The Capreol Arena has been targetted as a film studio for at least the next three years in what the area’s city council representative considers a boon to the community.
“It really is a good economic impact and more of a sustained economic impact than what that pad used to offer from an ice perspective, where it had very low utilization in the winter months only,” Ward 7 Coun. Mike Jakubo said. “It’s a real positive for the area, for sure.”
The studio would be used to accommodate filming of the television series Letterkenny and its spin-off series, Shoresy, both of which have a history of filming in Greater Sudbury and the Capreol Arena in specific.
An application by Letterkenny/Get’Er Done Productions/New Metric Media for a three-year lease of the Capreol Arena’s otherwise unused first pad will be under consideration at the Aug. 8 planning committee meeting.
Pad No. 1 was closed early in the pandemic, which shifted all ice use to pad No. 2, which Jakubo said it was able to accommodate.
“Prior to three years ago, both pads were really underutilized; really bad,” he said, adding that pad No. 1 occasionally didn’t have any bookings at all. “We really believe we can accommodate all of the use in Capreol for ice in pad two.
Although pad No. 2 is now “on the better end” of arena use in the city, Jakubo said there is still capacity to take on additional users.
Having a film studio set up shop in pad No. 1 points to the longevity of filming in Capreol, which Jakubo said has trickle-down impacts throughout the community and region of the city.
“When they’re there and they’re using the facility for filming, they are obviously helping out all of the businesses in Capreol, from restaurants to the grocery store and Home Hardware, all these types of places where it’s a one-minute drive to get there,” he said.
Once their long-term lease is secured, the Letterkenny/Get’Er Done Productions/New Metric Media team plans on building multiple standing sets and storing sets and props on site.
Although a three-year lease is under consideration, Jakubo noted Northern Ontario Film Studios have been signing iterations of a three-year lease with the city for an old arena space in New Sudbury for several years running.
While Jakubo is optimistic the planning committee approves the three-year lease and city council ratifies the decision, a couple points of opposition point to the fact the community isn’t unanimously behind the plan.
As a result of a newspaper and courtesy mail-out issued as part of the city’s public consultation process last year, two letters came back with people expressing concern.
One letter signed “No name” complains about bright lights, and another letter expressed concern about parking, which a municipal report said will be resolved by halting filming during major events, or employing the use of a shuttle bus.
Aside from past bylaw-related complaints and “inherent NIMBY-related arguments,” Jakubo said there’s widespread support in the community for filming to continue.
“People have been extremely supportive of this, they do see the economic benefit of having something more consistent going on in the arena,” he said.
“Overall, when I look at the more objective opinions of people, they are positive.”
Sudbury.com reached out to New Metric Media for comment but did not receive a response.
Tyler Clarke covers city hall and political affairs for Sudbury.com.