First, I’ll share some highlights from our 2016 construction season.
The City successfully tendered 49 infrastructure projects, equating to a $55 million dollar investment.
We repaired and rebuilt 80km worth of single lane roadway, repaired 1.8 km’s worth of sidewalks and curbs, 15 bridges, and a combined 10 km’s worth of new water mains. New sanitary sewer systems were also installed.
We also made very positive strides in supporting cycling and active transportation across Greater Sudbury by securing key funding and I’ll get into that work later.
20 new pedestrian crossovers were installed across our City.
This infrastructure is an important part of our ongoing effort to make our roadways safer for all users including pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists.
Last year, we worked extremely hard to attract almost $74 million dollars in funding from other levels of government for our infrastructure. Let’s think about that. $74 million dollars is being invested in our community in addition to what we are investing as a community.
This could not happen without strong relationships with our partners at the provincial and federal levels. Thank you.
So – what are we doing with this money?
2017 is going to be an extremely busy construction season. The City’s capital budget is $229.7 million, compared to $106.9 million last year. That’s more than double.
There is a new pace at City Hall. Our staff have never worked harder on your behalf.
65 projects worth approximately $100 million are planned to be tendered this year. We have already tendered out half of them including projects on Dominion Dr., Tilton Lake, First and Second Avenue in Coniston, and many others.
The City will be doing pavement rehabilitation work on MR 15 in Chelmsford, MR 55 in Ward 2, and MR 84 in Hanmer this construction season as well as on Fairbank East Road in 2017 and by Crean Hill Rd. the following year.
A total of 20 large culverts and bridges are being replaced or rehabilitated this year, 11 km’s worth of new watermain lines, sanitary sewer lines, and another 10 km’s worth of rehabilitation and realigning work.
We are listening to you and making our City more cycling and pedestrian friendly.
As I mentioned briefly, with the funding we received, the City will also be installing cycling infrastructure on Lorne, Second Avenue, Paris Street and Notre Dame which includes protected bike infrastructure on places like Lorne Street and Second Avenue.
The City will also be installing a total of 18 pedestrian crossovers across Greater Sudbury this year and we installed the first leading pedestrian interval crossing on Notre Dame Avenue and Kathleen Street.
For those who’ve driven by the largest infrastructure undertaking in our City’s history, Phase 1 of the Maley Drive Extension you will see that work is well underway and on track. I am so proud to see the progress that has been made! The first part of the widening contract is under construction and the second part will be tendered out in the coming months.
Much needed construction is proceeding on Lorne Street from Martindale to Logan.
Detailed engineering designs for the stretch of Lorne Street from Elm to Power will also begin this year which puts us in a position to release a tender for construction to begin on this section in June of 2018.
This project has come together nicely and thanks to productive consultations with local CAN’s. Across town in Minnow Lake, work on Second Avenue is on schedule and I know how anxious residents in the area are for this project to finally be completed.
Just beside all of this construction is the new Morel Family Foundation Park which had its grand opening this past Saturday.
You can take the people out of Sudbury, but not the Sudbury out of the people. At a cost $400,000 of this is a 100% donated park, playground, and splash pad which I know will be a big hit with the families in the area.
I’d like to thank Kelly and Cory Morel for this wonderful donation to our City in memory of your parents, Ray and Barb. Thank You.
Earlier in June, I travelled to Ottawa where I was able to secure meetings with Minister’s office staff to discuss funding opportunities for a number of infrastructure projects in Greater Sudbury including MR 35 and the remainder of Lorne Street.
As of now, detailed engineering designs are on track to be completed prior to the 2018 construction season. We’re hoping to gain the necessary phase two funding for these projects as well.
I support these much needed projects and I will continue to advocate for this funding and for other investments in our community that will address our infrastructure needs and grow our community.
Last month you heard how we significantly improved our quality assurance testing.
I know that we have to be strategic in our approach to tackling our infrastructure gap. Quality assurance is an important element.
Back in March, City Council met to discuss debt financing for infrastructure projects and other large capital projects.
Interest rates are at historical lows and if managed properly, now is the right time to fix our roads, our water/wastewater pipes, our facilities and plants, our cycling infrastructure, and get on a path to growth and quality of life that our residents expect, and that are set out in our strategic plan.
Like I stated previously. Instead of leaning back, we need to lean in.
We have the capacity to borrow money to grow our community. In fact, our revenue-to-debt ratio is one of the best in any municipality in Canada at 1.5% compared to the averages which are around 4%. We are in a strong financial position to use debt financing to our advantage for the right projects.
I look forward to our CFO and staff presenting Council with a new financing policy in the coming months so we can get to work.
We have also been looking to save money and address our infrastructure requirements while being environmentally friendly.
In 2016 and now halfway through 2017, City staff have been able to complete numerous building retrofits not only to our own facilities but also some of the buildings under the Greater Sudbury Housing Corporation.
Solar rooftop projects at Pioneer Manor and Countryside Arena, lighting retrofits at various arenas like Carmichael, Raymond Plourde and Centennial arenas and retrofits at the Sudbury waste water treatment plant have helped us save over $1.3 million dollars over the last 5 years in partnership with Greater Sudbury Hydro and Save on Energy.
And on the transit front, the City is making some key strides in improving transportation and how we get around here in Greater Sudbury.
It can be a challenge in a community our size but we are glad that we have found partners at the Provincial and Federal Government to help leverage our investments and improve our transit service.
Last August, our City was one of the first municipalities in Ontario to receive funding under the Public Infrastructure Fund from the Government of Canada. Being confirmed for funding was important, because it allowed us to build projects into our 2017 capital plans and get started immediately. The City has been granted a maximum funding allocation of approximately $7.3 million for investments in our infrastructure.
The remaining 50% share of $7.3 million is funded primarily using the Gas Tax Revenues in the 2017 Capital Budget.
This money is going towards 4 new buses in addition to the 9 already added this year, repairs and improvements to the downtown transit terminal which is commencing this summer, new and improved bus shelters across our community, and as you may have heard discussed earlier this month, the Greater Sudbury Transit Action Plan, resulting in better routes, better schedules and better service.
The first component: a study and review of the existing system reviewing service delivery levels and route planning.
The second component: implementing the necessary infrastructure changes. The end goal ultimately is to increase ridership and improve service.
On June 13th Council received an update on this review and the first phase of public engagement actually started today!
In February, another $5.3 million was announced for seven new transit projects in Greater Sudbury including a travel demand management strategy, and an intelligent transportation system strategic plan.
I’m looking forward to seeing the recommendations coming from these studies and plans which will allow us to apply for further transit funding and ultimately move citizens more efficiently across our community.
And speaking about new ways to get around our city, we are reviewing criteria under the new Provincial community cycling grant program and I am confident we will have good news to announce in the coming months.