Chantelle Gorham and Dave Kurtis believe that the outlying communities of Sudbury have been neglected by the City of Greater Sudbury, and so, they organized a rally outside of Tom Davies Square yesterday, Oct. 4.
It was organized by Chantelle Gorham, who told Sudbury.com previously the rally “is a reminder for the incoming council, whomever it may be, that we can’t endure another four years of what we have gone through.”
The rally was originally scheduled to coincide with the Oct. 4 council meeting, but a city spokesperson told Sudbury.com the meeting was rescheduled “to deal with the ratification of matters from the planning committee, which are time sensitive.”
The small but passionate group led by Gorham feel that communities like Levack, Onaping Falls, and Capreol are underserved and told Sudbury.com that they feel they are underserved by the municipality, and they feel they are taxed without a return on investment.
Dave Kurtis, a resident of Onaping Falls, said that the group's major complaint, similar to that of many in the outlying communities, have to “fight for basic services.”
Kurtis is frustrated at a city he said is complaint-driven rather than proactive about services its citizens need, but also, that the municipal government is top heavy with high pay for executives and an imbalance ratio of workers to “supervisors.”
“And we wonder why nothing gets done,” he said. “All we want is just basic service, and we shouldn't have to fight for them.”
Another sign held read, “Where are the police”
It’s a sentiment that organizer Chantelle Gorham has expressed before, in a letter to the editor published by Sudbury.com. The first words of the letter are “Where in the world are the police? Certainly not in our outlying communities.”
In it, she states she feels the police have “failed miserably” in their stated goals of “ensuring community safety and well being.”
“Repeated requests to patrol our area were met with all the excuses on why they couldn’t come out, how they were too busy and too short-staffed,” Gorham states.
She told Sudbury.com at the rally that she needs the incoming council to see Sudbury as a whole. She said that while these communities didn’t want to be dragged into the “Vortex” of the amalgamation of Sudbury, but now that it’s happened, “we can’t continue to be invisible.” and that they shouldn’t have to beg for services.
“It shouldn't take a call from the citizens to say, ‘Hey, our light posts haven't worked for years’, or ‘our garbage is overflowing’,” Gorham said. “The roads are almost impassable, certainly for bicycles and pedestrians, and it shouldn't take a resident to highlight these issues.”
And Gorham still has strong feelings about policing in her community, even in light of GSPS Chief Paul Pederson’s response to Gorham’s letter, defending police and clarifying what they saw as factual errors in her letter.
“We begged for police officers to come in and take care of enforcement,” Gorham said, and add that “If they do come out there, they're certainly not being all that proactive. They're just there to to be seen and not necessarily to see.”
Kurtis reiterates the need for basic services. “We're not asking for the moon in the sun, we're asking for basic services for all of Sudbury,” he said. “Council and the City seem to have been focused on legacy building, million dollar projects, and we just want decent roads.”
These are the issues that Kurtis and Gorham will be focused on in the upcoming municipal election. Electronic voting begins Friday, Oct. 14, at 10 a.m. and will remain open until 8 p.m. on Election Day, Monday, Oct. 24.
Jenny Lamothe is a reporter with Sudbury.com. She covers the diverse communities of Sudbury, especially the vulnerable or marginalized, including the Black, Indigenous, newcomer and Francophone communities, as well as 2SLGBTQ+ and issues of the downtown core.