Inaugural Address 2018

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Inaugural Address (PDF 225 kb)

Bonjour, Annii and good evening everyone.

Tonight …  I am truly honoured to be with you.

It is an honour and a privilege to serve once again as your Mayor.

I do believe that public service is a calling. It is our duty as elected officials to work toward a shared goal of making our community better.

Making it stronger … more prosperous … and a City with a positive outlook and a future that will ensure Greater Sudbury continues to be seen as the most desirable city in all of Ontario’s North … to live, work, play, learn and invest.

It will be up to all of us here this evening …

To my fellow members of Council …like myself …who are returning and to our two newest members …

It is our responsibility to pursue the very best. 

Not just for those who voted for us … but for every person, every child … everyone who calls the City of Greater Sudbury home.

I am also humbled to be before you this evening as the first mayor re-elected since amalgamation.
I can tell you the endorsement you have given me as Mayor … and  councillors who were also re-elected … the mandate you have given us is one none of us here is taking for granted.

It will be up to all of us to continue to work together.

From time to time we will have differing points of view … it is up to us … to continue to develop ... to diversify and to deliver for our City.

I congratulate every person who is here tonight who won re-election and I personally welcome Mr. Leduc and Mr. McCausland to our Council.

Bill and Geoff … you now sit at a table that will guide our City through the next four years and beyond.

I am excited to work with both of you and I look forward to the fresh perspective you will bring.

During the election I heard from citizens, stakeholders, homeowners and business people from across our City.
People have high expectations for those of us elected … with what we deliver, how we operate and how we are growing Greater Sudbury. You are all impacted by the work we do.

I believe in the power of a positive, collaborative and solutions-based approach.

It is essential if we are going to live up to your high expectations.
For one … we can always do better and we need to do better when it comes to growth and development.

I made a promise to find better ways, easier ways … more effective ways for our City to grow.

The developers who invest in our City, the people who want to see Greater Sudbury grow – the people who are the foundation of our local economy need to be assured that our City is solutions oriented and ready to do business.

By appointing a facilitator …. to work as a liaison between the developers who want to build in our City and our staff whose job it is to make that happen – we will have less delays, fewer stalled projects and finally emerge as a City that is more desirable to investors.

We will be diligent but we must not delay or obstruct when it comes to investing, in creating jobs and attracting business.

We also need to look at how we approach economic development in our City.

We need answers as to why we are losing out to competing communities in the region and we need solutions to prevent that from happening.

For Greater Sudbury to grow …if we want to create more jobs… if we want our population to grow …if we want our property assessment base to grow… if we want our economy to perform … if we want Greater Sudbury’s future to prosper – gone … are the days of missed opportunities and investors bypassing  town.
We need everyone to know that Greater Sudbury is open for business.

We need to be THE destination for investment. We will do better … there will be no excuses.

I have asked Rick Bartolucci to work with my office, to act as both Facilitator and the Mayor's liaison.

As a point person for economic development and investment Rick brings a wealth of experience to our City having been our MPP for twenty years and a Senior Cabinet Minister in the Ontario government.  

As we move forward, I will also be calling upon other experienced people for their expertise and ideas. 

In short, if, qualified people want to help make our City better, I am interested in hearing from them.

Our city can benefit from their unique skill sets and knowledge.

My goal over the next four years is to also usher in a new era of economic development.

We are a global community, and we are globally recognized for our expertise in mining and clean tech sectors. We are the largest city in the region.

With our expertise in mining, with our emerging technology sector, with three top rated post-secondary institutions, a medical school and a regional health facility – Greater Sudbury needs to be the place new business wants to be part of.

No longer is it acceptable to hear of business or industry that came to Greater Sudbury … but instead opted to invest in other Northern cities.

No longer will it be acceptable to say we tried …and lost out on new investment, new jobs and the opportunity to finally capture the economic and population growth we need.

I will work with the team at the GSDC …

I will encourage any conversation that can entice new industry to come to Greater Sudbury and I will entertain any new idea – even if it means changing how we do business in Greater Sudbury, if it means there is a net benefit to our economy and community. When I can’t be there, my liaison will be.

And I will take advantage of opportunities that present themselves abroad.

And … I will be expecting results … we quite simply must do better as a city to grow and flourish in the coming years.

Friends … not a day goes by when I am not engaged in a conversation, contacted at my office or reading about our downtown … in a story by our local media.

We are investing in our downtown core … there are 160 million dollars worth of projects that are currently in development.
In doing so…we are ushering in a new era for our downtown.

It will be a cultural hub, it will be a multicultural and multigenerational junction for activities and ideas.
It will be a destination … once completed it will be the renewal, we have all been striving for … for years.

I look at a person like Rob Gregorini … who is a champion for our downtown …

A business leader, an entrepreneur who has built the Durham Social Club, one of the jewels of our downtown … with hard work, sweat and pure perseverance when it looked like the odds were against him.

We have seen so many new businesses open up, like Stitch N Stone, the Refinery, One Sky, Kuppajo and Salute.

When I look at the businesses that are succeeding downtown …with the renewal that is coming … and with that investment … we need to ensure people feel safe …

That visitors feel welcome …

And that includes anyone who comes to our downtown for a medical appointment during the day, for dinner with their family … or to enjoy the nightlife on the weekend.

For downtown to succeed – it needs to be secure and inviting.

We need to find ways to get more police … more support workers…more feet on the street downtown …

A presence that is visible … a presence that inspires confidence and safety for everyone.

Think of the level of confidence and safety you would want for your family if you lived and worked downtown.

During the election … I spoke with Amin Visram – his investments in the Rainbow Mall have transformed the building.

It’s no longer an empty shell … it’s a hub of offices, restaurants and stores.

He shared with me the crime statistics from last year … it was staggering.

But Amin wasn’t just sharing his opinion … he offered a solution.

He offered store front … space in his mall for police to use... for free.

He knows how more police will not only protect the investments we are all making in our downtown, he has seen it in other communities …

He knows that if our downtown is to grow, to succeed … we need a sense of confidence for everybody who comes to spend their dollars, to work for the day … or to enjoy it at night.

His was a suggestion. 
We need more of these ideas to ensure our downtown becomes a destination which is vibrant and safe.

I also believe we need a new direction for our downtown and those who advocate for businesses there.

The BIA owners and members I’m speaking with tell me they want to see community and business improvement ideas and initiatives NOT political action and pettiness that is divisive, counterproductive and has done so much damage to our downtown and our community. 

We must grow new ideas from a new model of business improvement - a new and positive generation of vibrant downtown ideas.

Lastly … on election night we saw a system that failed.

I demanded answers and an explanation.

I was told there was no system crash … but an extreme reduction in speed by the host servers on our service provider’s end.

I have been assured that at no time was there a hack or compromise of data of voter information.

However, … for many citizens, confidence in the process was lost and we could have done better.

Online voting was supposed to inspire younger people to participate, however it didn’t.
Electronic voting was supposed to be simple voting – but some seniors were still concerned.

There was a gap in communication, awareness and promotion of just how we wanted all of our voters to make themselves heard.

Confusion overcame what was supposed to be a concise and clear concept making the process easier.

Last month I sought input from across the City …

Our seniors were discouraged having only one “electronic option.”

They didn’t feel secure when requiring assistance with the electronic platform. 

No one should feel their privacy is violated when casting a vote.

However, … others embraced the ease and efficiency of online voting.

I have shared with senior staff and Council the results of the report my office commissioned from Oraclepoll Research and will also release those publicly very soon.

The results show an overwhelming urge to change the method in which we voted in October. 

I will be requesting that staff come up with a new process … that incorporates both online and paper ballot options.

It may come with a cost … but the price to pay for an election process that does not reflect the wishes of the very people we must hear from is too steep and frankly … non-negotiable.

Next election we will do better. We must do better.

And to conclude … together as we move forward … the next four years will be an agenda of the voters and by the voters. 

A people’s agenda.

I will be reaching out, listening and consulting local leaders from across industry, business, the arts and public sectors. 

I want to hear from residents … from the taxpayers who expect us … as elected leaders … to deliver for them.

I want, we all want, an organization that listens … one that serves … and one that is dedicated to bettering our City, embracing the communities, the neighbourhoods, cultures and languages that make us Greater Sudbury.

Every voter … every resident … every person in Greater Sudbury has a voice.

As a Council we need to hear it.
And as a Council we need to move forward with respect and integrity … not just for the positions we hold … but for each other.

My friends … we are a Council that is diverse, passionate … vocal and well intentioned.

Like all great families … like all strong families … we may at times disagree at the dinner table but once decisions are made …we must work together for the greater good of our City.

Our collective legacy as leaders will only be achieved when we work together.

Let’s continue to build our community together… let’s set a high bar and reach it over the next four years.

I look forward to working with each of you … as we represent and serve the great people of the City of Greater Sudbury.

Thank you very much … merci … migwetch … the future of our City is in great hands.