Sudbury Stories: A Greener Resource Pathway
June 12, 2023
Greater Sudbury is known internationally as a mining centre of excellence – and as a site where the industry’s impact has marked our changing landscape. Our Sudbury stories have been shared through several recent events that focus, in one way or another, on how the legacy of mining impacts our green economic future. I was pleased to participate in these events and to reflect on how far we’ve come from that 1960s moonscape. From an IMAX film about a conservation legend that showcases the Sudbury regreening story, to a gathering of industry executives in the battery electric vehicle chain, all signs are pointing to Sudbury’s competitive advantage in the green economy.
On May 30, Science North hosted the Jane Goodall – Reasons for Hope IMAX film premiere. The film showcases a number of “good news” conservation stories from across the world, including Greater Sudbury’s regreening journey – a story that demonstrates the resilience of the landscape and the dedication of leaders to restoring local environmental quality. This film elevates the Sudbury story to an international level, and the hard work of our community members stands as an inspiration for communities impacted by resource development and primary industry around the world.
The IMAX film premiere coincided with the Northern Ontario Youth Climate Action Summit, also hosted at Science North. This two-day event for high school students provided hands-on learning opportunities to empower young people with the tools, skills, networks, and confidence to continue to affect positive change within their communities.
Across town, the second BEV In-Depth: Mines to Mobility conference (held May 31 – June 1, 2023) attracted hundreds of attendees from across Ontario to discuss the future of the battery electric vehicle industry. Presenters and delegates included industry leaders, researchers, and technical experts. The strong turnout was a testament to the timeliness of this topic; with both the provincial and federal governments having signaled their intent to invest in the critical minerals sector, stakeholders are eager to ensure a made-in-Ontario approach to connecting the supply chain.
The conference made clear that a successful transition to an electric future will require more than new vehicle production. We will need to make sure that our communities and workplaces have the required infrastructure and clean power supply to support these increased loads for charging batteries and powering equipment. It was heartening to see representatives from mining, the auto industry, and the energy sector all participate in the two-day event.
I was thrilled to see so much local innovation on display at the conference host venue, Cambrian College, itself an emerging leader in applied research related to the underground battery electric vehicle sector. Collaboration between local postsecondary institutions and industry is key to building a workforce with the skills and talents needed to seize this generational opportunity. Many local firms are already leading the way in underground mining BEV technology, automation, and advanced telecommunications. As Mayor, I am committed to continuing to support this sector, and to assist in the attraction and retention of the talent required to fuel this transition. I want to ensure that as this industry grows, these good jobs stay in Greater Sudbury and companies feel encouraged to locate and expand here.
In addition, from June 9 to 11, Greater Sudbury was the host city of Ontario Nature’s 2023 Annual Gathering and 92nd Annual General Meeting. This long-standing event brought together a provincial network of environmentalists to participate in nature workshops, hear keynote speeches by local ecology leaders, and enjoy field trips to significant sites of restoration activity across our city. Several prominent Greater Sudbury environmental non-profits and organizations were essential in coordinating the conference and delivering programming. These include the Junction Creek Stewardship Committee, Sudbury Naturalists, Coalition for a Liveable Sudbury, Conservation Sudbury, reThink Green, Rainbow Routes, as well as the City of Greater Sudbury’s VETAC and EarthCare programs. This was the first time the AGM had been held in Greater Sudbury, and was a great chance to shine more light on Greater Sudbury’s successful regreening story – and provided an opportunity to chart a path for the next fifty years of restoration efforts.
I am extremely proud of the hard work and leadership of our citizens in the fields of ecological reclamation and a cleaner mining industry. I am proud to be a champion for Greater Sudbury, and I look forward to continuing to work together on this pathway to a greener future for our children and grandchildren.