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Market Square plans chugging along

The only thing that can derail plans to locate the new Market Square at a train station on Elgin Street is if negotiations between the city and Canadian Pacific Railway go sour.
A conceptual drawing of what the new Market Square could eventually look like was presented to city council May 29. Supplied photo.
The only thing that can derail plans to locate the new Market Square at a train station on Elgin Street is if negotiations between the city and Canadian Pacific Railway go sour.

However, there is little doubt in anyone's mind that those negotiations will result in a positive outcome and that the historic CPR station will become the future home to Market Square vendors.

Jason Ferrigan, a senior planner with the city, has been working with the advisory panel since its inception. He said staff can't discuss the details of those negotiations, but information will become public as it is known.

It comes as little surprise that the Market Square Renewal Advisory Panel has confirmed it has chosen the CPR station to build the new facility. It was the preferred site of a group that was working to identify potential relocation possibilities prior to the formation of the advisory panel.

Panel chair Darren Stinson of the Greater Sudbury Development Corporation Board, said it was by far the best location of the five potential sites reviewed. It's central location is within mere walking distance of the city's main transit terminal, and it fits well with the city's Downtown Master Plan.

Stinson and vice-chair Wendy Watson presented to city council May 29 a two-phase Market Square project that comes with with a total pricetag of about $5.75 million. By building the new Market Square in two phases, it will allow the facility to be open by the 2013 season.

Stinson said the panel is well aware that the total cost of the project is more than the $3.3-million budget provided through the sale of the current Market Square land to Laurentian University, but there is a plan in place to submit funding applications to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, FedNor and the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation to leverage the city's investment and realize both phases of the project.

The CPR station itself measures in at 17,500 square feet, which is “quite large,” and provides ample space for growth, Stinson said.

Phase 1, with an overall pricetag of $3.36 million, will see about 82,000 square feet of the 188,000-square-foot CP Rail site developed with the new market. The interior of the station will be renovated in order to accommodate 16 indoor vendors, as well as a small kitchen to provide basic support for catered events. VIA would remain on-site in a new office space.

Outside of the building, a total of 30 outdoor tent-covered units will be put in place, and there is room for 169 parking spaces, which will remain available for monthly parking for the city when the market is not in use, Stinson explained.

Phase 2, which comes with a $2.4-million pricetag, would see more room built onto the east and west sides of the station for a combined total of an additional 3,320 square feet. The addition would be able to accommodate an additional 14 indoor vendors, bringing the total of 30 indoor stalls.

This phase will also see the kitchen enlarged into a community kitchen. A permanent outdoor canopy structure will replace the temporary tent units.

The new Market Square will also have plaza monument recognizing the industries responsible for the creation of Sudbury, such as mining and forestry, Stinson said.

In choosing the CPR station, which was designated a heritage site for its historical, environmental and architectural significance, any development that takes place will maintain that strong presence within its setting and preserve the integrity of its relationship with existing buildings and tracks, Stinson said. The station was built in 1907, and it continues to loom large in the urban fabric of the city.

The majority of the panel settled on a governance model that would see the new market act independently from, but be accountable to city council. In arriving at this preferred structure, the panel reviewed five models including a facility that was city-owned and operated, city-owned and operated with an advisory panel, city-owned but non-profit operated, and privately owned and operated.

As a municipal service corporation, Market Square will be governed by a board of directors appointed by city council. The board will be responsible for all aspects of the market operations including budgeting, programming, promotions and maintenance. Annual reports to city council will be submitted.

It's the same governance structure in place at the Sudbury airport, which has experienced a tremendous amount of growth, Stinson said.

By going this route, “the sky's the limit,” Stinson said.

That was music to the ears of several councillors. Ward 5 Coun. Ron Dupuis said if the new market square can do half of what that group has done, “then it will be a guaranteed success.”

Standing in the way of what council has time and again called a win-win situation is the actual site acquisition. As such, Ward 7 Coun. Dave Kilgour added a “precautionary” amendment to ensure the city and vendors are able to move forward in positive manner, given the uncertainty of the acquisition.

“I don't want anyone to read anything into this; it's just a contingency plan,” he said. “(The new market) has to be ready to open next summer, and a contingency plan will accommodate Market Square at a temporary location, and then a permanent location in the downtown” (should the acquisition fall through).

Market Square vendor and spokesperson Christine Koltun said a lot of great work has gone into the selecting the site and putting in place a plan for the new market. She called council's acceptance of the advisory panel's recommendations a “very positive move, and I'm very excited about the idea of this new market – the vendors want it.”

Ward 12 Coun. Joscelyne Landy-Altmann said last fall, when Laurentian University identified the current Market Square site as its preferred location for its school of architecture, and the city subsequently sold the property, it left “an uncertain future.”

“People were fearful, but now there's hope for what the market can be,” she said.

Posted by Arron Pickard

Arron Pickard

About the Author: Arron Pickard

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