which its estimated cost has ballooned to $40.2 million. 

During this week’s community and emergency services committee meeting of city council, Ward 6 Coun. René Lapierre tabled a successful motion which seeks alternative plans for the project.

It requests a report from staff by June 2024, “with the intent of reducing the city’s financial obligations to realize the project.”

The report will include such things as insights regarding recent multi-pad arena projects from other jurisdictions, alternate approaches to arena construction and public-private partnerships to community sports venues.

After this week’s meeting, Lapierre told the twin-pad arena is an important part of the city’s infrastructure renewal, with other arenas in The Valley several decades old.

“We’re getting to the point where in the next couple of years we have a large capital investment we’re going to have to do,” he said. 

The Centennial Arena is one such example, he said, pointing to a leaky roof the city has been patching.

“At one point, the patch won’t work anymore and we’ll have to reconsider doing the roof for millions of dollars,” he said. “Do we do millions of dollars of repairs on a 55-year-old building, or do we look at centralizing and cost saving?”

Although several months have passed without any news regarding the twin pad project, city staff and elected officials have been advocating for the funds required to move on its approved $9.2-million municipal expense.

One recent swing was an application to the Green and Inclusive Community Buildings program for $21.2 million in federal funding, which they did not receive due, in part, to the proposal not being net-zero.

There are a handful of environmentally conscious components to the proposed complex, including the recirculation of air to warm the space, but it didn’t meet the threshold the federal government sought.

The North Bay Community Recreation Centre is receiving $25.77 million in federal funding toward its estimated cost of at least $60 million.

The project’s original upset limit was $52 million, but an additional 20 per cent was tacked on to meet the net-zero carbon build requirement.

If Greater Sudbury were to do the same, Lapierre said that maybe they could receive a similar such grant, “but we’d lose that funding (boost) in making it a complete 100 per cent net-zero.”

The Valley East Twin Pad Multipurpose Sports Complex is proposed to be constructed at the Howard Armstrong Recreation Centre property in Hanmer. Its opening is slated to be accompanied by the city shutting down four existing ice pads, including the Centennial Arena, Raymond Plourde Arena, Capreol Community Centre and Arena pad No. 1 (already leased out to a film crew), and one additional pad recommended by staff.

The complex is proposed as a 76,000-square-foot complex with two NHL-size rinks (both with a 400-seat capacity), change rooms, multipurpose gymnasium, heated viewing area, café/restaurant/concessions, a public concourse/lobby space, and support spaces.

Lapierre tabled another motion during this week’s meeting, which he ended up deferring to April 22 due to the affected ward no longer having an elected representative following the death of Michael Vagnini

“I want to give the opportunity to have representation there, so hopefully that will be settled by then,” he said. 

This motion, which he explained to as “just looking for information,” seeks a suspension of non-essential capital work at the Lively Ski Hill. The motion would also seek updated estimates on alternatives to chalet improvements and the repurposing of ski lift equipment, utilization and maintenance costs and recommended utilization targets for ski hills.

Tyler Clarke covers city hall and political affairs for


Verified reader

If you would like to apply to become a verified commenter, please fill out this form.

Tyler Clarke

About the Author: Tyler Clarke

Tyler Clarke covers city hall and political affairs for
Read more