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Letter: Time for Vale to maintain its own lawns

Levack resident says it is high time the City of Greater Sudbury stop maintaining Vale property in Levack
typewriter pexels-caryn-938165 (From Pexels by Caryn)

The City of Greater Sudbury maintains acres of Vale property. For free. They mow, they plow, they repair – and they do it all without charge. 

Welcome to Levack, former home of Inco. A company town that doted on their community.  Arenas were built, homes were built, and no expenses were spared when creating a living environment that made it an enjoyable place to live, work and raise a family.

Enter Amalgamation and Vale – and things have become much different. No longer was Vale willing to invest in the community they so willingly hauled resources out of. Ore cars are hauled by the mile, yet nothing seems to come back into town for all of the record profits they’ve made.

In late May, when asking the city for permission to have people sit on the Levack lawns for a Canada Day event, I found out that the City of Sudbury owns only five meters of greenspace in downtown Levack along the business district. The rest is Vale property. 

We were told to get permission from Vale. This request was ignored by Vale for almost two months, and three days before the event we received a notice that if we were to sit on their lawns, we would be required to get $5 million in liability coverage, traffic studies and erect signage. 

Needless to say, it was easier to tell people to stay off their lawn.

Which begs the question – why is the city mowing and maintaining Vale property? The reason we received was “past practise”. Clearly, the “if you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always gotten” phrase doesn’t seem to resonate with the city.

This is not a case of reciprocal agreement. Vale for all intents and purposes have checked out of our communities. They aren’t interested in a partnership; they are interested in profits.

How convenient that they haven’t had to maintain their property they so forcefully protect.

To the city, I am asking for money spent maintaining Vale property for the last 25 years be returned to the residents of Levack. 

The city stated that there would be an outcry if the lawns weren’t maintained, and to this I say: Not our problem, send bylaw after them (like is done in neglected property cases). Vale is well-equipped to maintain their property.

If they would like the city to continue to maintain their property, then they should be billed accordingly.

In the meantime, I would like the city to run itself as a business. We shouldn’t be doing favours for corporate clients that have given up on our towns. When you know better, you do better, and I look forward to having our town reap the rewards of chargebacks for services rendered.

Chantelle Gorham