Highlights and Excerpts from the Inauguration Speech of Mayor Brian Bigger

Dec 4, 2018

Highlights and Excerpts from the Inauguration Speech of Mayor Brian Bigger

Last evening Mayor Brian Bigger delivered his inauguration speech where he addressed citizens, new and returning councillors, the media and City of Greater Sudbury staff.
Below are the key points from Mayor Bigger’s speech and the expectations he has for the City of Greater Sudbury for the next four years.
Economic Development and Growth
•    “The developers who invest in our City, the people who want to see 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 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 are investing in our downtown core. There are 160 million dollars worth of projects that are currently in development. It will be a cultural and creative hub, it will be a multicultural and multigenerational junction for activities and ideas it will be a destination and once completed it will be the renewal, we have all been striving for, for years.”

•    “I also believe we need a new direction for our downtown and those who advocate for businesses there. The owners and members I’m speaking with tell me they want to see business improvement ideas and initiatives and 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 generation of vibrant downtown ideas.”

A Safer Sudbury
•    “We need to ensure people feel safe so that visitors feel welcome and that 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.”

The Election Process
•    “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.”

•     “I will be requesting that staff come up with a new process that incorporates both an online and paper ballot option. 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.”
Mayor Bigger also spoke to the report he commissioned to garner public opinion and feedback regrading the perceptions, needs and expectations of voters.  
Surveys were conducted by telephone at the Oraclepoll call center using person to person live operators from the days of November 1st and November 10th , 2018. The margin of error for the total sample is ±3.5% at 95% (19/20). 
That comprehensive report conducted by Oraclepoll Research showed the following:
•    The 2018 Municipal Election saw more older voters turn out and those under the age of 35 less likely to cast a ballot. This despite the perception that e-voting would increase the number of millennials participating.

•    Reasons for not voting related to apathy and a lack of interest or enthusiasm for the candidates – this among those younger. Also cited was the voting process, which included a lack of a paper ballot option, fears over the security of cyber-balloting and not getting a voting card and polling station inaccessibility – these latter concerns most named by those older.

•    Having a paper ballot option would have increased the turnout – more than half, of especially older citizens.

•    Most 2018 voters did cast a ballot in the advanced polling period and a low number used polling stations.

•    Only six in ten rated their voting experience as good or very good. Given the fact that the voting process should be seamless, this is cause for concern. Residents voting at polling stations and on Election Day had elevated negative (poor or very poor) experiences. 

•    Residents satisfied with how they voted, were pleased with the convenience of the process. Conversely, those dissatisfied recalled technical problems, especially the perception the system crashed and fears over cyber security. Despite how some may want to claim this was not a crash – this is what the public felt happened. While some may remember the slow days of dial-up access, younger voters do not and slow to them equals “crash or failure”.

•    There was split of opinion on the issues of online security, while more not feeling the system was secure. Residents who did not vote were especially concerned over online security.

•    Communications from the City leading up to the Election that included letting people know about the process and communication on Election Day was a failure. While residents have a very poor perception of how the City communicates in general, the Election outreach campaign (despite the money spent on it) did not reach citizens – especially younger voters that most of stayed away from the process.

•    In a marketplace where the influence of traditional media has been eroded, residents want an improved digital communications approach. This in tandem with traditional methods are in obvious need of improvement.

•    While there is a split (much driven along age lines) of how people prefer to cast their own ballot in the future, an overwhelming 78% of citizens want there to be a combination of in-person paper balloting and online voting options in 2022. This sentiment was felt across all age cohorts and regardless of how they prefer to vote and if they voted in October.


Melissa Zanette, Office of the Mayor
705-671-2489 extension 2521
E-mail: melissa.zanette@greatersudbury.ca