Voters want to know where the candidates stand on the issues and so does Sudbury.com.
To that end, we’ve created this election special feature: Where Do They Stand? We reached out to the council candidates and invited them to participate.
Each candidate has 250 words or less to stake out their position on each of these issues: the Kingsway Entertainment District (KED); downtown Sudbury and the urban-rural divide in our amalgamated city and; the top three issues facing the ward in which they're running.
We’ve been rolling a new story on a new ward for past week, as we work our way through all 12 wards, save Ward 2 and Ward 3 where the incumbents (Michael Vagnini and Gerry Montpellier, respectively) have been acclaimed.
From Ward 12, incumbent Joscelyne Landry-Altmann took part, as did challenger Shawn Ouimet. Candidates Tay Butt and Mike Petryna chose not to participate. Former candidate Leo Frappier left the race at the end of September.
The three questions we asked are:
1. Kingsway Entertainment District
People want to know: Do you support the construction of an event centre / casino / hotel complex on The Kingsway east of downtown? Do you support using taxpayer dollars to build a $100-million arena that will be paid off over a generation? Do you support expanded casino gambling? Explain your position.
2. Downtown and the urban-rural divide
The prevailing wisdom is that a healthy downtown equals a healthy city. Great downtowns attract new residents and new businesses (to the community, but not necessarily to the downtown core), and are a measure of a community’s economic health. But in our amalgamated city, municipal spending downtown is unpopular in rural parts of the community, which feel the urban areas receive more spending and more services. Are rural concerns legitimate? Are we doing enough for downtown? What should we do? Explain your position.
3. Ward issues
Thinking about your ward, what do you see as the top three issues facing your area of the city? How do you propose to address those issues?
Kingsway Entertainment District
Yes. The Kingsway site was one of two viable options identified in the consultant’s report to council. After much debate, council selected the Kingsway site. It is now time to move ahead without delay. Please find accurate financing information here.
I am not a gambler. Constituents have indicated time and time again that the expanded casino will provide a better entertainment experience that Sudburians are now going out of town to experience.
Downtown and the urban-rural divide
It is more about what has been done, what is available and are we conveying that message clearly. By that I mean, the municipality and the media collectively. Separating facts from fiction.
As an example, owntown has received $512,000 in incentives including façade improvement and tax incremental funding, development charge exemptions and now, $20,000 per door residential incentives. These incentives are also available to all town centers in the city, with not much intake by outlying areas, due to the lack of clear information.
Recently , the Chelmsford and Capreol CIP (community improvements plans) have been approved and the anticipated development of trails and waterways will be outstanding. With the parks revitalization each ward will get a selected park facelift starting with the most needy. Again, is this well known?
Transit needs to be improved and is being addressed in the Transit Master Plan.
Can we do more for the downtown and the other town centers? Probably, but the taxpayer cannot be the sole investor.
Ward 12 is the historic ward. It is centrally located, having access to all services, through transit. It encompasses well-heeled neighborhoods, heritage homes, social housing, the Junction Creek waterway, as well as Rotary Park, the most churches, librairies and secondary schools of any ward, two BIAs and four separate business communities.
Aging infrastructure: The threat of flooding in certain areas. We remain optimistic with the Junction Creek study recommendations. The infrastructure upgrades (pipe relining) and drainage realigning.
Roads: Maley Drive connections are integrated respecting established neighborhoods (meandering Montrose). Transportation Master Plan amendment passed in 2017, speeding and traffic calming, noise abatement for Maley and strategically installing sidewalks.
Winter maintenance for sidewalks and snowplowing;,transit meeting resident needs regardless of ability.
Community Safety: Negligent landlords enabling social disorder due to drug activity, making neighborhoods unsafe.and subject to B&Es.etc.
By improving neighborhoods (i.e. Laforest revitalization) will impact the demographics of the neighborhood, safety and lead to increased investment.and restore community pride. Playgound revilization: Pickelball at O’connor park and Percy Park Sports, centre Ridgecrest.
I advanced CPTED policies. They are now integrated as part of staff training. CPTED (Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design) audits as part of the CIP incentives, including downtown, for better safety measures implemented from the onset of redesign,.i.e. strategic lighting.
Participated in an ad hoc committee directly related to needles (Ward 10 & 12) resulting in the SACY contract to pick up needles.
Extensive community consultations through CANs and community groups along with city staff and agencies to work together to improve quality of life in neighborhoods.
I will continue on the same track!
Kingsway Entertainment District
The city is not here to build projects or buildings to help one business or one developer, but to build projects that unifies a city. It is up to that business or developer to create their own means of revenue and not rely on a public building(s) to generate customers or additional income, which is why I don't support the KED and believe it would have been best negotiated as a P3 project. However, as I have told many, I will not be the first to put my hand up to stop it. We need the proper people to set up/ negotiate terms and contracts with SWSE group and the developer for the best interests of the residences of Greater Sudbury.
If our Entertainment Centre is the anchor tenant, why are we paying for initial development? If Costco is the anchor tenant on the Riocan development, do you think they paid for the land development or did they sign 25 year leasing terms? We are already offering 30 years for the centre. We are partnering with two private companies: can they sign exclusive deals? If the casino has an Italian restaurant within the building and has an exclusive, then no other Italian restaurant can be built on the rest of this property. Is this something that our city wants to partner with? As a city we believe and want competition as it spurs the economy and creates more jobs. These plus many other questions should be asked when negotiating. I am experienced in knowing and asking these tough questions better than any other Ward 12 candidate and I will make sure our hard-earned tax dollars are being spent with your best interests.
Downtown and the urban-rural divide
I believe this is a yes and no answer. Yes, l do believe that rural areas feel the urban areas get more, but the urban areas feel the rural areas get more, and for that we as a city unfortunately have this inner hate towards any development in any section of Greater Sudbury.
Just to look back on the major developments downtown 1997: YMCA was built and that went to a referendum on location. Skip 20 years, downtown receives the School of Architecture, yet in that time it has lost Eatons, Zellers, Canadian Tire, Woolworths and many other stores that drew people from all areas of Greater Sudbury to the downtown.
The downtown is set with various improvement and incentive programs, however with past council and city staff not stepping up to find alternative businesses to cover those that were lost, created a hatred for downtown. Much like your first new car, you loved it but as the years past and it now has a cracked windshield, noisy muffler and faded paint you begin to hate it, when all that is needed is a little investment to bring that car back to life and you falling back in love with the car. I believe the same can happen with the downtown with a little investment and use of the programs (CIP, wave development fees) in place to draw new business I believe we can create many new jobs and boost the downtown and Greater Sudbury's economy.
Unemployment is No. 1 for me. Ward 12 has the highest unemployment rating out of all the wards and has held that distinction for 10-plus years and that is just unacceptable. The incumbent has worried about revitalizing parks, which I admit look great, however when we have no families to frequent the parks because they moved away to find work what good is a new playground.
I believe some of the ideas mentioned in the second question may create meaningful employment for Ward 12 residence.
Needles and paraphernalia. Did you know there are four opioid clinics in the downtown and this council approved the fourth one? For such a small area, of course, it looks even worse in Ward 12. (Did you know there are two in New Sudbury?) I would like to work with the provincial government to bring a safe injection site to Greater Sudbury. But not just that, I believe the city and the ward would benefit with an all-inclusive site where there could be an addiction centre, shelter for the less fortunate and food bank all in one location. This way everything is done inside in a safe environment where no drug paraphernalia leaves the building.
We need a privately run multi-pad arena in New Sudbury. Ever since Barrydowne Arena closed moons ago, this area has been lacking in a community sports centre. The reason I believe private-run would be best, past council approved a tourism tax on hotels. Private management companies running multi-pad venues need to create revenue (which is property tax for the city), so many have hockey, figure skating, arena football, ringette tournaments and many other types of sporting events. These tournaments don't just bring local teams, but teams from all over and they stay at hotels, which would generate tourism tax revenue for the city and we can then put that towards other tourism initiatives that I have mentioned in my platform at ShawnOuimet.ca.