Local CUPE representatives are raising concerns that city councillors are about to decide the future of Sudbury Community Arena – and any future replacement arena – without a true picture of the facility’s real value to residents and the city’s finances.
Making that decision without full public consultation and without all the financial facts puts at risk both a civic asset and the future revenue it could produce for the city, say the leaders of the city’s municipal workers.
Only two weeks after the proposed agreement was made public, city councillors will vote on Tuesday on whether to hand over the management and operation of Sudbury Community Arena to the Sudbury Wolves Hockey Club, which was purchased last year by local business owner and entrepreneur Dario Zulich. The proposal also gives the club responsibility for events and box office management.
The union that represents municipal workers in Sudbury has criticized the city’s report, which was presented to city council on May 31. The union also notes that the report makes its recommendations based solely on two years when the arena was in deficit (2014-2016).
“The arena is a resource that people in Sudbury own in common. Why would councillors vote to give it up?” asked Darryl Taylor, president of CUPE 4705.
“In fact, there are several things we don’t understand about this process,” continued Taylor. “Why haven’t historical financial data been included in this report? Why is the vote taking place only a couple of weeks after the report was made public? Why haven’t Sudbury residents had a chance to have their say? They are the arena’s owners, after all.”
Taylor has outlined these and other concerns in a letter to councillors. He also wants them to know that Sudbury Community Arena could be a money-maker for the city.
“With the right management and the right mix of acts and events, the arena could be an important source of revenue for the city. And the same goes for any future arena that would be built. Why would councillors give that away?”