Sudbury council offers more support to Place des Arts in 2023 budget

Ward 6 Coun. Rene Lapierre asked that the 2023 budget include more support for Place des Arts, amounting to a 0.02 per cent levy increase.

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Place des Arts will receive increased support from city hall this year.

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During council budget talks on Wednesday, Ward 6 Coun. Rene Lapierre, who sits on the Place des Arts board, introduced an amendment asking that the 2023 budget be modified to include increased support for the facility “with an ongoing annual net levy impact of $50,787, a 0.02 per cent levy increase.”

While there was significant discussion about the merits of supporting Place des Arts — some councillors were concerned the ask will increase each year — Lapierre reminded his colleagues “the facility is running well.”

While the groups behind Place des Arts had to pivot during the pandemic and adjust their design, it is “up and running,” Lapierre said. “It’s the only project that is large in nature that has happened — in excess of $33 million.”

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Place des Arts was one of several large projects the municipality decided to support following a community meeting in November 2015. It’s also the only one of the large projects to become a reality.

At that time, council also supported a new events centre, which evolved into the Kingsway Entertainment District before it was cancelled last year; a new art gallery and library, now known as The Junction; and a convention centre.

Place des Arts, located at the corner of Elgin and Larch Streets, is a performing arts centre and cultural hub for the regional Francophone community. It includes a bistro, the Theatre du Nouvel-Ontario and the Galerie du Nouvel-Ontario, as well as a gift shop and bookstore.

Ward 1 Coun. Mark Signoretti said “every year, it seems like we’re giving more and more.” He contrasted Place des Arts with the Caruso Club, which he said has been around for 75 years and has never asked the city for a dime to cover operating costs.

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“I want to make sure this is it, that they’re not coming back for more,” Signoretti said.

Lapierre explained the ask from Place des Arts is not for new money; rather, it is part of a long-term commitment the city made in 2017 to contribute to operating costs.

“We’ve always shown support, but we piece-mealed their ask over years so it wouldn’t have a large impact on the operating budget,” he explained. “It’s just the last part of that initial funding they requested from 2017 onward.”

In the end, only Ward Coun. Michael Vagnini opposed the motion.

Council finalized the 2023 budget on Thursday. It includes a tax increase of 4.6 per cent and a water/wastewater spike of 4.8 per cent.

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