State of the City Address 2016

State of the City 2016 (pdf 354 kb)

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Welcome, Bienvenue, Anni.

Ladies and gentlemen, I want to thank you for coming today to my second official State of the City Address. 

I want to thank Chamber Chair Karen Hourtovenko and President and CEO Debbi Nicholson for hosting us here today.

I am also pleased to hear that Tracy Nutt is the incoming chair of the Executive Council. I am confident you will continue the great work of the Chamber, Tracy!

The Chamber of Commerce hosts some great speakers and many exciting events throughout the year and I am grateful to all of you in the audience who have taken the time to attend today.

Finally, I want to thank my wife, Lori, for being here with me today.

Lori has been so supportive to me and I’d like for us to be able to give her a round of applause.  

Around this time last year, I stood at this very podium and gave my first State of the City Address to a very optimistic audience, to many of you who are here today. 

It was only after 6 months in Office that I had the opportunity to speak to you about what Council and I had been able to accomplish, about getting our feet wet as a new Council, and the road ahead. 

Well, as you can see, a lot has been accomplished since that day.

To get to this point, I couldn’t have done it on my own and I want to make special note of the members of City Council who are here with us this afternoon.

This exceptional group has been so engaged in the community and to have your support today is extremely motivating.

As they will all attest, being a Councillor is a full time role. That, in addition to business, family and occupational commitments represents a major dedication to public service.

We have a tremendously strong and hard working team that brings a diverse skill set to this City. I trust, respect, support and encourage this team and I am glad to share the same trust, respect and support from them. 

The City of Greater Sudbury has undergone significant change since my last State of the City Address. 

We had a very successful P6M initiative, engaging the city staff and citizens like never before to look at the way we deliver your services. Ultimately, we’ve saved the City $6 million dollars per year moving forward, and the 800 plus ideas generated through this process will have a positive impact on the City for years to come. 

Interesting to note: Mayors have been contacting me who are now looking at taking similar approaches in their municipalities to replicate the success we are having. 

There are many City Managers and Staff that have worked incredibly hard, stepped up, and excelled over the last year. 

They have the utmost pride for their community and it has been a pleasure working with them. 

I will now ask all City Staff, members of SMT and the GSDC Board to stand.

Your hard work must be commended as well.

Now, as Mayor for this amazing City, I’d like to talk to you about what it truly means to be greater together. 

Back in April, I travelled to Ottawa to participate in a Large Urban Mayors’ Caucus of Ontario meeting. 

We met with the Prime Minister to discuss how his government views the role of Canadian Cities. 

In this discussion, he talked about the need for communities to get their priorities in order and bring them forward to the Federal Government.

He asked us what we wanted for our communities. 

Don’t worry; we made sure to inform the Prime Minister about Greater Sudbury’s needs.

We need to forge ahead to get things done.

With collaborative working relationships, we will be able to achieve the many possibilities ahead of us and trust me, there are many. 

However, with so many possibilities, it’s important that we focus on the outcomes that Council is looking for.

To help us achieve the outcomes we want, Council fully adopted a Strategic Plan to guide this organization and City to be “Greater Together”. 

Our Strategic Plan includes 4 main criteria and these are the things you asked us to focus on:

1) Growth and Economic Development ;
2) Quality of Life and Place;
3) Responsive, Fiscally Prudent, Open Governance; and
4) Sustainable Infrastructure.

Outcomes are critical. It’s nice to be able to talk about the Strategic Plan but in reality what’s most important is what we get done.

I am a numbers guy and a priority in our Strategic Plan is measuring and reporting on our performance. Having quantified data will allow us to make better and more strategic decisions.  

City Staff is hard at work on a detailed Implementation Plan in support of Council’s Strategic Plan to provide the details including accountabilities, timelines, and progress indicators for initiatives that support each element of the plan. 

This report is coming to us in July. 

We’re looking forward to reviewing this as a Council and this is certainly a first for the organization.

Speaking of progress indicators, let’s discuss the city road work and construction taking place across the community.

We know how important fixing our roads is. In fact, it was the number one topic brought forward in the last election. It’s important that our dollars are going towards sustainable infrastructure, including our roads. 

It is also very important that we receive quality results and value for money for your heard-earned tax dollars.

The City is poised to be hard at work on projects like Phase 1 of the Maley Drive Extension, the Lorne St redesign, Second Avenue, and four laning of MR35, just to name just a few. 

In line with our Strategic Plan and measurable outcomes, the Infrastructure Division recently implemented a new Computerized Maintenance Management System or CMMS. 

I know this doesn’t sound sexy, but, the new CMMS will introduce several enhancements to assist in the overall management of our operational resources, and will aid in generating key performance indicators and other performance measurement parameters. 

The system will be invaluable to our infrastructure Services Department in ongoing operational and maintenance activities.

However, roadwork is just one element in the bigger vision of the Strategic Plan. 

We want to take this same strategic approach to make our City greater with an increase in economic growth, employee engagement, and customer satisfaction.

It is important to remember that the Strategic Plan does not capture everything the City does each day for our citizens. 

We will continue to provide the quality services our citizens depend on every day and take them to the next level.

Now, before I go any further, although he couldn’t be here today, our new CAO of the City of Greater Sudbury, Ed Archer has begun his work with the City and I am already seeing positive change.

We’re thrilled to have Ed on board! 

Ed brings a wealth of expertise in public administration at the highest levels in some of the highest performing municipalities in the Country, including Barrie and Regina. 

Ed is very much looking forward to getting to know many of you and we look forward to working with Ed to better our community.

He will play a vital role in leading the corporation, enhancing City service delivery, and in the Strategic Plan implementation.

Recently, Ed had the opportunity to travel to North Bay for the Northern Ontario Large Urban Mayor’s meeting and he is forming some great partnerships with our fellow municipalities so that we can tackle the issues we face together.

I am confident that with his leadership, we will be greater together.

I’ve also had the pleasure of developing amazing relationships with:  

  • MP Marc Serré & MP Paul Lefebvre; 
  • MPP France Gélinas; and 
  • the new Minister of Energy – MPP Glenn Thibeault. 

Whether it’s been out in the community, in meetings, or at some great funding announcements, they are extremely strong voices for Greater Sudbury at Queen’s Park and Parliament Hill. 

Their strong voices have advocated for the community and have secured funding for numerous projects such as the Watershed Studies, Northern Water Sports Centre, Health Sciences North Research Institute, the Maley Drive Extension Project, and the City of Lakes Family Health Team in Chelmsford. 

Our partners at the Provincial and Federal Level are eager to make our community greater together.  

I have been advocating strongly for investments in our community that would assist our most vulnerable, address our infrastructure needs and grow our community.

I would be remiss if I didn’t talk about some of our most significant accomplishments and where we still have some work to do. 

I’ll start with possibly one of the biggest in this City’s history. 

In early April, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the Federal Government of Canada’s contribution of $26.7 million to the Maley Drive Extension Project to compliment the Provincial and Municipal contributions. 

Not only was it historic that a Prime Minister visited our City, and the first time a Prime Minister was at Tom Davies Square, it was a sign that other levels of Government have faith in our community and are investing in our City. 

We are greater together, with this investment, as it will provide more than 800 jobs, shorten commutes, lengthen the road lives of the Kingsway and Lasalle Blvd. and provide a more efficient route for local businesses, positioning us for growth in the future.

Paul, Marc, France, Glenn,– I know this is something we are working hard on together, but we need more of these opportunities to bring Greater Sudbury to the next level, growing our community to continue to position us as the hub of the North.

In fact, there are important funding opportunities with FedNor, NOHFC, Build Canada Fund, and the Canada 150 Fund that we simply must put our best case forward on.

I encourage our community partners to do the same.  

We are also working with the provincial and federal government on community improvement projects such as infrastructure, water and wastewater work, transit, and new community facilities as well. 

We can’t forget that our City has put forward a bid for the 2021 Canada Summer Games. 

This would be a tremendous opportunity to showcase our City to the Country similar to what we did with the Amazing Race Canada. 

This event would draw in millions in economic activity, support our active sports tourism industry, and improve our city’s recreational facilities for long-term community use. 

But – I’m not done!

What’s going on elsewhere in the City?

Recently, I spoke at a Sudbury Real Estate Board Luncheon and have many positives to report on.

2015 was a difficult financial year, but our community has continued to push through.

In fact, in May we saw the strongest residential resale numbers in a decade.

Year to date in 2016, new and miscellaneous residential building permits issued are up $12 million from last year with almost double the amount of units being built. 

Commercially, year to date in 2016, the value of building permits issued is up $15 million with almost 100 more permits being issued this year.

These numbers include projects such as: 

  • Housing developments in Mallards Landing, Moonglo, and Lively;
  • The St. Joseph’s Hospital Condominium Development; 
  • NEO Kids; 
  • Health Sciences North Research Centre; 
  • Retail development in New Sudbury including the Kingsway & Barrydowne; 
  • A new auto park and car dealership expansion; 
  • Legend Boats in Whitefish;
  • Upgrades to major mines throughout the city including the Clean AER Project, Victoria Mines, Glencore.

and so many more.

Sudbury has also undergone a major hotel renovation and modernization boom over the past two years with over $15 million invested to improve these facilities. This includes:

  • The Holiday Inn: a $7 million investment for a complete renovation;
  • The Lexington: a $3 million renovation to update and modernize rooms;
  • The Clarion: a $1.5 million renovation;
  • The Best Western and Super 8 have each spent over $1 million on room upgrades;
  • Both Comfort Inns have completed room upgrades; and
  • The Quality Inn will begin a $1.4 million renovation later this year.

Greater Sudbury will also be getting a boost this year with a new Microtel, adding approx. 100 rooms, located within a new complex of retail and dining on the Kingsway, and a six-storey 119-room Hilton Garden Inn.

These developments will have tremendous impact on the community and will help us to attract tourists, create new jobs, and attract new families to our community who are looking to live, work, play, shop and invest here. 

We want to enable and encourage investment to create jobs in our community and to do this we need to remove the barriers.

Council and City Staff want to make it easier and more attractive for developers and business investors to grow our city, to grow jobs and have confidence in the community that they have chosen to make home.

I believe that, along with the Chamber of Commerce, that any business looking to set up shop and create jobs in Greater Sudbury should be greeted with a heavily customer-focused approach on the City’s part.

That means not only streamlining processes, but creating the conditions for success in our community, so that new investors want to come to Greater Sudbury as well.

In fact, ‘Gearing up for Growth’ is something we are hard at work on and is part of the City’s long-term GS2025 plan. 

On June 14th, Council adopted the report brought forward by the ‘Gearing up for Growth!’ Advisory Panel. 

It was based on feedback from numerous stakeholders in the community and outlines 5 priorities to focus on, ensuring we are successful in the coming years: 

  • A new integrated land and property management system, allowing more ease of use for developers and staff;
  • Enhancement of the City’s formal pre-consultation process, ensuring that those looking to work with the City on permits and development approvals know what’s expected of them up front;
  • A refined approach to storm water management ;
  • Focusing on customers looking for development approvals by minimizing the required number of points of contact; and
  • An update to our existing cost sharing policy.

I am confident that these changes, which are very customer focused, will enhance the experience that those looking to grow and invest in our community will have.

Also along the theme of positioning our city for private sector investment, just this week, we passed a motion that proposes to hold an increase in development charges for a year.

I would like to acknowledge our unemployment rate here in Greater Sudbury. 

I can assure you that it’s top of mind for me and I am working closely with Economic Development to ensure we have the conditions to foster job creation and growth in the City. 

We’ve also received some promising news. 

According to the Labour Force Survey from Statistics Canada, since January of this year, the number of people employed in our City has increased from 78,700 to 80,100.

Most of these jobs have come from the goods-producing sector, including mining, construction, and manufacturing. 

We seem to be recouping some of the losses we experienced last fall, but we need to continue to look at new opportunities as well.

If we continue to market ourselves in the right way, providing the right opportunities for our residents, I am confident we will see the changes we desire. 

For years, we’ve all been visionaries pulling more than our weight.

I will remind you that our past successes have resulted from the vision of not only your elected officials, but also other leaders from our community working together to be greater together.  

I am constantly blown away by the activity taking place in Greater Sudbury. Collaboration and building a critical mass is what’s important here. 

Who could forget the activity taking place right downtown?

Many new restaurants and retail options are now available and I’m a strong supporter of all of the development and events that have been going on downtown. 

Two weeks ago, I attended Blues for Food, Graphic-Con, and the one year anniversary for Frubar Juicery. 

Three great events all within a five minute walk of each other.

As I was walking by, I saw the School of Architecture, which is expected to be completed by the fall. It truly is a gem in the downtown core. 

None of this would have been possible without the efforts and hard work of the community. It’s also a reminder to the whole of Northern Ontario that Greater Sudbury is alive and vibrant. 

There’s a pulse filled with new life, art, and culture is sweeping our community and we have to embrace it. 

I look forward to more murals and music coming our way this summer with the UP Here Festival among the many other great festivals.

And don’t worry, DJ Bigger will be back to kick of the festival again this year!

My vision for the future of downtown includes the Elgin Greenway and an increase in residential density as a solution to some of the issues we face in this area.

Let’s focus on increasing density and investment in the areas where we have the highest commercial property values. 

I am eager to see work begin on the Elgin Greenway Project, the Green Stairs Project, and the Tom Davies Square Courtyard. 

The designs will be brought forward to Council for approval in the fall.

It’s time that we have an updated and inviting Civic Square that our community can embrace and be proud of.

We have to think big together, to lead Greater Sudbury to the next level. 

I was pleased to attend the grand opening of the Northern Water Sports Centre in May. It’s a beautiful waterfront state-of-the-art aquatic sports facility.

It’s a true community gathering spot on the shores of the gem of our city, Lake Ramsey. 

It just happens to be situated in the centre of our world leading mining community.

So many of these examples are what being greater together is all about. 

All of them have required collaboration, partnerships, planning, and people willing to go above and beyond to make them a success. 

While the global commodities market presents challenges, I think back to when the Minister for Innovation, Science, and Economic Development, Navdeep Bains, visited B&D Manufacturing in Chelmsford as well as FedNor.

The Minister was absolutely blown away by some of the work taking place at facilities such as B&D and NORCAT.

He also talked about it being our time as Canadians to advance in the fields of science and technology. 

We are leaders and have the ability to attract new talented people to our City to add to our story.

When the Minister was here, he announced $950 000 for our Northern Exports program and this was matched by the Province, for a total of close to $2 million.

This will aid our local companies to excel in new areas of business and get their products to countries around the world. 

Don’t forget, we're still the world’s biggest, most advanced mining community. 

The mining and mining service and supply sector is still one of the keys to our future success, as it contributes almost $4 billion of our $5.5 billion GDP.

We have the expertise to get the job done and are competing in the global marketplace. 

We’re working with Dr. Rui Wang at Laurentian University on marketing and commercializing our regreening efforts through the Sudbury Protocol.

My office has a great working relationship with our university and colleges. We’ve been working to attract international students to Greater Sudbury, and the collaborative partnerships are proving quite successful. 

I look forward to continuing to partner with them on a number of initiatives in the coming years. 

Recently, outgoing GSDC Board Chair Dr. Darren Stinson updated Council with some excellent news. 

Since October 2015, the Economic Development Fund supported 16 projects with a total of $1.5 million dollars. 

His update also shared that in addition to the funding provided by the City, there’s an estimated $5.79 million that was leveraged from other investors and these investments are expected to create more than 35 permanent, temporary, and part-time positions.

I would also be remiss if I didn’t speak about the notoriety that Nobel Laureate Dr. Arthur B. McDonald has brought to our community through his Nobel Prize in Physics, and the amazing work that continues to be done at SNOLAB. To date, SNOLAB has attracted $80 million into our community with a further $35 million projected over the next 5 years. I’ll speak a bit more about SNOLAB later.

We have fascinating work being done here.

This is the Greater Sudbury advantage. This is being greater together. 

But there’s more work to do

I believe communication is always a key area for improvement and success. 

It’s critical because taxpayers deserve respect, transparency, and accountability. 

It is essential to building and maintaining trust.

We understand that citizens are very busy and don’t always understand the time and efforts that go into designing and administering new programs, following legal processes, gathering public input, and writing reports. 

In other words, many of you don’t get lost in the details; you are interested in quality service at an affordable cost and that you are getting value for your tax dollars. 

Recognizing its importance in building and maintaining trust, I have been working to make the City more open, transparent and accountable to the public. 

Our Open Government and Open Data policies have been successful but I know there is still room for improvement. 

I want to make it easier for you to access information that’s relevant to you. I’m determined to see that we do a better job of this.

Our website redesign is well underway with public input sessions in progress.

In addition to a redesigned user friendly website, a new app will be created that will allow residents to connect from their smart phone and get the information that they need.

We are also working to enhance customer service delivery through 311.

Council and I want the City to be more citizen and business-focused.

Council and I are a year and a half in and I think you’ll agree that there has been a shift in a positive direction.

These elements of service are key to the transformation of our City. After all, we are a service organization.

I would now like to talk about the road ahead.

It will no doubt be another busy summer at City Hall. 

I look forward to the challenges ahead and all the great summer events taking place throughout the community. 

Ed Archer is tasked with solidifying key management positions as our employees are crucial to our success. 

Ed’s experience working in a number of areas for dynamic municipalities will benefit the organization. 

As I mentioned earlier, construction season is well underway and City Staff is working hard to ensure that active transportation is a part of our road network.

The three main road projects that I spoke about earlier, Maley Drive, Lorne St, and Second
Ave all have designs in place for cycling components.

We all know that there are a number of other projects before Council.

I, along with Council, am eagerly expecting an update from Economic Development on the 4 large projects Council and I endorsed in April.

These projects give a vision to what the rest of the area can look like, they are transformative, will grow the economy and create jobs. These include:

  • Place des Arts;
  • Synergy Centre; 
  • Events Centre; and
  • New Main Library/Art Gallery.

These are discussions I think many of us never thought would be possible in our community but we have the opportunity to work with our partners and advance on so many great identity changing projects.

I know this is not a quick process but patience is key to getting it right!

That being said, you have to agree, we have never been this close to making these projects a reality in the past.

So in closing, I thank you for taking the time to be here today with me. 

Be proud of your City of Greater Sudbury.

Please take the following with you when you leave today

We were asked to restore public trust in our municipal government and become a forward thinking city and we’ve accomplished a lot in a short period of time.

You can be confident that this Council will work in your best interests in every decision we make.

The world needs more Sudbury, or should I say you #cantstopsudbury. 

As I head to London, England next week at the invitation of Nobel Laureate Dr. Arthur B. McDonald to unveil a SNOLAB exhibit at Canada House, I will continue to be a tireless advocate for our community. 

I will do everything I can to encourage and to position Greater Sudbury for investment in our City, and to enhance our profile on the global stage, and to differentiate our City as we compete in an international global marketplace.   

I am honoured and blessed to be your Mayor. I don’t take a single day in this office for granted and I look forward to continuing to work towards making our city greater together. 

Thank you very much. Merci beaucoup mes amis.