After the last two terms of Greater Sudbury city council, marked by division, rancour and delusions of grandeur focused on creating a legacy of big projects and millions of taxpayer debt, citizens, including many older adults, are hoping for a change to boring and a council getting back to basics of good governance and responsibility.
First on the list of duties for a new council would be the cancelling of all proposed non-essential capital projects, which would include the Junction East (culture centre – new library and art gallery), the twin ice pads in the Valley and the downtown greenway, and to put to better use the money borrowed.
With the KED now dead, there should be focus on low-cost renovation of the downtown arena, which the city has just revealed is in good shape.
Likewise, there should be renovations to the existing arenas, community centres, fire halls and other facilities that have been neglected over the years, as well as more attention to needed infrastructure, especially our crumbling roadways, to which any money now borrowed should be directed, along with any matching funds from upper levels of government, to help completing upgrades to playgrounds, parks and trails that promote healthy lifestyles and make our community more attractive and liveable.
We need to be more environmentally friendly by restoring and renovating what we have, thereby reducing our carbon footprint and to not build new, or widened roadways that require more winter salt application, polluting our urban lakes and requiring ongoing maintenance and eventual replacement.
It is time for those elected for the next term to put away “dreams and schemes” and concentrate on the core services on which we all depend, boring though that may be, but essential. Attention should be paid to working with federal and provincial authorities to create more affordable housing, which would help address homeless and addiction problems.
As the Chamber of Commerce has recommended, the city needs to be more efficient in creating opportunities for business to thrive and create employment opportunities. The city should be looking at reducing their costs and the burden to taxpayers.
Those elected need to be more responsive to citizen needs and to hold ward meetings at least four times each year, and not just to communicate by mailed out flyers. This would give our representatives the opportunity to actually listen to taxpayer concerns with respect to any possible issues of importance and priorities.
We also expect our council to be fiscally responsible and to budget our collected tax money efficiently, and to determine cost savings through more efficient management and use of resources. It is important that while respecting senior staff to not let them have too much influence.
A return to city governance that is stress free should be the goal of those elected on Oct. 24 to put an end to the drama of the past two terms. Boring though it may be, it will be a welcome change. We can only hope.
Chair of the Canadian Association of Retired Persons (CARP) Sudbury