I have lived in Sudbury my entire life, except for one year that I travelled Ontario. During that time, I lived in small cities and big cities for about two months at a time.
Want to know which cities were my favourite and the nicest to live in? The ones with casinos and great event centres. Why, you ask? Well, that's a simple answer: tourism and revenue.
Since 2013, there has been a debate in Sudbury over the Kingsway Entertainment District. Let us be real for a minute though; it's been more of a witch hunt by a small group of people who are against the project and some online trolls who don't even live in Sudbury.
The majority of people I have spoken to are for the project.
Now I want to take a minute to travel back in time to some of the blunders Sudbury has made by people who seem afraid of change.
In the early turn of the millennium, Toyota was looking to build a new plant in Ontario and wanted to put it in Sudbury because this is where they buy their nickel, so it made sense to cut costs. This would have had several positive impacts, less of an environmental impact by not having to haul metal, jobs to build the plant and jobs to run the plants. Hundreds of jobs. Currently, the plant in Cambridge, has more than 500 people on the payroll. Now why did this not happen? Well, Sudbury is a mining town. Any other major factory would take away from our mines and heritage.
In 2005, the Inco-Falconbridge merger was blocked. Instead of allowing two mining companies to merge and become one big local company, people stopped it in fear of what would happen without competition.
The result: Inco was sold to an international giant that doesn't seem to care one bit about our local heritage and has cut down the workforce to a quarter of what it once was, and tried to scale back the benefits their employees deserve.
The point is every time someone tries to do something good for this community, someone comes along trying to stop it for selfish reasons that result in our community suffering.
I love the Sudbury Wolves and I love going to live events, more than six a year. Those events had maybe 50 per cent attendance and it's because others had already seen what I failed to see prior to the last event I attended.
That last event was with my daughter to see Paw Patrol live on stage. After leaving the event and going to our car, I witnessed three people using needles for illegal drugs outside the centre. I had someone ask for money and when I didn't have any because everything is debit these days, he spit on me in front of my kid.
Not to mention after working downtown graveyard shifts for two years I have stopped going downtown after dark. I don’t feel safe anymore.
This group who insist that the event centre remain downtown is obviously blind to how bad the downtown has become. Nobody with the money to go to these events wants to go downtown for them anymore.
The KED will create hundreds of jobs both during construction, and then through its operation after completion. It will bring in tourism. It will bring in more events once the seats start filling up when people realize the new centre is in a clean, inviting area.
Even if we're dealing with an easterly wind, I will take a whiff of garbage over dealing with what I’ve seen downtown any day of the week.
The group that has been trying to derail the KED is no different. These people have already cost this city millions in taxpayer money to defend innovation and good planning. They want to keep us in the stone age and stop the creation of jobs, tourism and an exciting new path for Sudbury. It is time to put it to rest.
The people of Sudbury have spoken time and time again and we want change. We want innovation. We want a new event centre. The debate is over and it's time to get to work.