Perfect opportunity to grow community, says [Sudbury] mayor – by Laura Stricker (Sudbury Star – June 22, 2012)

The Sudbury Star is the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper.

In her State-of-the-City Address in 2011, Mayor Marianne Matichuk said the issue of deregulating store hours, which was a cornerstone of her campaign, was “not dead.”

“If we are the only municipality in Ontario that’s not open for business, it’s a shame,” she told reporters at the time. “We are promoting ourselves as the retail spot in northeastern Ontario … If you don’t want to do it, get out of the way.”

One year later, in her State-of- the-City Address for 2012, the store hours issue received nary a mention.

“The main priority … is building this community,” Matichuk said after this year’s address, held Thursday at the Caruso Club. “We have a huge opportunity here … with all the money that’s being pumped in — we’ve got to look at that. We’ve got to look at growing people, we’ve got to look at growing our community.”

Her speech maintained that positive outlook, focusing largely on opportunities in the mining sector. “I would like to start off with an amazing number: $6.3 billion,” she said at the beginning of her speech.

“That is the current value of mining investment, confirmed or planned for Sudbury, over the next five years or so. This only includes capital projects by Vale, Cliffs, KGHM (formerly QuadraFNX) and Xstrata Nickel.”

Vale is making a huge investment into the environment, through the Clean AER (Atmospheric Emissions Reduction) Project. The project is basically a retrofit of the Copper Cliff Smelter Complex.

It will reduce sulphur dioxide emissions by 70% and particulate nickel and metals emissions by 35-40% when it is completed in 2015.

“The Clean AER Project is the most significant environmental investment in the his-tor y of Ontario, if not the entire country,” Matichuk told the Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce audience.

Cliffs Natural Resources choosing Capreol’s Moose Mountain site to build its chromite smelter was another coup for Sudbury, said Matichuk.

And the recently opened SNOLAB, located two kilometres deep at Vale’s Creighton Mine, is doing amazing things for the state of scientific research in Sudbury. SNOLAB is a 5,000-square-foot clean space, as free of radioactivity as any space could be.

“Scientists from across Canada and around the world focus on pure astrophysics research that sometimes results in technology with real-world applications, like GPS devices, PET scanners and MRIs. We should all be proud of this innovative and globally unique institute,” Matichuk said.

Back above ground, opportunities for Sudbury’s downtown core and movie industry were discussed.

“With a booming resource economy, I can’t think of a better time to focus on the renewal of our downtown.

“(The Downtown Master Plan) is a visionary document that will help guide the physical and cultural evolution of the central core during the next 30 years. The plan will also provide a solid basis for new private sector and government investments.”

The financial spinoff from film projects coming to Sudbury is remarkable, said Matichuk. Over the past year, the city has benefited from movie and TV projects The Truth, A Little Bit Zombie, Chasing Iris and Les Bleus de Ramville.

“Film production generates lots of business. For example, the movie The Truth resulted in nearly $4 million in economic spinoffs in just a few weeks.”

That spinoff is expected to continue, thanks to the construction of Northern Ontario’s first film studio, in the old Barrydowne Arena.

But all these good things don’t mean much if Sudbury can’t improve its image.

“One of council’s top priorities is to change our image … How many times do we continue to hear of people who are shocked or surprised at how much this community has changed since the 1970s?” she asked. “We all need to play a role in promoting Greater Sudbury as the vibrant, progressive and confident community we know it to be.

“Where else can you (live) and go to work, you can go swim, have a round of golf. You try doing that in a lot of communities, it’s not going to happen,” Matichuk said after addressing the chamber. “Yeah, we’re always going to have potholes in this city … But we have to look at all the good things. We have a great quality of life. We have great people in this community.

“We’ve got a good standard of living, we’ve got great jobs and we’ve got all this beautiful nature … We need to bring that pride back.”