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Sudbury Votes to Seek RFPs on Arena

Sudbury Wolves

The City of Sudbury is sticking to its original process for studying a new arena, as the city council has opted to seek RFPs on the proposal.

Perhaps the biggest question discussed in recent months has been the site of the arena. Following the purchase of the Sudbury Wolves by Dario Zulich, it was believed by some that the True North Strong Event Centre–a proposal backed by Zulich and other investors–was the likely concept for a new arena. However, some have argued that rather than being constructed along the Kingsway–which is what the True Strong North concept calls for–the arena should be built in downtown Sudbury or another location.

With the Wolves a likely tenant for the arena, Ward 5 councilman Robert Kirwan argued that the process could be accelerated because of Zulich’s purchase of the team. Through a motion that called for an RFP to be in place by January, Kirwan attempted to sway his colleagues, but was unsuccessful, as the council voted against his proposal by a 9-2 margin.

Instead, the city will finalize an RFP in the spring or early summer of 2017. Zulich, for his part, still believes the process can move forward but is concerned that the council’s decision will prolong the process. More from

Zulich attended Tuesday’s meeting, and walked out before the final vote. He said it wasn’t because he was upset.

“Our team was playing in Barrie and I needed to get in touch with (them),” he said. “I’ve got a hockey team to run.”

But he has heard from many in the community who were hoping council would get moving on the project,

“A lot of people would like to see something happen,” Zulich said. “And so does council, frankly. It’s just going to take a little longer than we would all like to see.

“We don’t want to make decisions in haste, for sure. All good things take time (So) I’m disappointed, but I’m still optimistic that it’s going to happen. It’s just a matter of when.”

The city has targeted June 2017 as the completion deadline for the RFP, but believes that it could be ready by March depending on the work involved, according to Sudbury mayor Brian Bigger.

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