Good morning, Greater Sudbury.
Here are some stories to start your day.
Protesters say something must be done about local home improvement company:
More than a dozen Sudburians gathered at the corner of Paris and Brady streets March 7 to protest a Sudbury home improvement company they say has left numerous Sudbury residents out thousands of dollars. The focus of the protesters' anger is David Murray, the owner of a local contracting company, EcoLife Home Improvements Inc. Protesters told stories of being bilked and bullied when they dealt with the company, sharing stories of how much money they lost, about paying for a job on their homes that was never completed. When asked by Sudbury.com to comment on the accusations, Murray issued a statement, blaming the Ford government's cancellation of the GreenON program as the main reason that a lot of work hasn't been completed. "This isn't just a Sudbury problem, it's an Ontario problem," he said when reached by phone. Full story can be found here.
Queen's skating oval now closed for the season:
It's that bittersweet time of year again as winter starts to wane away and spring starts to show itself. Temperatures are steadily starting to rise and snow is giving way to rain drops more and more frequently. While the excitement of bidding farewell to winter can't be denied, outdoors enthusiasts must also bid adieu to some of their favourite winter activities. The first domino fell on March 13 as Queen's Athletic skating oval has officially closed for the season. Ramsey Lake skating path remains open, as do Adanac ski hill and Lively ski hill. "We're hoping they can stay open through the March Break, but it's really dependant on the weather," said Shannon Dowling, communications officer with the City of Greater Sudbury. Nina's Way skate path at Kivi Park was closed due to the weather on March 13, but there has been no indication that they are closed for the season as of publication time. Updates on closures at the city's ski hills can be found at greatersudbury.ca/ski.
Val Therese man is $250,000 richer:
Michel Brazeau of Val Therese is $250,000 richer after winning the top prize on the Instant Crossword Deluxe game (Game No. 2113). The 61-year-old miner picked up his prize at the OLG Prize Centre in Toronto. Brazeau bought the ticket at the Val Caron Kwik Way on Highway 69. After checking his ticket on the OLG Lottery App, Brazeau said he "thought the phone was broken” when he saw that he had won. Married and a father of three and a grandfather of six, Brazeau plans on buying a new car for his wife and saving the remainder of his windfall.
City may ease ban on overnight parking in winter:
Ward 11 Coun. Bill Leduc is introducing a motion next week that would ease the city's overnight parking ban. The ban begins Dec. 1 each year and runs until the end of March. No vehicles can park on city streets between midnight and 7 a.m. Commercial vehicles and trailers are banned from 9 p.m. until 7 a.m. The ban ensures city crews are able to clear snow from roadways and sidewalks during winter months. The city aggressively enforces the bylaw, which could net motorists a $75 ticket and the possibility their vehicle will be towed to make room for plows. This year, an exception was made, allowing overnight parking on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year's Eve. Full story here.
This man thinks we should be paying more for water ... he may be onto something:
When it comes to the cost of water, Greater Sudbury has been doing a balancing act for the last number of years. Mandated by the province to make the system pay for itself, city council has raised rates by 7.4 per cent each of the last four years. It's part of a long-term plan Greater Sudbury has to prepare every decade, outlining how the system will eventually become self-sustaining. It's a balancing act for two reasons: one, such large increases are politically unpopular. In fact, this is the first city council to actually implement the increases. In the past, they were recommended by staff, but size of the increase was always less than recommended. The second part of the balancing act is that, when you raise rates, consumption drops, which means water revenue estimates sometimes come in lower than forecast. Since the vast majority of costs in water and sewer are fixed – which means the costs are the same regardless of how much water we consume -- that puts more pressure on rates, as the city has less money to maintain the system. More on this story here.
Salvation Army announces closure of Sudbury downtown men's shelter:
The Salvation Army has announced the closure of its downtown Sudbury men's shelter. The New Life Centre shelter will wind down its operations in the coming weeks, closing as of May 10. The Salvation Army is committed to supporting employees and the 20 clients affected by this closure, said the press release. Over the coming months, The Salvation Army will be working with the City of Sudbury to ensure those in need continue to receive the support they require. The Salvation Army is also working closely with the United Steelworkers Union Local 2020 to ensure employees are receiving the support they need during this process. The Salvation Army will continue to serve women, parents and children in need through its Cedar Place facility. Full story can be found here.
New autism funding just a 'Band-Aid solution,' teachers local says:
Parents, educators, and Ontario's official opposition party are standing together as the Ford government continues to roll out changes to the province's autism services. Education minister Lisa Thompson announced on March 11 that Ontario school boards will be getting additional funding to help with hundreds of new students with autism who are expected to arrive in public school classrooms next month. As many as 8,400 children will be kicked out of the Ontario Autism Program (OAP) starting on April 1 and will be integrated into the public school system. Thompson announced that the government will provide schools with $12,300 per new student. In Sudbury, parents of children with autism have formed the Northern Ontario Autism Alliance and have rallied twice in the past month against changes to the Ontario Autism Program that will see a shift from needs-based funding to an age and income-based model. While the early estimate on the number of children who will be taken out of the OAP and moved into the public school system is around 8,400, the funding appears to apply only to new students, as many autistic children are already attending public school on a part-time basis and will not qualify for the funding when they are shifted to full-time. More on this story can be found here.
Second cannabis store will be at the Four Corners:
The owners of Greater Sudbury's second cannabis retail store say they are working as fast as they can to open, with the goal to be operating as close to the April 1 opening day as possible. The second store, owned by Saturninus Partners, will be located at 2019 Long Lake Rd., in the Four Corners business section, near the Shoppers Drug Mart store in the South End. Michael Colborne, one of those Saturninus Partners, said they are opening the shop under the Canna Cabana brand, and the shop will be modern and accessible. Like the Marcus Drive store, the Four Corners site has to go through a public comment period, which lasts until March 22 at AGCO.ca. Only two of Ontario's initial 25 cannabis stores will be located in the North, both of them in Sudbury. More on this story can be found here.
Greater Sudbury considers adding more used syringe bins:
While no solutions are in sight, Greater Sudbury is working to limit the impact of the opioid crisis by reducing the number of used syringes discarded on city streets. Next week, the community services committee will consider adding another three used needle bins to the downtown area, bringing the total to 11. The bins were recommended in 2016 by the Community Drug Strategy Committee as part of a broader harm reduction strategy, the report said. The committee includes police, health and city representatives, as well as community groups on the front lines of the crisis. Two bins were initially installed in 2016, and three more were installed the following year, at 200 Larch St., the green stairs on St. Anne’s Road and at Energy Court, behind 105 Elm St. Full story here.
Cloudy today with rain beginning in the morning. Risk of a thunderstorm in the afternoon with between 10 to 15 mm of rain falling. Thursday's high will get up to 7. Rain expected to continue into the evening risk of a thunderstorm in the evening. Overnight low will be sitting around 3. For current weather conditions, short-term and long-term forecasts visit Sudbury.com's weather page at www.sudbury.com/weather.