As part of our 2022 municipal election coverage, Sudbury.com crafted an eight-query questionnaire for mayoral candidates, asking them to share their thoughts, opinions and strategies on everything from taxation to facilities rationalization to their leadership styles. We will be publishing the responses to each question in individual stories over the coming days. Each candidate was contacted by email several times to provide the questions and invite their participation. Not all candidates responded. As well, in the coming days you will be able to find the answers to each question on the election section of Sudbury.com. If you’re looking for information on how to cast your ballot, where to find your polling station or any other election-related question, you can find answers here.
Greater Sudbury has had a Downtown Master Plan for a decade now. It has been in the news since the KED project sought to relocate Sudbury Arena out of downtown, in contravention of the master plan which called for a vibrant downtown arena. Should the Downtown Master Plan be updated and should the city stop talking about it and get down to implementing it, and why?
Brian Bigger — Dropped out of the race.
A master plan in the downtown is a priority. We need a vibrant downtown Sudbury as we need vibrant downtowns in all our existing towns. People are telling me that we need to retake our downtown! The Master Plan must be updated. Let’s stop talking about it and get down to implementing it. Downtown Sudbury is vital to the success of our city. Presently there are many issues affecting the downtown. Some residents are insecure about coming to the downtown and are having difficulty finding parking. Many businesses have shut their doors. The new council needs to address the homelessness and opioids situation in the downtown. Many residents are very concerned to see people living on the streets and in parks. There is such sadness to see many of our people dying of overdoses. Mental health and drug addictions are so prevalent and it must be stopped. We must meet and set up a plan of action and do it. We must work with the Chamber of Commerce, the BIA, the non-profit groups, the businesses and the residents. We need all three levels of government engaged in this important issue. We need to build housing projects in the downtown. People living downtown ensure a successful setting to live, shop and have a social life.
In order to think about the downtown master plan we have so much work to do. In my discussion with families and emergency room doctors, the predominant cause of overdoses in Canada is directly tied to mental health. We need to start with a long term plan of action to combat this. I will work with local MPPs and the province, as well as our local school of medicine. This will allow an emphasis to be put on programs to have more psychologists and psychiatrists trained and licensed. If this can happen, it will ensure that we have a larger quantity of qualified people to deal with urgent matters and allow our community to prevent tragedies before they occur. Sudbury already has programs in place to assist. I would invite the leaders of all these programs/organizations to all attend a meeting and see what we can do to collaborate. This meeting will avoid duplication of services, and permit all of us to work together for the common good of helping the people in our society that May currently be struggling with circumstances beyond their control.
Bob Johnston — No answer provided.
I believe that the downtown master plan needs to be reviewed. Expensing this plan in my opinion won’t give the results intended while leaving citizens footing the bill. We need a culture change downtown. I believe small changes can have a big impact. I would look to have most of Durham street as a weekend walk on street where we allow vendors, farmers markets, artists and restaurants the freedom to do business will increase the traffic and culture and thus bring life to the downtown core. As well as increased services to deal with the homeless and opioid crisis.
The Downtown Master Plan is being reviewed, as it should be. As mayor, I will lead the effort to review and follow existing plans that taxpayers have invested in, ensure council is always receiving expert guidance, and that we are accountable to taxpayers. The Downtown Master Plan was welcome when it was passed 10 years ago, but its implementation did not live up to its promise. The KED is one example, but there are more. The Elgin Greenway is another, as well as Incentives for new housing. The city has lots of plans … very good plans. Plans developed by very capable staff and consultants. Greater Sudbury doesn’t lack for plans. What’s missing is the implementation of these plans. Too often they are shelved and ignored. As Mayor, I will ensure city council is held accountable for the strategies we create, and, just as importantly, their implementation.
J. David Popescu — No answer provided.
The impact of implementing the downtown master plan on the outlying communities needs to be considered when making this decision. A balance needs to be struck that would result in achieving the goal of a vibrant downtown without further negative impacts on the surrounding communities. While some people feel the economic and social well-being of downtown Sudbury needs serious attention, others, particularly those living outside the core of the city, feel it gets too much attention and tax dollars to begin with. To offset those negative views we should look at what city services could be decentralized to be more responsive to the needs of outlying communities?
I am interested in knowing this Downtown Master Plan. I will support a revitalized direction.