By Marianne Matichuk
While 2013 has been an exciting and challenging year for our great city, we should all be proud of what we have been able to achieve.
Greater Sudbury is growing and, as its mayor, I have the privilege, along with city council, of managing the city’s evolution into a healthy, economically strong, creative and innovative city.
At city council, we have made significant progress on a number of fronts in 2013:
- We found $5 million in savings in the budget over the past two years, allowing us to deliver consistently low and sustainable tax increases, positioning our city for more of the same in the coming years.
- Two large and complicated infrastructure projects were launched – the Biosolids Management Facility, and the new transit and fleet garage. As well, the massive rebuild of the intersection of Notre Dame Ave. and Lasalle Boulevard was completed on time and on budget this past fall.
- On the community services side, the city has completed an Arena Renewal Strategy, and city council committed $2.3 million to refurbish the Chelmsford Community Arena. We have also taken the first steps toward building a new OHL-ready arena and entertainment centre in Greater Sudbury.
- Greater Sudbury also became one of the first municipalities in Ontario to make its parks and outdoor facilities smoke-free environments to protect users and improve cleanliness. Expect more smoke-free initiatives in the coming year.
Also in 2013, the Downtown Market successfully began a new chapter at its new home at the historic CP Rail property on Elgin Street and plans for the Elgin Greenway and a Rock of Fame have been advanced – all part of our Council approved Downtown Master Plan.
In just a couple of years, film and television production has grown into a $16 million industry in our city, due in part to a film studio I helped get started last year. Productions featuring Ryan Reynolds, Richard Dreyfuss, Andy Garcia, Eva Longoria, Forrest Whittaker and Jason Priestly have already been attracted to our city, and dozens of our young people are being mentored in the industry.
Our Development Liaison Advisory Committee has helped reduce the amount of time it takes to get planning and building approvals through city hall, without added costs.
The city has also worked with partners, such as Rainbow Routes and the Green Space Advisory Panel, to build trails and expand the city’s networks of parks and heritage sites. Over the last three years, 154 new sites have been brought into the parks inventory, covering 2,481 hectares of land designated as priorities by the panel. This includes 11 strategic hilltops and 40 new shoreline parcels.
As well, last year, two city projects – Greater Sudbury's Brownfield Strategy and Community Improvement Plan, and the Biosolids Management Facility – were recognized nationally for their innovative approach to solving a local problem.
It’s no coincidence. Greater Sudbury has a history of pioneering innovations in exploration, productivity, environmental responsibility and occupational health and safety. This concentration of innovation and entrepreneurship, of research and intelligence in Greater Sudbury is second to none in the world. In the coming year, watch for the City of Greater Sudbury to build on the brilliance and resilience of Greater Sudburians as we market ourselves to the world.
We have long promoted Sudbury as a world-class city that is open for business, and that commitment will continue. There is so much to be optimistic about the future of our great city and I am very much looking forward to next year and continuing to look for savings and efficiencies to further decrease tax rates in 2015.
I hope everyone has a safe and healthy holiday and a prosperous 2014!
Marianne Matichuk is Mayor of the City of Greater Sudbury.