Although the twin-pad hockey arena project in Hanmer has appeared stagnant for the past several months, Mayor Paul Lefebvre affirmed tonight that it’s still very much alive.
During Wednesday night’s town hall-style meeting at Centennial Community Centre and Arena in Hanmer, Lefebvre told those in attendance he has been actively advocating for the project.
“I got home last night at midnight from Ottawa,” he said, adding that while he was there he spoke with federal ministers, with whom he advocated for project funding.
“As soon as we can line up the funding, it will be exciting to have a brand new twin pad for the area,” he said. “We see this as a growth area, and a twin pad will go a long way.”
The project, called the Valley East Twin Pad Multipurpose Sports Complex, was approved by city council during 2022 budget deliberations, but was only cleared to proceed if at least $20 million came from senior levels of government. The city only budgeted $9.2 million toward the $29.2-million project.
Since then, Lefebvre said its projected cost has jumped to approximately $40 million.
Ward 6 Coun. René Lapierre said the city has applied for a grant from the provincial and federal governments, and they’re still waiting on the results. He cited getting the twin pad arena built as being one of his top priorities during his latest term on city council.
Depending the amount of money they get from senior levels of government, he said, “we’d have to find a financial plan for the balance,” he said, which would have to go to city council for approval in the event it exceeds the $9.2 million already approved.
The twin pad project is part of the city’s infrastructure renewal program, Lapierre said, noting that twin pads run more financially effective than single-pad arenas.
Most single-pad arenas are subsidized to the tune of $200,000 to $250,000, Lefebvre said, adding that twin pad arenas tend to break even.
The Valley East Twin Pad Multipurpose Sports Complex is proposed as a 76,000-square-foot complex comprised of:
- A twin pad arena (NHL-size rinks, each with 400-seat capacity). Exploring one fully accessible ice pad
- Eight change rooms and referee change rooms per ice surface
- Gymnasium (multipurpose sports programming, such as indoor soccer training, pickleball, exercise classes, etc.)
- Heated viewing area
- Public concourse/lobby space
- Support spaces
The building would be constructed at the Howard Armstrong Recreation Centre property in Hanmer, and its opening is expected to be accompanied by the city shutting down four existing ice pads.
Among the pads projected to close is the Centennial Arena, which Wednesday night’s meeting took place at. Lapierre said it would be repurposed, and possibly leased out.
Reflecting on the Centennial Arena property, Lapierre noted there’s greater potential use for the building’s adjacent lands, which could include adding a third and possibly fourth baseball field.
Other pads to close when the twin pad facility opens would include the 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 potential twin pad isn’t the only arena the city is currently looking at. Last month, Lapierre and Ward 9 Coun. Deb McIntosh tabled a successful motion for the city to update its decade-old Arena Renewal Strategy, which will look at their 14 arena facilities. A separate report on the Sudbury Community Arena is anticipated to be tabled by the city by July 11.
Various other issues affecting both the City of Greater Sudbury and The Valley in particular also came up during Wednesday’s meeting, including a need for housing, which Lefebvre stressed as being critical to the city’s growth and something being addressed in a strategy he requested.
Valley East Community Action Network chair Suzanne Leblanc said the community-led volunteer organization would be working on getting a new dog park built and the Elmview Playground (1045 Tilly St., Hanmer) rink paved.
As with other town hall meetings in Lefebvre’s ongoing series at all 12 wards, a particularly raucous segment of Wednesday’s audience raised concerns about conspiracy theories.
In response to a question about whether the city planned on adopting a smart city policy, which is often used interchangeably with the widely debunked 15-minute city conspiracy theory, Lefebvre again denied city involvement in either.
The mayor’s denial resulted in heckling from a segment of the crowd, whose members falsely claimed the city had signed on as a smart city and that 5G towers are somehow involved.
Wednesday night's meeting was livestreamed by the City of Greater Sudbury, and a video can be found by clicking here.
Lefebvre’s next town hall-style event will take place with Ward 1 Coun. Mark Signoretti at Verdicchio Ristorante (D-1351 Kelly Lake Rd.) on May 10, beginning at 6:30 p.m.
Tyler Clarke covers city hall and political affairs for Sudbury.com.