April 02, 2019
Mayor Brian Bigger and City Council
City of Greater Sudbury
Tom Davies Square
P O Box 5000, Station A
Sudbury, ON P3A 5P3
Dear Mayor Bigger and City Council,
RE: The Junction Project
The Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce sees The Junction project as an important infrastructure investment for our city.
Greater Sudbury’s business community supports investments in our city’s infrastructure and believes that the major projects Council has green-lighted, will help bring economic growth and prosperity to our downtown and to the broader community.
Recently, we received an update on The Junction project and identified three areas of interest we wish to bring to your attention:
- a parking solution for the downtown;
- prioritizing economic opportunity in The Junction project; and
- ensuring fiscal responsibility with The Junction project.
Parking: It is well known that downtown Sudbury suffers from a shortage of easily-accessible parking. The development of major projects such as The Junction, Place des Arts, and the Elgin Greenway, will further exacerbate this problem as new construction will take over existing parking lots and on-street parking. It is our understanding that the city has convened a task force of senior managers to develop solutions for this issue. We believe it is essential that an effective parking solution be included as part of the planning for The Junction project rather than subsequent to it. Building The Junction without a parallel parking solution could have a severe adverse effect on the city’s return on its investment. We understand the city is considering private-sector solutions to the parking shortage. Such efforts are encouraging and commendable, however the process for securing a private-sector partner should be considered alongside the development of The Junction and not as a separate undertaking.
Economic Opportunity: The current status of the LPAT process has put the progress of the library/art gallery in limbo. We understand that Council has directed city staff to consider potential alternative sites for the library/art gallery project. The convention/performance centre project, to be located on an adjacent property to the current site of the arena, is not impacted by a LPAT decision. Despite the uncertainties surrounding the Kingsway Entertainment District, it is important that construction of the convention/performance centre proceed as expeditiously as possible. Council’s analysis of the convention/performance centre states the project is likely to support 174 direct jobs in the community and generate $2.3 million per year in direct economic activity. It holds promise for Greater Sudbury to become the choice location for conferences, trade shows, and performing and visual arts exhibitions in Northern Ontario. Although the library/art gallery is a much-needed undertaking, its economic impact is not as significant. While the chamber remains in support of the development of the library/art gallery, we feel that progress on the convention/performance centre should not be compromised while the future of the library/art gallery is determined.
Fiscal Responsibility: The chamber wants to emphasize the need for fiscal responsibility with regards to the investment in The Junction. It is our understanding that the project is proceeding to the design stage. We believe it is critical that the city conduct a geo-study of the site before proceeding with site design, if it has not already done so. As you know, Greater Sudbury’s downtown is built on wetlands, and constructing on these foundations can add significantly to a project’s costs. It is important that the city have a clear understanding of soil conditions prior to moving too far along to ensure budget and construction costs won’t be adversely affected.
We trust you will take our recommendations into consideration during the development of The Junction.
The Junction project, the Kingsway Entertainment District, and Place des Arts will be important landmarks for this city’s future. We commend Council for making bold decisions to invest in these projects. We look forward to the enhanced quality of life and economic prosperity they will afford our city.
Debbi M. Nicholson
PRESIDENT & CEO
cc Ed Archer, CAO, City of Greater Sudbury
Ian Wood, City of Greater Sudbury
Eleethea Savage, Manager of Special Projects, City of Greater Sudbury
*Mayor Brian Bigger responded to the Chamber’s letter on April 29, 2019. Read the full response here.*