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City’s expropriation of Wacky Wings ‘heartbreaking’, owner says

Wacky Wings owner Craig Burgess told he’d prefer his restaurant to remain in downtown Sudbury, where it would accompany the city’s proposed arena project
The City of Greater Sudbury’s impending expropriation of 187 Shaughnessy St. is “heartbreaking,” Wacky Wings owner Craig Burgess said in December.

The City of Greater Sudbury’s impending expropriation of 187 Shaughnessy St. is “heartbreaking,” Wacky Wings owner Craig Burgess told this week.

“It’s one of those things you hear of, but to experience it, it was just unbelievable for us to get that news,” he said of city council approving the expropriation of his restaurant’s property.

While the possibility of expropriation lingered as city council members moved to purchase the entire block on which Wacky Wings is located, Burgess said he held out hope they could remain in place.

“We’re going to figure out how we find a new location, and eventually we’ll be back up and running, and we can’t wait to see all of the familiar faces when that happens,” he said. 

“We’ll be open to the very last day we’re able to stay open, but we’ll be back.”

Greater Sudbury city council voted last week to expropriate 187 Shaughnessy St., and the city’s elected officials ratified their decision in an associated bylaw during their Dec. 5 meeting. 

A dollar amount has yet to be determined, with negotiations ongoing. The city’s purchase of surrounding properties has cost $12.5 million to date.

These properties, which make up a tract of land to the immediate east of the Sudbury Community Arena, are to be demolished to make room for a new arena/events centre.

City council members are expected to decide early next year whether they want to renovate the existing arena or build a new downtown events centre. Either way, Mayor Paul Lefebvre told the properties city staff have been cleared to purchase will remain relevant.

“Investing $100 million on a renovated arena ... or whatever it is ... there has to be a return on that investment,” he said. “Just doing a standalone and hoping that the private sector steps in and buys these properties and develops them will never happen.”

The goal will be to attract private ancillary enterprises to the arena’s immediate vicinity, Lefebvre said, be it a hotel, convention centre or other ventures that complement the development.

Burgess said that he’d held out hope Wacky Wings could become one of these ancillary services.

They had every intention of remaining at the property, he added. Before the city started plans to purchase downtown properties, Burgess said he was in discussions with the city to purchase some of their land to expand the restaurant.

Previously a nightclub, 187 Shaughnessy St. has housed Wacky Wings for the past dozen years. The log cabin look to the building is both unique and expensive, Burgess said, noting that with the cost of just about everything going up so substantially in recent years he believes rebuilding what they have presently would require significant expense.

“It’s a whole different level of woodworking, which only drives the cost up,” he said. “That’s why you don’t see log homes on every corner.”

Centrally located in downtown Sudbury, and visible from all angles, including from the Bridge of Nations, Burgess said it’s just about the perfect property for Wacky Wings. 

“The centralization is very key,” he said.

When it comes to possible new locations, Burgess said there aren’t a lot of options available, and no options comparable to what they presently have.

In addition to remaining in operation for as long as possible, Burgess said he’ll be keen to look at applying for one of the properties next to the arena the city ends up owning as soon as the city opens things up to prospective developers. 

Last month, Lefebvre told the expropriation process should take six to nine months, after which the city will own the property regardless of whether they’ve come to an agreement with the owner.

According to the city’s expropriation policy, the city will present the owner with an offer which includes:

  • The market value of the land
  • Damages attributable to disturbance
  • Damages for injurious affection
  • Any special difficulties in relocation

The Market Value of the Land is defined as the “amount that the land might be expected to realize if sold on the open market by a willing seller to a willing buyer,” and is determined by a third party.

Tyler Clarke covers city hall and political affairs for


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Tyler Clarke

About the Author: Tyler Clarke

Tyler Clarke covers city hall and political affairs for
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