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Noting that while Sudbury has the third largest mining cluster in the country —
behind Vancouver and Toronto — the province still does not recognize the expertise
that exists within its borders.
“All the political people in this city need to start hammering the province to recognize
Sudbury as the mining supply and technology centre for Ontario,” Robinson said. “We’ve got
a university, we’ve got mines — everything we need. What we don’t have is the province
saying they’re going to close down mining engineering in Toronto and move it up to Sudbury.
The province would be much better off doing this — it would save money and promote jobs.
So then it’s a political question.” (Professor David Robinson)
Picture Greater Sudbury in 2025: more residents living within the downtown core ” … bike lanes and paths criss-crossing and connecting all points of this sprawling city ” … robust industrial parks that capitalize on local expertise and drive socio-economic development ” … and a school of performing arts at Laurentian University.
These were just a few of the ideas participants brought to the table at last evening’s public input session, part of the Greater Sudbury Development Corporation’s economic visioning process.
Kyle McCall, a new homeowner in New Sudbury, spent the evening at the library listening and sharing his ideas.
“I think it’s important for the city to be embarking on stuff like this,” he said. “Something I’m going to advocate for — I know it’s a little cliche — are bike lanes. There’s not an easy way for me to get from home to work, even though I’m only five minutes away. I can take back alleys and residential streets, but there are really no designated bike lanes in New Sudbury, that I’m aware of or that I’ve seen.”
The environmental studies grad, who grew up in Garson, returned to the nickel city following university and currently works at the NORCAT innovation mill. He would also like to see an off-leash dog park for the area and more recreational centres.
“There are only a few spots in the city with beach volleyball courts and they’re all heavily used,” he contended. “There are tons of rec leagues in town and I think with even one or two more spaces, they’d be used regularly.”
McCall said the public input sessions offer a chance for residents to contribute and “to have their voices heard” by those at Tom Davies Square.
The GSDC announced its new strategic vision in December with an eye on 2025. What would make a professional want to set up home and shop in Greater Sudbury? What makes the city an attractive place for residents? What more can be done to grow the population?
“How about let’s get 10,000 more people within walking distance of downtown,” David Robinson, an economics professor at Laurentian University, posited, arguing suburban sprawl will undermine progress over the long-term.
Robinson was one of four participants who attended Monday’s session. It was a small, but vocal, gathering.
He argued the single biggest economic driver remains the mining supply cluster, but said there needs to be a council overseeing the sector and advocating on its behalf to those outside the city.
Noting that while Sudbury has the third largest mining cluster in the country — behind Vancouver and Toronto — the province still does not recognize the expertise that exists within its borders.
“All the political people in this city need to start hammering the province to recognize Sudbury as the mining supply and technology centre for Ontario,” Robinson said. “We’ve got a university, we’ve got mines — everything we need. What we don’t have is the province saying they’re going to close down mining engineering in Toronto and move it up to Sudbury. The province would be much better off doing this — it would save money and promote jobs. So then it’s a political question.”
Dan Greatti, an employee of one of those mining companies, also attended Monday’s meeting.
The challenge, he said, is the cost of energy. To really grow industry and manufacturing, local energy costs need to remain competitive.
“Supposedly they’re in talks with the provincial government for a 10-year contract at a certain capped (rate),” Greatti said of his employer. “If it’s not competitive, their future plans could be altered.”
Arthemise Camirand-Peterson was the lone female voice at Monday’s meeting. She is founder and president of the New Sudbury Historical Society, co-chair of the Ward 12 community action network and president of Ridgecrest Park. For her, it is simply a matter of mathematical logic: more industry means more residents, resulting in a larger tax base and better services for all.
She would like the city to diversify its economy beyond mining services.
“In order to do this we need to develop more commercial land,” she said, referring to places such as the Fielding Road industrial park. “I would also like to see more green space, especially in New Sudbury. Our percentage of green space is the minimum that it could possibly be. It’s less than in any other neighbourhood. It’s healthy and gives people places to walk, hike and bike, and to spend time with their families.”
As talk turned to the next 10 years it was not all mining or industry. Participants also zeroed in on the city’s creative sector as a potential economic driver.
“There’s a cultural renaissance going on,” Robinson said, noting the blossoming of new theatre troupes, artisans, musicians and the burgeoning film industry. “The sense among young people and activists is that there’s an active cultural sector and community here. “¦ These are remarkable changes in the kind of cultural energy we’ve got in Sudbury.”
Ian Wood, director of the GSDC, said soliciting public input was a no-brainer as the corporation set out to plot the city’s next 10 years. “Our hope is that it is embraced by the community, and in order for it to be embraced, we needed to engage the community in its development,” he said. “We weren’t interested in a plan that was developed internally by the city.”
The public is invited to contribute for the next few days to the economic plan online at www.gs2025.ca.
For the original source of this article, click here: http://www.thesudburystar.com/2015/03/16/n-city-public-input-session-held-at-library-people-share-their-vision-for-greater-sudbury