In its ongoing efforts to bring readers the news as it happens, Northern Life will once again be broadcasting live from Greater Sudbury city council tonight.
There are two hot items on the agenda this evening that have resonated with readers across the city and what better way to keep informed than to watch elected officials debate the issues and witness decision-making first hand.
On the agenda this evening, council is expected to approve its decision to oust Ontario Ombudsman André Marin as the city's closed-door meeting investigator and replace him with a firm called Local Authority Services (LAS), which is offered through the Association of Municipalities of Ontario and uses the London-based legal firm Amberely Gavel.
Council's decision, which only Mayor Marianne Matichuk opposed, was taken quickly and readers have been voicing their opinions on the matter — in very strong language in some cases — on NorthernLife.ca and on our letters page, since the motion was introduced two weeks ago.
Of the messages Northern Life has received, the majority, by far, agree with the mayor.
The Greater Sudbury Taxpayers Association circulated a petition in opposition to the motion introduced by Ward 3 Coun. Claude Berthiaume to replace Marin and said this week the response has been phenomenal. The group is also encouraging members of the public to attend the meeting to show their opposition in person.
That item is part of the minutes of the last meeting, so discussion should occur fairly close to the beginning of tonight's meeting following any presentations. It is expected to be pulled out for discussion when council moves to approve those minutes.
Another hot topic tonight will be a motion presented by Matichuk on how the city feels Sudbury can best benefit from the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation's (OLG) modernization strategy.
That OLG would like to move gambling activities closer to the centre of town in an effort to maximize profitability has brought words of caution both from councillors, the public and the Sudbury and District Health Unit, which last week issued a report warning of the potential social cost of increased access to gambling.
Although the ultimate decision on location rests with OLG, the city has been encouraged to communicate its expectations for a casino. Among the principles included in the motion is a requirement that developers work with local groups on complementary amenities, that these amenities include a hotel, convention or multi-use centre, a performing arts centre and/or an Ontario Hockey League-ready arena.
That motion comes up later in the meeting after bylaw presentations.
Northern Life will be broadcasting continuously until the discussion on the casino motion has ended. Connect to our livestream feed by clicking the live link at the homepage or by visiting live.northernlife.ca. You can also follow along with city hall reporter Darren MacDonald, who will be live-tweeting the meeting. Follow him @darrenmacd