City of Greater Sudbury:State of the City Address – 2013 – by Mayor Marianne Matichuk (June 20, 2013)

(Check against Delivery)

For video presentation, go to … http://prezi.com/jppg_zap9kio/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy

City of Opportunity

Good afternoon Ladies and Gentlemen and thank you for taking time from your busy schedules to attend this year’s State of the City Address. Bonjour … Aannii … C’est un honneur d’être ici aujourd’hui …

This is my third address and it is something I look forward to every year. Before I go any further, there are several people I want to thank and acknowledge.

First, the Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce for not only hosting today’s event, but for your relentless efforts in advocating for business and increased prosperity in Greater Sudbury. I would like to thank today’s sponsors – The OLG, Eastlink, Porter Airlines and Vale … Events like these would not be possible without the support of our valued community sponsors.

I’d like to begin with two items that have come before City Council in recent weeks that really stand out for me …

First, our planning department tells us the population of Greater Sudbury is expected to grow in the coming 25 years … it’s just a matter of how much. In fact, during the next term of council, our population will likely return to its all-time high of 171,000 people, recorded in 1971.

After more than a generation of loss, decline and cutting back … our city-wide recovery effort is paying dividends … and, as we’ll discuss later … is nearly complete.

The other item is one of our city’s success stories … the Greater Sudbury Airport.

The airport, as many of you know, has been restructured and reborn in the past few years.

As an independent business unit within the city, the airport is constantly improving its facilities and services to meet the needs of Greater Sudburians and our visitors.

Even now, the airport is in the midst of a $6-million upgrade.

A sincere thank-you goes to Bob Johnston and his team at the airport …

… it has been transformed into a fitting symbol of our improving reputation with … and connections to … the global community.

And I’ll talk more about Greater Sudbury’s place in the world later, too.

But first, a let’s spend some time on the here and now.

Last year, I spoke to you about the remarkable development boom that is transforming Greater Sudbury.

And I asked you to consider what the next few years will bring for our community … here are a few highlights and updates to remind you …

The current value of mining investment, confirmed or planned for Sudbury, over the next five years, is still approaching $6 billion. This includes new and deeper mines … smelter retrofits … and environmental initiatives.

Northern Ontario’s Ring of Fire is thought to hold as much as $50-billion worth of minerals. It is the most important mineral discovery in North America in a generation … one with the potential to create one or two more cities the size of Greater Sudbury.

One of the biggest players in the Ring of Fire, Cliffs Natural Resources, has established plans to build a $2.2-billion ferrochome smelter in Greater Sudbury … after a delegation I led to Cleveland secured this investment.

There has been some concern about Cliff’s commitment to this project … but I remain optimistic. If we’ve learned anything in 100 years of mining in Greater Sudbury, it’s that a good business case always wins out.

At the city, we will continue to do everything we can to facilitate Cliffs’ investment …

It may not be quick … but we’ll get there. Just as a large ocean-going tanker cannot turn on a dime … or in this case, a nickel … it still arrives in good time.

As well, one of Sudbury’s oldest, most storied and most prolific mines is soon to be reborn. Victoria Mine near Worthington is likely the largest new mineral deposit found in Sudbury in a generation and will be hard to beat.

KGHM’s investment will be a $750-million, seven-year new mine development representing a significant expansion of Sudbury’s mining infrastructure.

I AM Gold’s proposed Cote Lake project, between Sudbury and Timmins, is expected to mean more than $1 billion in total investment … much of it to be sourced in Greater Sudbury.

It is expected to generate 60,000 tonnes of ore a day for 15 years, and employ 1,200 workers during construction and 500 during operation, most of whom are expected to travel from Sudbury.

Also new this year … Xstrata Zinc is on track to reopen two mines in Sudbury by 2016.

The Errington and Vermillion mines, which have been closed for decades, are proving to be attractive again with a number of large zinc mines closing around the world.

It’s a $350-million capital project, with 250 direct jobs and more jobs during construction, which could start as early as next year.

As well, Vale continues its $1 billion sulfur abatement program.

Though scaled down, the CLEAN AER Project remains one of the most significant environmental investments in the history of Ontario, if not Canada.

All told … a recent study showed the mining sector in Greater Sudbury alone will require more than 21,400 new workers … mostly skilled trades, technologists and engineers … in the coming 10 years to meet this demand.

These are staggering numbers! … And that’s just mining … there’s so much more going on in our community … More than 3 million tourists visit our region every year, many to take in our world-class attractions, such as Science North and Dynamic Earth, thanks to the vision of leaders like George Lund, Risto Laamanen, Jim Marchbank and Guy Labine. Visitors spend close to $1 billion in northeastern Ontario every year.

Building on a world-class Northern Ontario Cancer research program, Greater Sudbury’s teaching hospital has created the Advanced Medical Research Institute of Canada (AMRIC) to investigate and develop promising new treatments that target geriatric medicine, chronic and infectious diseases and cancer.

In its infancy, the research facility is expected to generate $45 million to $55 million this year in spin-off activity.
Today, just as last year, there remains an incredible sense of energy, optimism and prosperity in our city.

A few weeks ago, I was at the Federation of Canadian Municipalities conference in Vancouver, with several councillors … and one thing I heard repeatedly from people I met from across the country was … “So Sudbury is really booming! Things must be great there?”

Yes! … yes we are booming … just as last year … and the whole country knows it … and much of the country is still envious.

But what I want to talk to you about today is the longer-term future … where we’re going as a city and what the next generation has to look forward to.

Earlier this year, I opened up my office to a couple of remarkable young women … Grade 10 students … who earned the right to call themselves Mayors for a Day.

Laura Graham from Lasalle Secondary School and Paige Marcil from Marymount Academy created thoughtful and inspiring videos on their vision for Greater Sudbury over the coming 25 years.

Not surprisingly, both said they wanted more for teenagers to do in our community, such as a water park, laser tag and retail shopping …

… And, for the record, I agree whole-heartedly with them … and I am still working with a couple of groups to make these things happen …

I was reminded of when I was a teenager in Sudbury … and one of the most common complaints then … as now … was there’s nothing to do in Sudbury.

I remember class trips to the Science Centre and the Museum in Toronto and asking teachers … why can’t we have these things in Sudbury?

The answer was always a shrug … we just don’t. And that was it … Sudbury just didn’t have these things.

Well, you know what … today we have Science North and Dynamic Earth, the third and seventh largest science centres in Canada! And we have so much more that seemed inconceivable when I was a child.

In a generation, we went from “no, we can’t” … to “yes, we can” … to “yes, we did!”

In all the kids I have the pleasure of meeting, tours through my office or out in the community, I get a sense of this spirit of optimism … this sense that anything is possible.

They ask the question … “Why not?” … just as our generation did.

Quite simply, the answer is … there is no reason “why not” anymore …
Children today get that … they are as optimistic as I am … as optimistic as all of us here today … and I thank them for reminding me of why I wanted to be mayor of this great city!

And so that’s what I want to talk to you about today … a vision for a modern, vibrant city of the future that we all share …
… a city that continues down the path of environmental sustainability … a city that offers employment choices to its youth …
… a city that offers continuous learning opportunities … a city that grows culturally and artistically …
… a city that inspires optimism in our own children about their future here.
… I want to share with you a vision for Greater Sudbury that our children will inherit …

I want to talk about the destiny of Greater Sudbury … about a City of Opportunity!

The key to seizing opportunities is making connections … the right connections at the right times.

I’ve listed some achievements already … real and measurable achievements … they are the achievements of my office, of city council, of city staff and, of particular note today, of the many partners we work with daily … so many of you in this room today … who have worked so hard to make ours a great city.

So let me continue by drawing a few more connections … connections within our city … within our people … within our landscape …

… the kinds of connections our children will have to make as they become decision makers.

These connections are:

  • Taxes and Spending …
  • Partnerships and the Economy …
  • Pride and Image …
  • A Healthy City is a Wealthy City

Taxes and Spending

Of course, our city’s finances are always top of mind … so let’s start with Taxes and Spending.

There is genuine unfairness about a tax system that sees municipalities receiving 11% of tax revenue generated along with maintaining 65% of the capital infrastructure.

A true legend of Canadian politics … and one of my political inspirations, Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion, a leader I’m proud to call a friend … describes the situation best …

… Many times Hazel has said that “the federal government has all the money, the province has all the power and the municipalities have all the problems.”

I’m proud of the progress city council and staff have made in keeping taxes low. Consider what we’ve done in three years:

• I started going through the budget line by line three years ago, and staff and council are now doing it, too.
• As a council, we have now set inflation as the benchmark for tax increases.
• As a council, we will also be looking for more savings throughout 2013 through efficiencies and attrition. Look for the city to sell off buildings we don’t need any more and put more services under the microscope.

• In the mayor’s office, I have led by example by freezing my salary and coming in substantially under budget in each of the last two years … and councillors have also come in under budget.

But it’s not just a matter of shaving a little money off this cost centre or that budget … that is important work and it’s something I’ve been doing for three years … going line by line, questioning our spending and finding ways to cut back.
As I said earlier … I’m proud of the work our city council and staff have done on this front … and the commitments we have made to continue to find savings for taxpayers.

For the 2013 budget, for example, some of the initiatives driving down costs include:
• Co-ordinating grass cutting across departments;
• Rationalizing user fees and aligning them with costs;
• Reducing the size of the city’s fleet and reducing leased vehicle usage;
• Reducing amount of contracted services and doing more work in-house;
• Review of energy use … expect more savings in the future as energy costs decline;
• Review of city-owned lands and buildings for consolidation or disposal.

All of this amounts to a savings of $2.8 million in the budget in 2013 through efficiencies and attrition. That’s more than one percentage point off the tax levy … or the property taxes from 560 hard working Greater Sudbury families put back in their pockets.

That’s great news …

However, the real work … and the tough decisions … still lie ahead.

The biggest savings for taxpayers lie in one simple question:

What services must the city of Greater Sudbury provide to citizens?
Vs.
What services does the city choose to provide to citizens?

In this question lies infinite opportunity …

Opportunities to better understand the services we provide citizens and taxpayers … opportunities to improve those services …

… Opportunities to determine what programs and services are most valued by citizens and taxpayers and ensure they are put on a long-term sustainable path …

… Opportunities to assure we’re providing value for money to the citizens and taxpayers of our community!

In 2012, for example, we spent more than $60 million on programs that are neither mandated, nor considered essential.
Many are traditional … and valuable … services, such as land reclamation and lake water quality programs, that contribute immeasurably to the quality of life in Greater Sudbury.

Many more, however, will need to be put under a microscope in the coming years:
• Taxpayers will subsidize a municipal child-care program close to $300,000 in 2013.
• Taxpayers subsidize trailer parks and campgrounds to the tune of $110,000 a year;
• Taxpayers also subsidize two fitness centres a total of $370,000 a year;
• We subsidize community halls a total of $600,000 a year.

Recently, I’ve also asked questions about the way we tender contracts … in particular, the provision that contractors have to purchase all new or refurbished equipment.

As I’ve said all along, there is potential to save taxpayers millions of dollars by asking questions like these.

All in all … we need to do more to strike the right balance between what we need to do at Tom Davies Square … and what we want and can afford to do …

We’ve asked the right questions … and gotten most of the right answers.

We have developed the tools to deliver efficient, effective and accountable services to citizens of our great city … and now we need to use them.
And maybe we can do better still … maybe, with these tools at our disposal … we can start moving towards a 0% tax increase!

Other cities have done it … why can’t we?

It’s a simple question … why not?

We are 12 full years into the 21st Century … but in many ways we continue to operate in a culture and framework that dates back decades.

While the city and its economy are firmly progressing into the century, it’s important that our institutions like municipal government, are not still operating as if it were the 1990s.

Private business has its own discipline for companies that cannot innovate to keep up with the pace of change.
They go out of business.

In government, we face the same relentless changes … but we don’t have the same external force driving continuous improvement.

So we need to create conditions that will foster that change.

That is an ongoing process … a challenge … but one I assure you I remain as committed to today as the day I was elected.

Partnerships and the Economy

The second theme I would like to explore is the key to economic growth in the modern world … Partnerships and Opportunity.
As we’ve established, Greater Sudbury is in the midst of a generational development boom.

All of this growth requires workers. It requires skilled trades, technologists, engineers and designers …

In short, Greater Sudbury needs to reverse a decades-long brain drain.

One of the principal challenges our great city faces over the next few years is ensuring there are enough skilled workers to meet this demand.

I am working with community leaders now on a skilled labour attraction and retention strategy designed to meet our long-term labour needs, including some international partnerships.

I know the chamber has also been instrumental in advocating for measures designed to close the skilled labour gap in our community …

And I thank Debbi Nicholson and chair Mark Weiman for their leadership on this issue … as well as Reggie Caverson from Workforce Planning …

… Resolving these issues now will be crucial to our city down the road.

In September, we officially opened a new film studio in Greater Sudbury … I remember clearly when David Anselmo and Pierre Bonhomme came to my office and met with me and councillors Belli, Kilgour and Craig about their dream of a production facility.

And I thought … why not? … and the result is we were able to help them out and take an old arena off the city’s books.
A new made-in-Ontario television show … Hard Rock Medical based loosely on characters in our new school of medicine … has been shot in and around Sudbury and is premiering now on TVOntario.

Today, film production brings about $10 million a year in direct spending … and it is employing and mentoring young people in our city.

And it has brought the likes of Ryan Reynolds, Richard Dreyfuss and Lou Gossett Jr. to our community … and the promise of more Hollywood stars to come.

A few months ago, I helped Health Sciences North announce plans for the Advanced Medical Research Institute of Canada …
Thanks to the leadership of Dr. Denis Roy, Dr. Francisco Diaz-Mitoma and the hospital’s board of directors … AMRIC is projected to make a substantial contribution to the economy of Northern Ontario with direct spending of over $20 million per year.

By 2021 it is estimated that AMRIC will add approximately $250 million to Greater Sudbury’s economy.

AMRIC is an excellent example of how Greater Sudbury … and its partners … continue to enhance our reputation as a world-class centre of research and innovation …

And of what is making our community successful in the 21st century.

Sudbury is strategic and forward thinking … Constantly looking to the future, we have learned how to overcome challenges – and turn trials into opportunities, and opportunities into successes.

And the world is taking notice.

Last year, I connected with the Canada Nevada Business Council during the MINExpo conference in Las Vegas.
Not long after, Frank Spady, the CEO of CNBC, Bob Groesbeck, Vice President Government Affairs/General Counsel, and Larry Scheffler, COO, were invited by me to visit Greater Sudbury and make connections with the city’s business and community leaders.

Why is this important?

Canada is Nevada’s largest trading partner. Nevada exports $1.3 billion in goods to Canada and imports $814 million in goods from Canada. The largest percentage of goods from Canada are equipment and machinery, making up 20%.

In Nevada, 60,300 jobs depend on trade with Canada while 9,700 people are employed by 150 Canadian-owned businesses operating in Nevada, mostly in the mining sector.

This is a significant opportunity to foster partnerships and promote Greater Sudbury on a global stage.

The CNBC quickly realized expertise in our community extends well beyond mining …

… In Greater Sudbury, they found applied research in environmental technology and land rehabilitation, as well as in occupational health and safety …

… they found SNOLAB, the world’s deepest underground laboratory, and one of the most prominent astro-particle research facilities in the world …

… and they found a world-class teaching and research hospital and medical school.

In short, what they found … what everyone who comes to Greater Sudbury finds … is OPPORTUNITY.

A couple of months ago, I accepted an invitation to sit as an honourary member of the CNBC board.

In April I travelled to Las Vegas as a guest of the council to meet with key community, business and mining industry executives.

I want to thank Don Duval at NORCat and Doug Morrison at CEMI for reaching out and making these connections with Nevada …
Memorandums of understanding are in place … with more to come … stay tuned!

I know members of the CNBC are excited about the future of our city and very much want to be a part of it. This is the beginning of a long and prosperous partnership.

Similarly, I had the opportunity late last year to attend Toronto Region Board of Trade event at which I met dozens of business people with global reach.

I have also met provincial and federal officials about the city’s long-overdue Maley Drive project, and I have met and will continue to meet with leaders from other communities and even other countries to promote Greater Sudbury.

Being able to share with others the wealth of experience, knowledge and opportunity in Greater Sudbury is one of the highlights of this office.

As mayor, I’m prepared to knock on doors to make these connections and build these relationships.

As a city, we must be committed to fostering these new partnerships. We must be able to say, to ourselves and to potential partners: “We are here to help you realize your goals. Because, when you are successful … we are all successful!”

Our growing reputation as the Silicon Valley of mining innovation is well earned. Our task now is to continue to tell the world that we are open for business … and then get down to business.

Image and Community Pride

The third theme I would like to explore is one I hear about constantly … leveraging Greater Sudbury’s always-improving Image and Community Pride to tell the world how great we are.

Do you know what sets Greater Sudbury apart from most other communities? … What is attracting investors here from all over the world? … What is inspiring these partnerships?

One word … INNOVATION …

As Dick DeStefano from SAMSSA has likely told all of us at one time … “We need to sell our intelligence to the world.”

Greater Sudbury was built on a solid foundation as a hard rock mining centre … it has been built on generations of vision and entrepreneurial spirit …

Our city’s leaders asked the question … Why Not? … and the answer was to create a city that has become a globally recognized centre of innovation and applied research in mining and mining related technology.

That tradition has continued … Greater Sudbury has become a world leader in environmental restoration, specialized process and product development … even astrophysics research … all because of mining.

Greater Sudbury is an exporter to the world … not just of nickel and other minerals … more importantly, we now export ingenuity … we sell our ideas, our skills and our expertise to the world.

How are we doing this?

Well, it all starts at home … and often with small or simple things.

Late last year, Sudbury was named most entrepreneurial city in Ontario by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.
In its analysis, the federation singled out cities “where local governments are trying their hardest to support entrepreneurship and where business owners themselves rate their governments most highly.”

The city has also launched a new, easy-to-navigate website … as well as a comprehensive communications strategy called “City With a Voice.”

We are working with community partners to establish a Rock of Fame in the downtown core to celebrate successful, dedicated members of our city and to recognize our city’s ambassadors.

Over the past century, Sudbury introduced hundreds of interesting and successful people to the world … people who went on to be leaders in their fields …

Now is the time to introduce the world to Sudbury …

I have asked the GSDC to design a marketing and branding campaign for the city. Work on this strategy has already begun.
The purpose of the campaign will be to connect and position the city, tourism, business development, Regional Business Centre and other brands.

We are a city of innovation and technology development … a centre of excellence in mining, health care, education and tourism … and that is the message we need to communicate to the world in everything we do and say.
This strategy is expected to be rolled out next fall.

While we’re on the subject of image, I want to make something else clear … something I don’t think has been spoken about enough …

The investments we’re making in our downtown … a healthy city needs a healthy downtown and our downtown is being transformed before our eyes.

The Downtown Master Plan lays out a number of exciting opportunities … and many are already in the pipeline.

The new Downtown Market, the Elgin Street Greenway, the Rock of Fame, the new school of architecture all represent opportunities to build infrastructure and confidence in our downtown.

Eighteen months ago, I spearheaded negotiations to sell the old market to Laurentian University … and get a fair price for taxpayers …

And last summer, I again spearheaded the purchase of the new market property … the historic CP Rail building. We paid one dollar for that building, and $475,000 for the property it sits on … well under market value, and well within the project budget.

Council has made it clear the city needs and wants a strong and successful farmers market in the downtown core … but it must be financially sustainable.

We must rebuild the market … better than ever … and set it on a sustainable course.

I should also point out the impact Laurentian Architecture will have on our downtown … and on our city ….

Though it will open this fall with its first 60 students, in full operation it will have more than 400 undergraduate and graduate students, most of whom will live in or around downtown.

The student body alone will spend about $15 million annually in downtown Sudbury pubs and restaurants … on food, books, supplies and clothes. That does not include more than 40 faculty and staff.

And these are not normal students … This group will be particularly creative, energetic and urbane … and this is the real opportunity for Greater Sudbury.

These students and faculty will come to downtown Sudbury from across Canada not just for a university degree, but to turn our city into a living laboratory for ideas and designs.

This school is going to inject new life into downtown … the new school will foster a better understanding of the far-reaching benefits of good design while nurturing a northern culture of design.

Again, because of the leadership of community leaders and dedication of our partners … Dominic Giroux, Rick Bartolucci and the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund, Tony Clement and FedNor … Laurentian Architecture, once a dream, will soon be a reality.

I also need to thank this council … for its support and hard work in ensuring this project remains downtown.

From the initial sketch to a $40-million investment in our downtown … Together, we asked the question … “Why Not?” … and it turned out there was no reason why not … so we did it!

Laurentian Architecture … like Science North, the medical school, the hospital … and so many other community partners … will redefine Greater Sudbury’s identity … and also play a lead role in promoting our city and its new identity.

And so, this fall, we will celebrate the next step in our evolution from a mining camp to world-class centre of research and innovation … to a centre whose people create knowledge and wealth …

… A city that is a global a leader in design and development …

… A city that is a beacon of sustainable growth and development … for Ontario … for Canada … and beyond …

A Healthy City is a Wealthy City

The last theme I would like to explore is the truly superior quality of life Greater Sudburians enjoy … because a Healthy City is a Wealthy City.

No city in the world has been more dramatically transformed over the past 30 years than Sudbury.

The fruits of regreening are obvious to everyone who steps outdoors. These efforts have brought his community a raft of awards and recognition … but more importantly, they present us with a wealth of opportunity.

In fact, the city almost swept the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ Green Cities awards this year … the Brownfield strategy won the FCM sustainable communities award … and Bill Lautenbach, our general manager of Growth and Development, won the Green Champion award.

Our new Biodiversity Action Plan takes regreening much, much further.

Researchers are perfecting a plan to cut out mats of shrubs and wildflowers from floors of healthy forests and transplant them to less mature forests.

You know, only a generation ago, Sudbury was famous for having no trees … but in a generation or two, Sudbury’s pine forests, some as old as 80 years, will be mature and abundant enough to selectively harvest again.

Another key step taken by this council is the directive for the city to undertake watershed level studies to ensure the protection of one our most precious resources … our 330 lakes and countless rivers and creeks.

You will hear more about this exciting new development in the coming months.

Speaking of council, in the past year we’ve also passed a strict new smoking ban in local parks, playgrounds and playing fields … and more may be coming …

… and we are the first community in Ontario to implement a phosphorus ban to protect lakes and rivers …

And, I hasten to point out, these progressive measures were the results of unanimous votes at city council.
Our city is also developing strategies to recognize the changing face of our population.

In the past couple of years, I’ve attended many events organized by and for older adults in our community. New residences, older adult recreation centres, games, celebrations, competitions … seniors truly are among the most active segments of our population!

The face of the elderly population in Greater Sudbury is changing, with older adults accounting for the fastest growing segment of our city. This age category is expected to increase dramatically during the next 25 years and nearly double its share of the total population in 2031.

Clearly, we’re living longer and healthier lives and, as a community, we have to be ready for this.
Older adults are increasingly influencing our local economy and are playing an ever expanding role in society.
That presents our city with a lot of challenges … but also with opportunities.

One of the goals established by the City of Greater Sudbury and many of our partners is becoming a more seniors friendly community … a community that allows our growing older adult population to continue to thrive and prosper.

Recently, we have moved to set the North East Specialized Geriatric Services on a sustainable, long-term path. This centre, along with Pioneer Manor, leads the way in designing health and exercise regimens and rehabilitation and restorative care programs in northeastern Ontario.

At the city, we have passed a Healthy Community Charter and strategic plan, as well as the Sustainable Mobility Plan.
In fact, the Sustainable Mobility Plan is an ideal example of community building through partnerships …

The plan strives to make Greater Sudbury the most pedestrian friendly city in Ontario by 2015 … based on the 8 to 80 principle that anyone between the ages of 8 and 80 should be able to walk, ride or take the bus through the community in relative comfort and safety.

The plan stemmed from the City of Greater Sudbury’s Healthy Community Cabinet … a partnership was formed between City staff, the Sudbury & District Health Unit, the Greater Sudbury Social Planning Council, YMCA Sudbury, the Sudbury Regional Hospital and Rainbow Routes Association.

In this spirit, city council has committed $215,000 to complete the 18-kilometre Junction Creek Waterway Trail from Maley Drive to Kelly Lake.

Finishing the trail would enhance Greater Sudbury’s image, serve as a tourist destination, promote healthy lifestyles, offer an alternative transportation route through the city and show off a precious resource for the city.

As mayor, I am proud of the work the City and our many partners are doing to make Greater Sudbury a world-class city in which to live, work, play … and retire.

Conclusion

So what do I want you to take away from today?

I want you to take away the same inspiring message Laura and Paige and so many other young people have brought to me over the past couple of years.

Be positive. Greater Sudbury is in great shape. City council is committed to keep Sudbury as a thriving, prosperous, inclusive community through strong fiscal management, innovation and partnerships.

Be open to change. We have a meaningful Strategic Plan in place with a focused council and staff that understands our city’s priorities.

Be confident. We have so much to envy … so much intelligence … and resources at our disposal.
Be active. We will continue to look at how we engage the community as we work through our priorities and meet new challenges.

You know what?

Every community has potholes. Every community has infrastructure deficits. Every community has social challenges.
Every community has budget constraints. Every community has disagreements from time to time on key issues …

What’s important to remember is that, in Greater Sudbury, we have the tools to overcome all of these challenges.

What other community has successfully re-invented itself the way Greater Sudbury has, in just one generation?

What other community has transformed its economy as completely as we have … in just one generation?

What other community has so successfully taken advantage of the opportunities it has been presented with … and continues to create new opportunities?

Last October, our city hosted the annual Ontario Building Officials Association conference … more than 500 building officials from across Canada.

And you know where they met? In a tent in the Holiday Inn parking lot … because there is no single facility in Greater Sudbury large enough to hold such a gathering.

And I thought to myself … Why Not? … Why can’t we have a convention or multi-use space in our city?

And then the province reveals its casino modernization plans to us … in a matter of months, the OLG will likely introduce us to an investor we hope will bring millions of dollars to our community.

Will that mean a new convention centre or multi-use space? A hotel? An OHL-ready arena?

City council has already moved to ensure this investment is part of any new casino project … at no cost to taxpayers, of course.

And why can’t Greater Sudbury have an indoor water park? Stay tuned!
So I ask again … Why Not? … It’s worked before!

It’s in our DNA … this ability to reinvent ourselves … to reinvent our people … our institutions … our economy … we have even reinvented our landscape! …

We know what we want … we know what we need … and we know we are in this together.

And together we will continue to build a world-class city in which to live, work and play …
We will continue to build a City of Opportunity.

Thank you … chi meegwetch … merci …

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