Greater Sudbury is a wonderful city! I’m third generation here. Although I’ve visited many bigger cities from coast to coast with so much more opportunity and things to do, I’m still here! I’ve lived through many disputable and controversial issues of Greater Sudbury, however lately the main issue I see is the counteractive bickering of our issues which are carelessly being tossed around rather than planned out due to lack of solid leadership and more importantly a serious lack of a solid vision.
We live in the North, our roads will always be crumbling with the extreme weather so let’s face it and deal with it! This should never have been a part of the voting on the legacy projects.
The main fact that most don’t want higher taxes is perfectly understandable, however everyone should admit that the ideas of a School of Architecture, the Arts Centre and a Sports Complex are great ideas. So let’s start there instead of plainly saying “NO” and start asking when, how, and where.
Let’s face it, all things have costs and costs will always go up. If someone needs a new car to get to work, they can’t just say “now’s not a good time”. They must buy one and rough out the payments for a few years. Cities do the same and within a few years everyone will adjust.
The Community Stakeholders’ Task Force on the Future of the Local Mining Industry stated in September of 2006, that “Building a Sustainable Community fearlessly sets the agenda for Greater Sudbury to be the mining centre of excellence, not only in Canada, but the world (and) The report shows the “company town” has matured.”
When will Greater Sudbury fearlessly set an agenda? When will city council realize that we have matured? I wonder this every time I pass the farmer’s market downtown. This being the latest built amenity to host cultural activity and socializing shamefully depicts anything modern or mature indeed.
As a boy matures he’ll notice new things, different interests and a changed voice. Where are those new things in Sudbury and where is its changed voice? As for the growing multitude of (what are now) underground interests within Greater Sudbury, there are no venues for them to flourish due to reluctance of change, diversity and a reluctance to spend money to build. Consequently we lose a lot of money when people go to other cities in search of those venues!
If we build it, they will come … or at least stay.
We can all see, as in any growing city, the subtle changes around Greater Sudbury: the evident albeit reluctant transformation of the downtown core, the growing millennium mall, the new hotel chains coming to the city and more. Our maturity is evident because the change is evident. If we don’t continue to advocate making more available amenities to house related growing demands and changes, they too will go elsewhere and spend their money elsewhere.
Running a city is much like running a business where the citizens are the customers and employers all in one. Greater Sudbury must educate their “clientele” that in order to earn money we must first invest money. However this is not just about money, it’s about principal, morale and definition of what Greater Sudbury is now and what we are becoming.
Laurel Myers states in one of her articles “…one man had a vision … a vision to inform and communicate with the employees (...) through a monthly newsletter…”. Where is Greater Sudbury’s monthly newsletter to inform and communicate with the citizens? When will city council get their act together, create a solid vision, stick to it and inform and communicate it to the citizens?
Money is tight, yes, but with a solid vision for us to work towards the money will come eventually, if not from small temporary tax increases then from other options such as the recent government uploading initiatives and other funding. We have to educate those who are opposed to spending money that these are great ideas and that they will bring more people and more money in the long run.
What we can’t afford is to lose any more opportunities in which would enable us to grow into a diversified “centre of excellence”, a leader in arts, education, science, mining, medicine, environment and overall enjoyment of living. We can’t afford to lose any more skilled and motivated residents to “bigger and better” cities because they’re bored or lack culture.
We all need to be on the same page. If there was a documented vision for Greater Sudbury, this would be possible. The people must be educated in the GREATER picture to enable them to see beyond the present fear of lack of funds. We need to fearlessly move forward.
Kèv N. Rayner
Third generation GSA resident and visionary