After almost three years of in-fighting among city council, it seems the dust is settling.
Council met in full last week to tackle an agenda that was for once, about city business specifically and not full of the “soap opera” politics Greater Sudbury citizens have become used to.
It was a refreshing council meeting. I am hopeful the rest of this council’s meetings will be the same. They need to be.
After an embarrassing start to the Sudbury Wolves’ season at our seemingly dilapidated Sudbury Arena, it is evident that the maintenance and improvement of our city’s main arena has fallen to the wayside.
Council discussed a motion, brought to the table by Councillor Belli, to expedite the process of improving/replacing the Sudbury Arena. It was a passionate debate.
The motion was defeated. The process that is currently under way will remain.
Again, the status quo remains.
Those that opposed the motion argued it is not feasible to expedite decisions about the Sudbury Arena. There are other capital project reports in the pipelines. The city should wait for answers from OLG, interested partners, creative funding options. The arena cannot be done in a short time frame.
Those in support of the motion argued this decision has been put off too long by this council. The time to prioritize it is now.
A functional Sudbury Arena can be a profitable venture for the city and can stimulate funding for other capital projects. A decision from OLG may in fact complicate options further. Many other communities have done it, and it can be done in a short time.
The fact remains, however, we have a main venue — Sudbury Arena — that is hardly meeting the needs of our community. This has been on our council’s plate for much of this term, and recent events prove proper attention has not been given.
It does seem there is no money in any pot for this and time is required to properly address it.
But, under this council’s watch, much money has been lost to scandal, absorbed by administration, and squandered by controversy. Much time has also been lost to scandal, wasted on in-fighting, and squandered by defence to controversy.
As a result, time and money are running low for Greater Sudbury’s communities. Too much of this term has been wasted, all at the ratepayer’s expense.
With little time left in this term for our leaders, but a full year to go before voters can voice their opinion at the polls, citizens can only be left with hope council will make some hard decisions to move our community forward.
No matter who sits at the council table, now or after the next election, the focus must be proactive leadership that directs the sustainability of the whole of Greater Sudbury, not anyone’s singular vision.