Welcome, Bienvenue, Annii.
Thank you all for coming today to my third official State of the City Address as your Mayor.
I want to thank Chamber Chair Tracy Nutt, President and CEO Debbi Nicholson, and the team at the Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce for hosting all of us here at the Radisson Hotel.
I’d also like to thank today’s event sponsors including OLG, CN, Eastlink, Hard-Line Solutions, and Plan A Health Care Staffing Solutions.
And lastly I would like to thank the chef Alessandro Apolloni for the wonderful meal today.
Now, I would like to recognize my fellow City Councillors in attendance and ask that you please stand.
I am just 1 of 13 voices around the Council table and I’ve been so very fortunate to be able to work with a progressive group that together have been able to accomplish so much during our time so far.
Also I’d like to recognize all of the City Staff in attendance and ask that you please stand.
We have such a tremendous team not just at City Hall but across all of the depots, stations, arenas, water/wastewater plants, and buildings in every corner of our City.
I look forward to reviewing some of our shared accomplishments throughout my speech this afternoon.
Finally, I want to thank my wife, Lori, for being here with me today on this special day. Lori, you are a very patient person and stand by me through the demands of this job. Thank you so much for being my side.
Before I get to business, I would like to recognize that we are gathered together on the traditional territory of the Robinson-Huron Treaty, shared by the Atikameksheng Anishnawbe.
As a City with such strong historical ties with our Indigenous people and their culture, we must always uphold a responsibility for the land that we call home.
As I stand before you all today, I honestly can’t believe this is already my third State of the City Address.
Between the countless community events, council meetings, funding announcements, and every day conversations with citizens of Greater Sudbury, time has flown by. But it’s been so worth it.
No matter how big or small, these experiences have driven home that I made the right choice to run for Mayor.
We as a community have so much to be proud of and to look forward to.
And that’s what I’m here to talk to all of you about today.
When I was elected, the public was very clear that they wanted openness, accountability, transparency and a new tone at City Hall.
Voters also wanted an increase in dedicated funding to roads and pipes, they wanted to see projects across our City move forward, and they wanted dollars spent in the public’s interest.
3 State of the City Addresses in and I can confidently say to the best of our ability that we are fulfilling the expectations of the public.
Looking back, my first year in office was my promise of a zero percent tax increase to direct staff focus towards service and operating priorities, finding efficiencies, and enhancing value for money.
Years two, three and four have and will be about leveraging those efficiencies and reinvesting.
The overwhelming message I’m hearing from the public continues to be the need to forge ahead. Some think we need to lean back. But what we really need to do is lean in.
Greater Sudbury needs to move forward. In order to do that we, as a City need to invest in ourselves and grow. So we can attract investment that creates jobs, attract new individuals to our community and refine and continue to enhance services for those who already live here.
We are building our community – and with proper planning and financial considerations we will be set up for success to be able to move forward on a number of visionary and affordable large projects and infrastructure investments.
We want to see this city be even better than it already is. I want to see this city be better than it already is.
What we’ve done as a Council thus far is tremendous. We’ve put in place a strategic plan, which serves as a roadmap for staff to follow. We’ve taken a good hard look at our assets, and prioritized how to fix them in line with what makes sense for the community and is reasonable. We’ve put a financial plan in place for the City to follow, so there is a clear path forward on how we are going to spend the money you’ve entrusted us with.
We’ve also been working extremely hard in my office to be at the table with the province and the federal government to tell them what kind investments we require as a community. And together, we’ve delivered.
I understand that change isn’t always easy but change is also an opportunity to demonstrate to you, the public and the voters, that your tax dollars are being spent responsibly, wisely, and in the interest of the future.
I’m going to speak to you a bit more about how our plans have come to fruition in a little bit, but first I want to speak about collaboration and communication.
We want the best for our entire community regardless of what ward we live in, and collaboration will move us forward.
Now, let’s get to business.
I would like to speak to you today about city communications, about unprecedented investments in our infrastructure, transit, recreation, and social services, about our work in economic development and finally about our large projects process.
As an organization, we are learning and constantly improving to meet the unique demands of our area and the people who live here.
We listen to businesses and we value collaboration.
Collaboration is something very valuable and something that we learn more about daily. My office is constantly building new relationships with each of you and enhanced communication is something that I have pushed for as Mayor and it is an area I assure you we will continue to work on to bring our city forward.
To that end, I am pleased to tell you that over the weekend, greatersudbury.ca has re-launched, and I have to commend staff for the countless hours that went into this new and improved site. It’s easier to use, and I’d encourage you to take a look.
On May 31st the City also released the first annual report to the community called “Greater Together in 2016”. It’s available for viewing on the city website and I encourage you all to check it out.
There is a new tone at City Hall and this is an example of our goal to foster a better relationship with residents and provide all of you with more information.
And now to speak to our unprecedented investments in infrastructure during my term as Mayor.
At last year’s State of the City, I was very pleased to talk about some major infrastructure projects that funding had been approved for and this year I am even happier to see shovels in the ground.