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‘Poor condition’ Fielding Rd. makes Sudbury’s 2023 priority list

Long-awaited work along Fielding Road is slated to be prioritized in next year’s municipal work plan, with seven other industrial hubs bumping up the city’s list of projects in subsequent years
Peter and Ryan Matusch, the father-son duo behind businesses along Fielding Road, are seen standing on the road’s stretch of pavement last year, at which time the road carried a pavement condition index of 34, which is classified as “poor.”

Road and other infrastructure work within the city’s main industrial neighbourhoods is poised to receive a stronger prioritization from the City of Greater Sudbury in future budget years.

“We know that speed to market and being shovel-ready is pretty much the top priority for most investors who are looking at all different regions these days,” said Meredith Armstrong, the city’s director of economic development during this week’s finance and administration committee meeting.

Although the city has a great deal of land available, there’s a gap when it comes to how much of that land is available for development. 

The city has a vacant industrial land inventory of more than 830 gross hectares across 150 sites of varying infrastructure servicing. Considered a “vast supply,” there’s no immediate plan to develop much of this land in the city’s Employment Land Strategy, released this week. They do, however, recommend ensuring there’s a suitable supply of 100 net hectares (double the forecasted need) of land shovel-ready for industrial use by 2046.

“Ideally, the city’s available land supply would be even greater, to ensure a broad range of options among prospective occupiers in terms of location, land pricing, servicing, and planning designation/permitted uses,” according to the strategy. 

The strategy lines up eight industrial areas to be prioritized to accommodate new industrial growth, including:

  • Fielding Road/Duhamel Road, with a new infrastructure cost of $18.8 million. New water mains would be needed in this area, as it is not currently serviced with a municipal water system. 
  • Lasalle/Elisabella, at a cost of $13.3 million due to upgrades required alongside surrounding roads due to undersized infrastructure.
  • National Street, at $547,250 to extend a water main on National Street north to O’Neil Drive West.
  • Maley Drive, at $2.48 million for water main work.
  • Coniston, at more than $50 million, cost-inflated to 2031, to service the industrial area south of Allan Street and its surrounding area.
  • The Kingsway, at unknown cost due to the report relying on the assumption the Kingsway Entertainment District was moving forward and would fund the area’s infrastructure needs.
  • Ceasar Road, at no cost as water main upgrades within Kelly Lake Road are now in place
  • Valley East, at $570,000 for new water mains to be constructed to connect with existing mains within Valleyview Road at Balisle Drive.

The Fielding Road project was punted to the top of the stack during this week’s meeting due to a motion by Ward 2 Coun. Michael Vagnini asking the city to prioritize it during 2023 budget deliberations. 

His motion calls on the city to prepare a business case “outlining the cost to reconstruct Fielding Road with a breakdown of the cost to include water and/or water and wastewater, for council’s consideration during the 2023 budget deliberation.

This is a project the industrial property owners along Fielding Road have been long calling for.

Last year, connected with CCM Contracting president and Equipment North and Metex Manufacturing founder Peter Matusch, who said the pre-amalgamation municipality of the day and later the City of Greater Sudbury have talked about improving the road since at least 1986.

They finally started work on this pledge last year by installing a water main toward the Metex Manufacturing location at a 50/50 cost share the city spent approximately $267,375 on. 

This week, Matusch told the city moving forward with work on Fielding Road would be a boon to area businesses.

“Fielding Road could use a lot of upgrades, it could use new pavement, it could use more services, it could use a lot of things here,” he said. 

“The pavement’s in such a mess because a lot of businesses have a lot of heavy equipment going up and down here.”

Vagnini echoed these concerns during this week’s meeting, at which he described the road as underservicing an important economic hub in his ward.

“When a transport cannot get down the street to drop off goods for the particular business owner, that’s when it really impedes our economic strategy,” he said, adding that he has also caught wind of some business owners looking to leave the area due to the road’s patchwork condition. Last year, the city listed Fielding Road’s pavement condition index as 34/100, which indicates a “poor condition.” This is below the city-wide average of 49 recorded in 2019, which is considered “fair.”

With city staff having already studied Fielding Road a few times in the past several years, Mayor Brian Bigger said they should be able to get rolling on its complete rebuild in a timely manner. 

“Hopefully shovels in the ground in 2023.”

Whatever incarnation of city council is elected on Oct. 24 will decide on business cases for the Fielding Road work as well as how to proceed with the balance of infrastructure needs cited in the Employment Land Strategy, though the latter will be a multi-year process.

Not including the Coniston work, the city anticipates a positive return on investment by making most of these infrastructure improvements. Fielding Road/Duhamel Road work is an exception, where total costs of a 50-year horizon “slightly exceed potential incremental property tax value over the same time period,” according to the strategy.

Following this week’s meeting, Bigger expressed enthusiasm for the strategy in conversation with

“We have to attract employees, and employers of significant numbers of people, and they need a place to work,” he said, adding the attraction of the capital investment gained through an increased availability of serviced land quickly snowballs.

“They attract municipal assessment and help us collect taxes on those newly built investments in the community, plus we also have the offshoot, which is the investment in housing.”

Pulling Fielding Road aside, he said the city tried to get rolling on its rebuild in 2008, 2012 and 2013, but came up short. 

“It always came back to this whole thing of, if there’s no cost-sharing, there’s no road fix. Well, that’s no solution,” he said, adding that between Vagnini’s motion and the Employment Land Strategy, city council has now placed this work as a priority.

“There will be many businesses pleased to hear that it’s been positioned as a priority for 2023,” he said of Fielding Road, adding work on the other industrial lands listed will follow in subsequent years.

Tyler Clarke covers city hall and political affairs for


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Tyler Clarke

About the Author: Tyler Clarke

Tyler Clarke covers city hall and political affairs for
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