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Junction East Cultural Hub: Here’s where the candidates stand

A city council vote of 11-2 in June greenlit the $98.5-million Junction East Cultural Hub project, which would see a new central library/art gallery built in the city’s downtown core, but a much stronger portion of candidates on the campaign trail oppose the project. Buckle in, this is a long read

The proposed Junction East Cultural Hub library/art gallery project planned for downtown Sudbury has become a significant point of contention on the municipal campaign trail.

Candidates appear divided on the issue, with those seeking re-election far more likely to advocate for the project than political newcomers.

While city council voted 11-2 in favour of moving forward with the $98.5-million project in June, a much smaller portion of candidates presently not on city council appear to support moving forward with the project.

The June vote on whether to proceed with the Junction East Cultural Hub was as follows:


  • Mayor Brian Bigger (not seeking re-election)
  • Ward 1 Coun. Mark Signoretti
  • Ward 3 Coun. Gerry Montpellier
  • Ward 4 Coun. Geoff McCausland
  • Ward 5 Coun. Robert Kirwan
  • Ward 6 Coun. René Lapierre
  • Ward 7 Coun. Mike Jakubo (not seeking re-election)
  • Ward 8 Coun. Al Sizer
  • Ward 9 Coun. Deb McIntosh
  • Ward 10 Coun. Fern Cormier
  • Ward 12 Coun. Joscelyne Landry-Altmann


  • Ward 2 Coun. Michael Vagnini
  • Ward 11 Coun. Bill Leduc

The project originally carried a price tag of $46.5 million, but it has changed in scope and location in the years that followed this 2017 estimate. Its cost jumped to $93.2 million in May, and hit its latest $98.5 million in June to accommodate a cost-escalation allowance in response to market conditions and a refinement of design details.

“The Project Team is confident that this process will allow the project to be hard-capped at $98.5 million and that this total project cost is adequate to deliver the project council has approved,” city Strategic Initiative, Communications and Citizen Services director Ian Wood said in June.

The tendering process will be the true “litmus test,” Wood said, adding he’s confident the city has worked in enough wiggle room within the existing budget to adjust things along the way to prevent the project from exceeding the $98.5-million budget.

The proposed four-storey, 104,000-square-foot building is poised to house a new central library, art gallery and multicultural centre next to the Sudbury Theatre Centre abuting Paris Street and Shaughnessy Street downtown.

Toronto-based WZMH Architects principal Nicola Casciato described the building as being “somewhere that you want to bring your family, your friends, people who visit Sudbury for the first time.”

It’s expected to replace the city’s current 70-year-old main library branch on MacKenzie Street downtown, which library CEO Brian Harding said is “showing its age.”

“Junction East is going to represent absolutely the best practices of public libraries in Ontario,” Harding told in July. “It’s going to be a gem in the province.”

Still conceptual, the work taking place behind the scenes at the direction of city council is intended to bring the design to a stage where the project is able to be brought to tender. This process is expected to continue until mid-November, at which time the city team behind the effort will develop a tender package for release early in the new year.

There are four prequalified bidders for this project from a total of 10 companies to take initial interest in the project. They include:

  • EllisDon Corporation (Mississauga)
  • Bird Construction Group (Mississauga)
  • Aquicon Construction Co. Ltd. (Brampton)
  • PCL Constructors Northern Ontario Inc. (Sudbury)

While this is taking place, the Cultural Campus Committee has been meeting regularly. This group includes the Art Gallery of Sudbury, Greater Sudbury Public Library and Sudbury Multicultural and Folk Arts Association, with each carrying a footprint of the building. The Sudbury Theatre Centre is also part of the committee, despite not being included in the footprint of the new building currently proposed.

Ground preparation work has been taking place in recent weeks, including relocating an Enbridge gas line and a geotechnical investigation at the site of a proposed parking lot for the project.

The building is expected to open in 2025. reached out to all mayoral and city council candidates (unless otherwise noted) with an emailed inquiry on Monday, at which time a 12 p.m. Thursday deadline to respond was noted. A follow-up email was sent on Wednesday as a reminder, which reaffirmed the deadline.

Candidates were asked: Should the city proceed with the Junction East Cultural Hub city council approved in June? Why/why not? What do you pledge to do as a member of Greater Sudbury city council?

The following are the responses provided. Those whose responses exceeded the 200-word limit were edited down to within the limit, in fairness to all candidates. Only minor edits were made for grammar and clarity. 

Mayoral candidates

Brian Bigger - He withdrew his candidacy but will still appear on the ballot

Evelyn Dutrisac - No

No, the Junction cannot go ahead at this time. If we examine the list of needs, not wants, it is not a top priority to spend tax dollars, not even close.

Let’s get in touch with reality. We have an infrastructure deficit that must be addressed with long-term planning and a new vision. Priorities should be homelessness, the opioid crisis, housing shortages, economic growth to spur a larger business and residential tax base, and last but not least, our need to reduce the burden on our local taxpayers. I am the most experienced candidate in municipal politics running for mayor. I have no allegiances to anyone, but to the property taxpayers of Greater Sudbury.

I have worked successfully with the upper levels of governments and the private sector to grow our community successfully for decades. Lastly, I have worked with councils in the past to get things done. I assure you that I have the fortitude, energy and toughness to attack our priorities and the Junction simply is not one of those priorities now.

Don Gravelle - Put it on hold

According to economists, we are very likely going into a recession. The cost of borrowing is increasing and we don't even have concrete numbers yet. The cost of materials is still high, and the cost of sub trades has skyrocketed. It's likely that the cost for this project will also double. We can't afford it or justify it when so many city buildings have not been maintained. For example, the Onaping Falls Community Centre has had a leaky roof for years and some of the fire stations have not been maintained. The Junction East project at the very least must be put on hold. 

Bob Johnston - No

How do you commit to a $98-million project when the city is falling apart at the seams. We must know the true numbers of debt and ongoing lawsuits going on, like Dalron’s $11-million suit for Maley Drive. Libraries at Regent, Lasalle and McKenzie are great. Let's get the truth and facts out. Thank you. No.

Devin Labranche - No

I'm against Junction East. If elected I will pledge to cancel it. It's important as I believe it's a poor investment and the money can be better spent elsewhere.

Paul Lefebvre - Yes, but review the plan and cost

As a part of my platform for sustainable growth, I have made it clear we need to invest in our community to attract new investment, business, residents, and jobs. Creating a city that is a great place to live, work and play is integral to this vision.

A renewed arena and a modern art gallery and public library are clearly a part of that investment. But at $98 million, the current Junction East project, as planned, is too costly and needs to be thoroughly reviewed.

I also have concerns that the project as approved does not include a business plan for operating the facility, and that it is limited in scope and does not integrate other elements we need to make a successful facility, such as a convention or active community space. There is no doubt that by looking for efficiencies and collaborations, and by involving other levels of government, we can work together to build these amenities sustainably and for a cost taxpayers can afford, just as other cities have done.

But it’s important to remember taxpayers have already borrowed the money for these projects, and we are already paying it back. We need to put that money to work for Greater Sudbury, and we absolutely cannot afford to borrow more.

J. David Popescu - is not actively covering his campaign, given his conviction for purveying hate speech

Miranda Rocca-Circelli - Put it on hold

I believe until a fair value audit has been conducted, we should not proceed with any capital projects. We need to better understand our expenditures and revenues, and determine if we are offering a fair value exchange for the programs and services we deliver in our community for the taxes we pay. People are struggling to make ends meet. Focusing on our financial footings, and taking care of the current state of our city and people should be our focus as a city. As a mayor, I will commit to having an external audit performed at the city, and freeze capital spending, while we implement a zero-based budget.

Mila Wong - No

Should the city proceed with the Junction East Cultural Hub city council approved in June?


Why/why not?

City cannot afford this, I need to freeze taxes and no new builds for two years until we get a grip on our finances. With the start of recession and inflation, taxpayers need support, too. One of my priorities is the resumption of deferred asset and infrastructure maintenance/repairs, which to me borders on neglect and potential liability issues for the city in areas of health and safety for our citizens.

What do you pledge to do as a member of Greater Sudbury city council?

I pledge to transition and transform Greater Sudbury into a modernized smart city government that will be accountable, accessible, equitable, inclusive and transparent to its citizens in plans, actions and deeds. I pledge relentless will for change! Amen.

Ward 1

Jordan Derro - No response

Mark Facendi - No response

Mark Signoretti - Yes, but more due diligence is needed

I did support the concept when it came to council in June. Since then I have been more concerned with the price tag of this project that has emerged. 

However, moving forward we need to look at ways we can reduce the capital cost of this project. We need to have conversations and commitments from both senior levels of government for financial assistance on this project both on the capital and operating side. 

We need to have further knowledge of the cost saving of having all three entities under one umbrella outlined to the public. On any project, figuring out the capital monies is one thing but we need to know the operational cost moving forward.  

We need to show the taxpayers of the City of Greater Sudbury that we have done all our due diligence. 

Ward 2

Eric Benoit - No

No. With the cancellation of the Kingsway Entertainment District project, there are too many questions about what will happen with the future of the downtown arena. The arena question needs to be addressed before we can decide what other municipal projects make sense for downtown.

As a member of city council, I would pledge to work to find a solution to aging public buildings that will be more efficient and sustainable. If a version of the Junction does get built, it must be paid for through efficiencies and community partnerships, not by raising taxes. 

Michael Vagnini - No response, but voted against the project in June.

Ward 3 

Michel Brabant - No

No, there is absolutely no requirement to waste money on that project. We have sufficient venues to accommodate our present needs of libraries and such.

I’m sure the $98.5 million can be better spent. Let’s repair our roads and crumbling infrastructure.

I pledge to have a reduction in city taxes. They went up 4.3 per cent last year, after services were reduced. It makes no sense whatsoever. Our outlying communities have suffered long enough, being ignored. 

The council also needs to stop hiring outside agencies, to carry out studies and analysis.

Let’s use the expertise that is in our great city. We need to focus on getting back on our feet and highlight the word “greater” in Greater Sudbury. 

Gerry Montpellier - Wait and see (Montpellier voted in favour of the project in June)

$98 million is an estimate. I did support the exploration of a final cost and final drawings, at a time when all public consultations are complete, all details, grant possibilities and final costs are known and clarified. With all details known, I will motion for a simple reconsideration – a final Yes or No vote.

Ward 4

Pauline Fortin - No

I promised taxpayers in Ward 4 to be their voice on city council. There is no need for town halls or referendums on Junction East because the taxpayers have made it very clear to me as I knock on doors that they do not want it. I would say less than one per cent had a “sorta” positive response to the project. 

I am a hard “no” on this project. To ask taxpayers to take on this very expensive project that will not generate any revenue and cost taxpayers $2 million or more per year to operate when inflation is at our door and people are struggling to make ends meet would be a travesty. The city already wants to increase our taxes and reduce our services to meet our next budget. How much of a burden would this add to our taxes in the following years? I also believe that this project is the first step in centralizing libraries and would eventually close all our other libraries throughout the city.   

Lastly, I know that the downtown is struggling but a shiny new library isn’t going to fix it. We need real action to solve our downtown crisis, because clearly what we have been doing for so many years is not working.

Geoff McCausland - Yes, pending government funding

As I've said for months, I feel conflicted about the project. It is a beautiful idea and will be a place cherished by local families, where residents of all walks of life can gather together and where visitors will go to see Northern Ontario landscapes and Indigenous art celebrated at the Carmichael Gallery. It is also a lot of eggs in one basket when we have so much need across our city.

I believe that we should only proceed with the Junction East Cultural Hub if it will see tens of millions of dollars invested in our community by upper levels of government. I would never support going it alone on an investment of that size, especially with all of the concerns today surrounding affordability. We need to see the actual tender price that comes back, and the actual funding that is secured. Once we know what it will really cost, we can re-evaluate the situation and make a decision grounded in that day's financial realities.

Alice Norquay - No response

Ward 5

Robert Kirwan - Yes

City council has approved a budget and directed staff to move forward on this project. I am convinced that Junction East will benefit the entire community, and so at this point in time I am in support of the project. But we will still need to see if the final cost estimate is going to remain within the budget. I am hoping that the cost doesn’t escalate like the arena/event centre, but if it does, I will not hesitate to adjust my position if I feel that the cost outweighs the benefit. This is an important project, but not at any cost. This is consistent with my approach to the arena on The Kingsway. It was an important project, but I could not support a significant increase in the tax levy to cover the additional cost.

Michel (Mike) Parent -  Put it on hold

When I speak with persons that live or spend time downtown, they are fully supportive of the Junction East project. As I speak with people further away from the downtown area I am not seeing the same level of support. 

Going door to door in Ward 5, I am hearing mostly anxiety about the cost of living and affordability and almost no support for the project and at times passionate pleas to stop the Junction East. It is clear to me that I will be supporting a pause of the Junction East until we can understand how inflation has impacted the project costs and what the implications will be on the municipal tax levy. 

In addition, I will want to know how the long term operating costs will impact the property taxes for the long term.

Ward 6

Dan Boulard - No response

Michel Lalonde - No response

René Lapierre - Yes

Yes, I believe the Junction East is an important project for our city for two reasons. The first one is asset renewal. Our library system is an integral service that we provide and the Mackenzie Street building is no longer suitable for the updated service that we provide there. Also, the current Mackenzie Street location is past its useful date and the infrastructure costs to repair and maintain this building is no longer the proper investment. The second is that because this building will represent multiple partners together in the same location, it is a better use of tax dollars. We say we are the "City of the North," and the "Hub of the North." I believe it is time we start to invest into projects like this to prove that we truly are the “hub" of the north. 

Lastly, this type of infrastructure helps attract other services, investors, medical specialists and so much more to our city. Although it is a large expense, the return on the investment is what will be great for Greater Sudbury.

Scott Seguin - No

The Junction East project is a prime example of previous councils overreach with taxpayers’ money. $98 million-plus for a library when our city is facing crises that require immediate funding is morally and fiscally irresponsible.

We have existing facilities which can serve the same purpose while we find better ways to spend that money on the needs of our city now and not the wants. Better yet, the Rainbow Centre (the former name of Elm Place downtown) presented an amazing offer for city council to move the library there. With the Bell Mansion and art up for sale soon (Editor’s note: Click here for an article regarding the Bell Mansion and the art collection in which the likelihood of their sale is clarified) there is no telling if the City of Greater Sudbury will even have art to display. I propose buying the Bell Mansion and restoring it to showcase our art.

We currently have 13 libraries spread out throughout the entire city, which for the most part spend most of their days empty. Most people, especially younger generations, download their books directly to their tablets. The days of investing millions into brick and mortar buildings to store books are coming to an end. To invest close to $100 million in one shows a lack of understanding of where our world is headed and a need for young blood in council.

Ginette Trottier - No response

Ward 7

Randy Hazlett - No response

Natalie Labbée - Put it on hold

While the Junction East project is slated to move ahead by a decision of the current council, and I am a supporter of the arts, I haven’t had one favorable opinion from anyone in my ward and beyond regarding this project. The consensus is that it’s not a necessary project and that there are existing buildings and options that could serve this purpose for a lesser cost and carbon footprint.

There are so many more necessary concerns to focus on that have not been made a priority over the last four years or more. The only way to get a handle on tax increases is to identify priorities for spending instead of investing in projects that will only serve a small segment of the population with no real return on investment or revenue-generating streams. 

Deferred maintenance is real for so many of our existing facilities across the entire city. Apathy is extreme, especially in outlying wards who feel that they have been hit the hardest due to amalgamation. I want to ensure that our tax dollars are used in a way that benefits all and stays in keeping with progress that is innovative, smart and sustainable for all our communities.

The idea can be revisited once inflation tapers off.

Mark McKillop - No

I remain a harsh critic of the Junction East project. As a councillor, I will do whatever I can to pause this project so that the new council can revisit it having just received its mandate from the people. My own opinion is that it needs to be mothballed. I have knocked on doors and spoken to several hundred people. I have seen the eye rolling and only two expressed actual support. I am confident that all other candidates are encountering similar results.

The 11-2 vote to move forward just months before an election, having just learned that the costs had skyrocketed to close to $100 million, was an affront on the will of the majority and a complete thumb in the eye to voters and taxpayers. It is astonishing (and somewhat curious) to me that the councillors of the day would take it upon themselves to approve this project after costs had doubled while (rightfully in my opinion) killing the KED for precisely the same reason.  If that was not bad enough, they then voted 11-2 to raid future road and infrastructure spending to cover any shortfall. A cynical ploy to handcuff the next council if ever there was one. 

Daniel Wiebes - No response

Ward 8

Patrick Auge - Yes

I support the Junction East and pledge to champion this vital project while working with partners to bring investment and make this centre our cultural and educational hub for the north. 

We need to house our art gallery, which cannot continue at its current site, and our artistic community which will attract tourists and support growth. Most major centres have this space, so our library has the potential to be the best and most modern, bringing our community into this century with essential programming. Let’s make our community healthier, better educated, and more beautiful. It’s a place everyone can enjoy.

If our city cannot bring an approximate $100-million project to life or be consistent, I fear that we will struggle to attract any investment for any future project. We will adopt the reputation as “the city that can’t get anything done” and this will become a repeat of the KED. An important question to ask ourselves is: Are we still the “Hub of the North''? Our neighbouring cities are open for business and their growth is surpassing ours. If we continue cancelling projects we will no longer be the major centre we desire to be. 

Gordon Drysdale - Yes

The plan is spectacular and 40 years overdue. If Sudbury is to grow culturally and retain intellectual assets, this project is a primary catalyst. Further delay of this much-needed centre will continue to drive this valuable project farther out of affordability and possibly result in a downscaled version in future. We have a wonderful opportunity, here, to add beauty and purpose to our historical downtown. My personal view is that this project alone will not change the negative perception of downtown. What is needed to enhance this and future opportunities downtown for generations to come, is the addition of a substantial residential component in a western expansion of downtown, to the area between Elgin Street and Lorne Street. We have an opportunity, by way of, at least, a pedestrian underpass at Larch street to this area, which could be offered to private housing developers to design and construct high rise apartments, condominiums and a component of rent geared to income housing. This will allow low wage earners working in renewed downtown businesses, the ability to walk to work as well as positioning other residents within walking distance with no need for additional parking downtown.

Patrick McCoy - No

The residents in Ward 8 are opposed to the Junction East project. They see little value in a project of this magnitude being placed downtown. They also feel a library and art gallery are a waste of tax dollars when the infrastructure deficit has ballooned to nearly $3 billion. 

They do not support expanding the footprint of an old library and instead believe in making our neighbourhood libraries better. They've asked about the city's plan to invest in New Sudbury but eight years later continue to ask the same question. With that said, I have been clear since the beginning of this campaign that I believe both the KED and Junction East projects should go to the taxpayers at a referendum. People deserve the final say when spending $300 million tax dollars on these projects. This council has had eight years to build consensus around these projects and has failed miserably. It's time to bring this project to the residents before more money is wasted on reports, studies and consultants.

Bill McElree - Unclear answer, but supportive tone

Attending the Bryan Adams concert one could not help but notice the arena was tired and an embarrassment. The city plan calls for renovation and I believe the added services could be found in existing spaces. A library is more than just books. It’s a central resource for programs that can be delivered to all of Greater Sudbury like workshops, classes and access to the internet. An art Center much like the Place des Arts is something that businesses look at when relocating/building/expanding. Our different communities need a place to gather. After all, artistic expression is an important part of any community.

Vital Rainville - No response

Carla Ross-Arsenault - No response

Al Sizer - No response, but voted in favour of the project in June.

Ward 9 

Keith Clarkson - He has withdrawn from consideration citing personal reasons

Deb McIntosh - Yes

The Junction, by its very name, is a gathering place, a community centre.

The Junction is for everyone, with no barriers… no physical barriers, no social barriers, no economic barriers.

The Junction is to be a partnership of the Central Library, the Art Gallery of Sudbury, the Sudbury Multicultural and Folk Arts Association and the Sudbury Theatre Centre. It will be fully accessible and respond to our community’s climate change goals.

The Central Library on MacKenzie Street is 70 years old and was not built for the types of services that libraries are now expected to provide. The Bell Mansion, the current home of the Art Gallery of Sudbury, is a renovated 115-year-old house owned by Laurentian University, that was never intended for its current purpose. It is my understanding the Art Gallery cannot accept the Group of Seven Franklin Carmichael collection until and unless it moves to a more appropriate building.

Council overwhelmingly supported this important and time-sensitive project. The money to build it is in the bank and we anticipate significant investment from other levels of government for this exciting initiative.

Sharon Scott - No

I would definitely cancel the Junction East Cultural Hub. Most of all, there's no parking. If I planned a meeting there, how far would people have to walk from their vehicle? How much revenue will that possibly bring into the city? We need to plan projects that will bring revenue into the city. Like I said before, it's not what we would like to have, it's what we need for our city to grow.

Leslie Steel - Revisit the project

The entire project must be revisited by the new council. The price tag of $98 million is not affordable, and we definitely cannot debt-finance this low priority 'wish list' item and burden ratepayers now and future generations of taxpayers to come. We have more pressing priorities in the city. I pledge to work co-operatively and constructively with all my colleagues on council in order to promote unity, consensus, and an environment that ultimately produces positive results that benefit all the citizens of this great city.

Ward 10

Fern Cormier - Yes

The proposed funding for this project includes significant investment from senior levels of government. This partnership contribution will greatly reduce the funds required from the city. On that basis I believe this is a worthy project for our community. The required local investment has been secured and the funding allocation from the federal government is contingent on the elements of the new building being state of the art, accessible and environmentally responsive to our goal of a carbon neutral building. I believe this project can be an example of environmentally responsible building technologies that can be incorporated into other projects going forward.

Jolene Felsbourg-Linton - Not 100-per-cent sold

I am pro investing and maintaining cultural and community hubs. I’d like to see learning centres, sports facilities and community spaces supported in the city centre but also in the outlying areas. The needs of the citizens must be assessed before moving forward. Is this project multi-functional, accessible and welcoming to everyone? I’m not 100-per-cent sold that the Junction East Cultural Hub is a good investment if it doesn’t check all the boxes. I’d want to know more about the vision for how this one facility will best serve our greater community. How will the programs running in this facility enrich us all? Will we be sacrificing other projects that could better serve Sudbury? I feel like more community input is required but not to the point it drags things out without decisive action. 

Michael Sanders - No

No one is going to be a stronger advocate for downtown renewal than me. I live there, I own businesses there and its deterioration was one of my principal motivations to run for council. It is because I am so committed to downtown that I don’t feel we should commit approximately $100 million to a cultural hub at this time. Downtown, and the city as whole, faces more exigent concerns. I understand the art gallery will need a new home. And I would pledge to work with stakeholders, enterprise and government to find creative solutions to that problem and the many others our core faces. When we fix what’s broken, our downtown will beckon for its own development; and not be the host of white elephants.

Ward 11

Christopher Duncanson-Hales - Yes, pending funding

The city should proceed with the Junction East Cultural Hub under the conditions that the external third-party cultural funding is secured, and that CGS funds required to fund the project fully  do not exceed the amounts budgeted in the June report to council.

Specifically, that no further CGS funds either through additional borrowing or from reserves be allocated to the funding of the project.

Bill Leduc - No

We should be re-thinking the Junction East project for multiple reasons. 

1) We can’t afford $98.5 million.

2) There is no return on the investment 

3) if we want a library/art gallery/multicultural centre, we have other opportunities in our downtown core without spending this type of money. 

As your elected official, l will invest in opportunities that show us a return on our investment. For example, the KED, which would have spurred economic development/growth and would have created tourism dollars for our community. We need to grow Greater Sudbury together and not just focus on our downtown core. We need to focus on the major issues such as the opioid crisis, mental health issues, housing crisis and our infrastructure needs. 

Ward 12

Luciano Di Mario - Open-ended response

The majority of councillors supported the plan, which is more than double the original budget of $46 million estimated in 2017, when the project was first discussed. We should focus on the city’s economic condition, where we are and where we’re going. Whether this is a good project or a bad project, we should not be adding to taxpayers’ dollars.

We should get our priorities done and err on the side of caution. My responsibilities as a councillor would be to support the municipality and its operations while ensuring that the public and municipality’s well-being and interests are maintained.

I would like to be a voice for the constituents of Ward 12, to be able to bring their concerns to council. My question to you is, where do you see our city in the next four years? People have been saying they want to see a change after eight years of what we have.

I have not been a part of those eight years as a councillor but I do want to be part of the next four years. Decisions will be made, changes need to happen, and we can get there collectively. I am looking forward to October 24 and the election.

Joscelyne Landry-Altmann - No response, but voted in favour of the project in June.

Jeff MacIntyre - No, unless various issues are resolved

There are multiple issues with this project, too many to fit in 200 words, and they will need immediate attention from the next council. First, we need a new art gallery. This is now an urgent need due to the Laurentian University CCAA process and the pending loss of the Bell Mansion.

Second, the library has been poorly communicated, and the public expectation of a library does not align with the project's goals. Built properly, modern libraries become community hubs that encourage people to live in denser neighbourhoods by incorporating community meeting rooms, wood shops, music studios, maker spaces, etc. 

Third, public participation in the selection and features and location of the library/art gallery clearly was not adequate. Could we have located this project within the existing infrastructure at a drastically reduced cost?

In addition, projects of this nature should be driven by public demand demonstrated by public donations well before it gets to the stage this current project is.  

Finally, the price tag is unacceptable and has ballooned without attempts at mitigation. We can not operate this way as a city, and change cannot come fast enough to ensure projects are well-vetted from idea to completion. 

Shawn Ouimet - No

Junction East should be stopped the same as building an arena/events centre. We just finished a pandemic, the city can not afford higher taxes for more shiny things before we pay for what we already spent on. When council agreed to take out a $300-million loan (Editor’s note: The debt was taken in two chunks for various projects. Click here for more details), staff and council should have created a plan on paying it back, not just up taxes on all residences and businesses. Sudburians will soon be renewing their mortgages and will notice the interest rate is not the same as three, four, five years ago. Will we all be able to pay the additional mortgage cost on top of an estimated four per cent tax hike for the next four years? This council directed staff on building legacy projects however, the legacy we are left with is a debt to pay back and higher taxes for all.

Another big question this election cycle has been what to do with the Sudbury Community Arena now that the Kingsway Entertainment District (a replacement municipal arena project planned to be accompanied by a private hotel and casino) has been cancelled. strived to clarify candidates’ positions last month, and received a response from 34 of them.

Click here for a rundown of all of’s civic election coverage.

Tyler Clarke covers city hall and political affairs for