A local architecture firm has taken advantage of the downtime from the COVID-19 pandemic to create a new vision for the Sudbury Community Arena.
3rdLine.Studio said in a press release it has focused much of its attention on how the arena could be revitalized as both an investment for the future and a salute to the past.
It’s all part of what they have deemed Project NOW — a multi-pronged plan targeting strategic projects throughout the city, using the existing borrowed capital of $200 million as leverage, to make many projects happen simultaneously: roads, infrastructure, community facility renewal and new builds.
The firm said renovating and expanding the existing arena would be 40 per cent cheaper than building a new arena on The Kingsway. The leftover capital can be used for other projects, such as a twin pad arena in Valley East, an aquatic centre in Azilda, a rebuild of Lorne Street, or a motorsports park.
The renovation would support many businesses in the community, said the firm in a news release. It would take about three years and would not interrupt the Sudbury Wolves or Sudbury Five schedules.
“Project NOW does not pretend to have all the answers,” said Tim James, principal at 3rdLine.Studio. “It doesn’t claim to know all of the strategic projects that will come into play across our community, but a re-imagining of the Sudbury Community Arena is a very good place to start.”
Project NOW could be the proverbial silver lining in an otherwise dark cloud, better known as COVID-19, said the firm.
“With the shutdown of construction in March, we found ourselves with time that we could choose to spend in many different ways, but we collectively thought, what better use of time than to look forward to what a post-COVID community might look like?” said Angele Dmytruk, one of the firm’s partners. “And we wanted to make a local contribution that would be both helpful and immediate.”
COVID-19 has hit the economy hard. Although Sudburians have been fortunate that major employers in mining, manufacturing and other essential services have been allowed to continue operating, the city has nonetheless been adversely affected by the impact of the pandemic, said the firm in the news release.
Cutbacks, layoffs, travel restrictions and border closures, social isolation and deaths — the pandemic has changed our outlook. It has created much uncertainty and anxiety for the future, and it’s not over.
“As architects, we are trained to listen closely and consider what we’ve heard to create spaces that reflect our clients’ needs, their available resources, as well as the impacts on the environment,” said James. “This is most important when we think of social spaces. What we heard often is the anxiety around a deep COVID-19-driven recession and the need to develop a significant plan to address new economic realities, and how best to address the variety of community wants and needs.”
During their research, the firm was often reminded the city has taken a $200-million loan to make community investments, “but that the reality is this money can’t simply be returned,” said James.
They considered how the Sudbury community can wisely invest its way out of this economic crisis, and how best to use available capital as a lever to obtain additional contributions from other levels of government, stimulate maximum investment from the public and private sectors and to upgrade our city’s amenities.
“Our spending must be strategic,” James said. “It needs to support many projects. That’s why we are calling it project NOW.”
To see the full presentation, visit projectnow.info.