Meeting Tuesday night, Darren Stinson, chair of the Greater Sudbury Development Corp. gave an overview of their initiatives and investments over the last year. Those investments include a $70,000 marketing campaign that aims to encourage businesses outside of the city to locate here. Part of the campaign is a new slogan, “Sudbury: Canada's resourceful city.”
Ward 1 Coun. Joe Cimino didn't like the slogan, because it reminds him of the city's mining past. The campaign should have broader appeal, he said.
“If nickel is $15 a pound, mining companies don't need to be convinced to come here,” Cimino said.
But Stinson said they spent months coming up with the slogan, which goes much deeper than mining, he said. It acknowledges the city's past, while speaking to our future as well, he said.
Ward 3 Coun. Claude Berthiame was upset that the name “Greater” was dropped. Is the campaign just for the benefit of the old city? he asked.
“'Greater' should be part of the name.”
Ian Wood, the city's director of economic development, said dropping the “greater” was not done lightly, nor was it meant as a slight to former municipalities.
“I'm from one of them,” he said.
But outside the North, everyone refers to us as Sudbury, not Greater Sudbury, Wood said. And the campaign is targeted to them, not citizens who already know the city's name.
“It's shorter and easier,” he said. “But by no means are we devaluing the outside communities.”
And Stinson said it's key to remember that target audience is outside of the city, and they all know us as Sudbury, he said. Once they are attracted here, “then we can educate them.”
Cimino also asked whose idea it was to spend $70,000 on a campaign to begin with.
“I don't remember being asked,” he said.
Wood replied that the GSDC has been given authority by council to make these sorts of decisions, to promote economic development in the city. And a citywide rebranding hasn't been done since amalgamation at the turn of the century.
“We've never done this as a city.”
But Ward 4 Coun. Evelyn Dutrisac said dropping the word “greater” is an insult to other communities.
“I can't accept this,” she said. “Each part of our city is unique. We're called the City of Greater Sudbury.”
And Ward 6 Coun. Andre Rivest said it reminds him of an effort he and Berthiaume took part in a few years ago, when 10,000 signatures were collected calling for de-amalgamation. Those sentiments could be revived by a campaign like this, he said.
“Accepting this is certainly a step back,” Rivest said. “It's not going to work.”
But Ward 7 Coun. Dave Kilgour, whose ward includes Capreol and Garson, said he was initially upset, but the slogan grew on him, too. Live with it for awhile before making a judgment, Kilgour said.
“Don't decide tonight,” he said.
And Ward 2 Coun. Jacques Barbeau said the GSDC should have had some one-on-one conversations with councillors before the meeting, to explain the thinking behind the slogan.
“The wounds of amalgamation are alive and well,” Barbeau said. “It was a strategic mistake to present it this way.”
Wood agreed, saying the same thought was going through his head at that very moment.
“I take your advice,” he told Barbeau.
In the end, the GSDC agreed to “pause” the marketing campaign to consult further with councillors to see if concerns can be addressed.