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Building Sudbury 'From the Ground Up'

Entitled 'From the Ground Up,' city council got a look Tuesday at the plan that will guide decisions for the next decade – and hopefully lead to the creation of 10,000 net new jobs.
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Entitled 'From the Ground Up,' city council got a look Tuesday at the plan that will guide decisions for the next decade – and hopeful lead to the creation of 10,000 net new jobs. Supplied photo.
Entitled 'From the Ground Up,' city council got a look Tuesday at the plan that will guide decisions for the next decade – and hopefully lead to the creation of 10,000 net new jobs.

More than 2,300 people gave input into the plan, which cost $100,000 to produce. Those costs were split between the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund and the Greater Sudbury Development Corporation (GSDC).

 You can read the full report here. The process began in December, headed by a 24-person steering committee co-chaired by local businessman Darren Stinson.

Stinson told council that the report will guide decisions by the GSDC when they are evaluating which projects they should support.

Keys to success, he said, were partnerships between key groups in the city, including business, education, health care and other leaders.

“To reach our potential, the whole community must work together,” Stinson said.

Jim Marchbank, the other co-chair, said he was impressed by how many people are passionate about improving Greater Sudbury. He said the committee's focus was on “high-level” goals, such as the creation of 10,000 jobs in the next decade, which would require the city to create twice as many jobs as it has in the previous 10 years.

“It's a very ambitious goal,” Marchbank said.

To achieve it, he said the city needed the same sense of urgency that existed in 1978, a time of massive layoffs in the mining industry. It eventually led to the creation of the Taxation Data Centre, which became – and still is – a major employer.

“In 1978 Sudbury was in a crisis – there was a real sense of crisis that needed to be addressed,” he said. “Recapturing some of that I think would go a long way.”

Ian Wood, head of the GSDC, said From the Ground Up uses a tree analogy, with mining being the “root” of our economy. It seeks to building on those roots by developing key sectors – mining supply and service industry, tourism, education, research and health care.

To do that, we have to focus on encouraging entrepreneurs, finding ways to attract immigrants and migrants, ensure we have a skilled workforce and offer a high standard and quality of life.

“Tonight is just the beginning for From the Ground Up,” Wood said.

Events are planned “to engage the community in local economic potential,” the city said in a release. The first is scheduled for Nov. 23 and features Dr. Rui Wang, LU's vice-president of research, who will focus on research and innovation. The event begins at 5 p.m. in the concert hall of Collège Boréal.

“More such events will be announced in the coming months.”

Ward 5 Coun. Bob Kirwan welcomed the report, but wondered what concrete steps would follow to realize the lofty goals.

“Now it's time to roll up the sleeves,” Kirwan said. “Have you got in mind a next step? What do we have to change in order to turn this document into reality?”

Wanted details of specific steps and hard decisions that will have to be made to make vision a reality.

“Where are we going with this? We're already one year into the game.”

Stinson said some of the work is already progressing, pointing to success at AMRIC, the city's medical research facility, and at NORCAT. He said growing a facility like AMRIC could eventually lead to the sort of cluster that already exists in the mining supply and service industry.

“It's about building a critical mass,” Stinson said.

Even if the city doesn't achieve the full 10,000 jobs, he said even partial victories would be a success.

“If we only get 7,000, that's a huge win,” Stinson said.

Mayor Brian Bigger said unlike 1978, Sudbury is in a great position to grow and was encouraged by what he saw in From the Ground Up.

“I know this plan is coming from the heart,” Bigger said, adding it would help promote “unity of cause.”

“I see us already moving forward on many of these goals and initiatives,” he said. “I have a lot of confidence that this council will achieve these goals.”

Darren MacDonald

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