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Good morning, Sudbury! Here are seven stories to start your day

Here's what's happening around Greater Sudbury today
It was a busy construction season in 2020 for Greater Sudbury, with a total investment of more than $98.7 million into the city’s roads, water, sewer and active transportation networks, as well as bridges and large culverts. (File)

Good morning, Greater Sudbury.

Here are some stories to start your day.

City completed nearly $100M in construction projects in 2020:

It was a busy construction season in 2020 for Greater Sudbury, with a total investment of more than $98.7 million into the city’s roads, water, sewer and active transportation networks, as well as bridges and large culverts. “We continue to invest heavily in roads to ensure economic and future growth, and improve quality of life for residents,” said Greater Sudbury Mayor Brian Bigger.  “This city council has recognized the importance of road quality and active transportation in our community, and has made record investments to help get us back on track. Whether it be through road rehabilitation, or more cycling routes and sidewalks, the health and safety of our community benefits long-term from these investments.” In 2020, the city rehabilitated 38.9 lane km of roadway in 18 locations, installed 2,600 metres of new sidewalk in three locations, replaced nearly 3,000 meters of water main at seven locations and completed 92,000 square metres of larged asphalt patches. Check out what other construction projects the city completed in 2020 here.

Public Health Sudbury reports xx new COVID-19 cases for Greater Sudbury over the weekend:

Public Health Sudbury and Districts reported three new cases of COVID-19 over the weekend. A single new case was reported on Saturday, while two cases were reported on Sunday. There are currently 24 active cases of COVID-19 in Greater Sudbury and there have been 587 reported since March, 2020.  Two Sudbury schools had classes dismissed until March 2 due to positive cases of COVID-19. St-Augustin School had a fifth grade class dismissed while St. Charles College dismissed its R7C class. Provincially there were 2,315 cases of COVID-19 reported over the weekend, with 1,228 reported Saturday and 1,087 on Sunday. Public Health Ontario reported 43 COVID-19 deaths over the weekend.

Sudbury community safety workers could be getting a new furry friend:

The city of Greater Sudbury has an opening in its community safety department and is looking for a candidate with four legs and fur. On Feb. 17, the emergency services committee voted in favour of taking the next steps in the application process to acquire a community safety facility dog that will serve as a mental health support for paramedics and fire services employees. It can take up to two years to acquire a facility dog, with the process being dependent on the availability of a trained dog and establishing the service guidelines to put the program into place. Startup costs for the facility dog are in the range of $10,000, which includes the mandatory training for the handlers established by the National Service Dogs and the equipment for the dog when at the primary or secondary handlers' residence or within the community safety facility. The initial startup cost will be covered by the one-time funding provided by the Province for Psychological Mental Health Programs to address OSI to First Responders. An average facility dog tends to be a large breed dog, weighing around 70 lbs. and annual costs ring in at around $5,000 which includes food, veterinary bills and grooming. Startup costs can be covered by provincial funding and ongoing costs would be shared within the community safety operating budget. Find the full story here.

Speak up, Sudbury: City wants your input on the Junction East project:

The City of Greater Sudbury will facilitate a series of consultation sessions between February and April of 2021 on the Junction East Project, which includes the new main branch of the Library, along with the Art Gallery of Sudbury. In conjunction with the design consultant, WZMH Architects, the city will be seeking the community’s input into the development of a design for the facility.  Residents are invited to participate in the first public consultation sessions, Feb. 22 from 3 to 5 p.m. or from 7 to 9 p.m. This will be an opportunity to learn more about, and ask questions related to, the landmark Junction East project. More information is available here.

City outlines first phase of its five-year climate action plan:

The City of Greater Sudbury has released its plan outlining the climate change actions it will undertake over the next five years in support of the Community Energy and Emissions Plan (CEEP). The CEEP is the long-term plan to reduce carbon emissions and pollution in Greater Sudbury and create a clean energy future. It responds to council’s Climate Emergency declaration in May 2019, which included a commitment to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.  That means reducing greenhouse gas emissions caused by human activity to as close to zero as possible, and removing remaining emissions from the atmosphere. The CEEP was unanimously approved by Council on Sept. 22, 2020. The action plan was presented to city council at its meeting on Feb. 9. “Greater Sudbury has joined the ranks of thousands of municipalities around the world taking action to reduce energy and GHG emissions and stimulate a green economy,” said Greater Sudbury Mayor Brian Bigger.  “This action plan sets out municipal efforts in particular, but climate change affects all of us, and achieving a net-zero Greater Sudbury by 2050 will very much rely on the combined efforts of the entire community – government, businesses, not-for-profits and residents.” Find out what goals are outlined in the first phase of the action plan here.

Reminder: Applications for property tax rebates are due by March 1:

The deadline to apply for the Registered Charity Rebate program and applications under Section 357 of the Municipal Act, is March 1, 2021. Rebates for the Registered Charity program apply for those who occupy commercial or industrial property. To be eligible, a registered charity must comply with the definition set out in the Income Tax Act and have a registered charity number provided by Canada Revenue Agency. Rebates for applications under Section 357 apply to residents who: Have completed a building demolition, have been assessed for properties that should be exempt, believe they have been assessed at an incorrect tax rate, believe a significant clerical error occurred on their property assessment. Applications must be received by the Tax Department before Monday, March 1, 2021.

Northern Credit Union announces closure of seven branches:

In a news release issued Feb. 18, Northern Credit Union announced consolidation plans for a number of its branches. Of Northern's 31 locations, seven are set to close, including those in Iron Bridge, Richard's Landing, and the Second Line branch in Sault Ste. Marie. Clients will be directed to other nearby branches to conduct in-person banking. "This decision helps support the continued long-term financial viability of our organization. We must ensure the ability to meet the changing needs of our members and deliver on the community-based projects we remain committed to supporting in the areas that we serve in our “Northern” communities," said Northern Credit Union president and CEO Richard Adam in the release. Full story here.

Monday Weather:

Cool and cloudy day in the forecast to kick off the work week. Mainly cloudy this morning with periods of snow this afternoon. Today's high will be sitting right around the freezing mark. Grey skies will hang around into the evening with snow expected. Overnight low will drop to -3, feeling like -12 with the wind chill. For current weather conditions, short-term and long-term forecasts visit's weather page at