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Olivier says he will fight for a new downtown arena

By: Sudbury Northern Life Staff

 | May 29, 2014 - 2:49 PM |
Sudbury Liberal candidate Andrew Olivier said Wednesday he will fight for a new sports and entertainment complex in downtown Sudbury if he is elected.

The Sudbury Arena was built in 1951 and has been plagued with problems recently.

Over the past 14 years, the state of the complex has worsened, requiring millions of dollars in capital upgrades. OHL games have even been cancelled because of poor arena conditions.

“We all love the old barn and I have some great memories there with my late father,” Olivier said in a release. “But the arena is 63 years old. At this point, the costs of continuously patching it up is becoming a money pit and something of a provincial embarrassment, to be honest.”

Olivier said he has heard many times that Sudbury can't attract more contemporary musical acts due in part to the state of the arena.

“Look, I like ZZ Top as much as the next person,” he said. “But the fact is it’s not 1984 and major current musical acts are skipping Sudbury — and not just for Toronto — they’re bypassing us to perform in places like North Bay and Sault Ste. Marie.”

If elected, Olivier said he will immediately begin discussions with his senior colleagues in the Liberal government on how to leverage provincial funding and get this project going.

“The Liberals promised and delivered on the School of Architecture which has helped revitalize the downtown core,” he said. “And, like that project, this arena may require all three levels of government to come to the table — but someone has to get the ball rolling. And, I will fight to get the province to come to the table with money to get this started. Sudbury deserves better.”

According to the not-for-profit Canadian Recreational Facilities Council, the average life expectancy of an arena is about 35 years. The Sudbury Arena is almost twice that age.

Some estimates have pegged the price of a new downtown Sudbury facility at between $30 million and $85 million.

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