FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Why are you running for mayor?
I am running for mayor because I am concerned about the future of our city. I want to work with the city council and citizens to build a city we can truly be proud of -- and that future generations are able to enjoy. To do that, we need to strategically invest in ourselves. As mayor, I will act as Sudbury’s Brand Ambassador to promote our economy and attract new businesses, professionals and families. I will protect green space and encourage community development that enhances ecological resilience and reduces emissions. I will empower community leaders in solving social problems so no one is left behind. I will support projects that enhance livability for our citizens and make Sudbury a recreation and entertainment destination.
What unique qualities can you bring to council chambers?
My extensive work in the community over the past 20 years demonstrates that I am a leader and a consensus builder. And I have proven, as Sudbury’s voice in Ottawa, that I can work with all levels of government and all community groups to deliver results for Greater Sudbury. I will leverage my experience and skills to negotiate longer-term/stable funding with federal and provincial governments, introduce a social procurement policy within city operations, empower an innovative public service, and build on existing strategic plans.
Which city issues are top of mind for you?
I have laid out five fundamentals for governing.
Lead with Intention – I will listen to the community and work with Council to make the decisions that matter.
Promote, Attract and Innovate – I will act as Sudbury’s Brand Ambassador to promote our economy and attract new businesses, professionals and families.
Environmental Responsibility – I will protect green space while reducing emissions and mitigating climate risks to our community
Support and Empower Citizens – I will support community leaders in solving social problems so no one is left behind.
Foster a Liveable City – I will push projects that make Sudbury a recreation and entertainment destination.
Tell us about someone who has inspired you in your life.
Definitely my mother. I grew up in a small house in Kapuskasing, my father worked as a welder in the paper mill and my mother raised three kids and was involved in the community. Despite having all that going on, my mother put herself through university by correspondence and earned a degree in social work. She used her education to work with youth in our community, and our house became a foster home for many children who needed stability in their lives.
My parents taught me that family and community always come first and that we are all responsible for the well-being of our community. My parents taught me to be proud to serve Greater Sudbury, and all Greater Sudburians.
What do you see as the top three priorities facing the City of Greater Sudbury and briefly describe how you will address them?
I am running for mayor because I am concerned about the future of our city. I want to work with the city council and citizens to build a city we can truly be proud of -- and that future generations are able to enjoy. To do that, we need to strategically invest in ourselves.
As mayor, I will act as Sudbury’s Brand Ambassador to promote our economy and attract new businesses, professionals and families. I will protect green space and encourage community development that enhances ecological resilience and reduces emissions. I will empower community leaders in solving social problems so no one is left behind. I will support projects that enhance livability for our citizens and make Sudbury a recreation and entertainment destination
What is your involvement in the community?
My extensive work in the community over the past 20 years – as a volunteer, as a board member, and as a community builder -- demonstrates that I am a leader and a consensus builder. And I have proven, as Sudbury’s voice in Ottawa, that I can work with all levels of government and all community groups to deliver results for Greater Sudbury. I will leverage my experience and skills to negotiate longer-term/stable funding with federal and provincial governments, introduce a social procurement policy within city operations, empower an innovative public service, and build on existing strategic plans.
Are you alarmed by the amount of debt the city has taken on in recent years? How will you address this moving forward?
Debt is necessary for investment, and Greater Sudbury’s credit rating remains strong. I’m confident the money borrowed for large projects can bring the return on investment taxpayers expect. That said, we cannot afford any more debt in Greater Sudbury.
There has been a lot of discord over the past four years. How would you work with your peers to overcome these challenges and move forward in unity?
Greater Sudbury needs intentional leadership, consensus building, and considered decision-making. A leader who listens and holds himself and those he manages accountable, and makes decisions based on clearly articulated values and best practices. I promise to be transparent, making sure our decisions fall in line with the values of Greater Sudbury and are communicated publicly.
The mayor is only one vote on the council, which means the incoming head of the council must be able to play the game of politics well enough to get a majority of the council to back their agenda. Describe your leadership style and how you propose a single vote at the table to get the city council to support your agenda and priorities.
As Mayor, I promise to foster consensus and strategic decision-making on the council that will balance the needs of communities with the resources we have. I will empower the administrative public service to make innovative proposals and build a culture where the city is a partner with the community and not a roadblock. And I will connect people from across the communities and across sectors to find solutions.
To build consensus in our Constellation of Communities, we need a mayor and council that leads with integrity, accountability and transparency, and that is my commitment.
What to do with the borrowed money: Greater Sudbury borrowed $200 million to fund various projects, including $90 million to fund the Kingsway Entertainment District project, of which about $5 million was spent. Now that the KED is dead, the borrowed money earmarked for its construction (approximately $85 million) could be used for other things. What should the city do with that money?
That borrowed money should be used for its intended purpose – to provide Greater Sudburians with a world-class event centre. Two things are true: the Downtown Sudbury Community Arena needs to be replaced or renovated, and Greater Sudbury deserves a world-class event centre. The same is true with plans to invest in a new downtown library, a new Art Gallery of Sudbury and a Multicultural and Folk Arts Association Centre.
The price tags as proposed for these things are steep, but I have no doubt that with the right plan and the right partners, the next council can bring the cost to taxpayers down and bring a better return on our investment. To do this, we should be building on existing local infrastructure, working with existing local businesses, and remember the goal is to attract new investments.
We have to work together to find solutions to see these projects through in a way that meets our needs, builds on our goals of developing sustainably, and improves the social, economic and employment fabric of our city. Most importantly, we must work together to find solutions that will bring our community together, rather than divide us.
Downtown Arena: The consensus is that Greater Sudbury needs a new arena/event centre or a refurbished and upgraded downtown arena. With the KED dead, what is the best solution to the city’s arena situation and how should it be achieved?
In the end, the KED would have cost taxpayers $80 million in infrastructure (roads, intersections, parking lots, drainage, and more), on top of the $135 million for a new arena. That was unaffordable.
We do need a new arena, but it needs to go where infrastructure is already in place to support it, and we need to find synergies and partners to bring the cost to taxpayers down and bring a better return on our investment.
Facilities rationalization: While it is unpopular to close city-run facilities, the amalgamation that created Greater Sudbury saw the city inherit a host of arenas, pools, parks and other amenities, possibly more than the city needs or can afford. Council has toyed with what’s called ‘facilities rationalization’ (that is reviewing facilities the city owns and operates and deciding what to close and what to keep) but has never done the hard work of actually conducting a rationalization. Is this something you are prepared to do and why, and how will you achieve it? Or, is this something you feel is unnecessary and why?
City-run facilities are the heartbeat of many communities across Greater Sudbury. Any plan to “rationalize” city-run facilities must be based on consultations with affected communities. Under my leadership, the next council will empower communities to be a part of the decision-making process for the issues that matter to them. Here’s how:
Strengthen CANs, and community groups with greater access to city staff and resources to encourage collaboration and make project development easier
Act as Community Facilitator to connect the right people to solve problems
Review and Increase the Healthy Community Initiative Funds
Strengthen and promote CIPs
Incentivize affordable housing options including infill housing, secondary suites, and detached residential units on existing properties throughout the city.
Downtown Master Plan: 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?
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 the 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 plans. What’s missing is the implementation of these plans. Too often they are shelved and ignored.
As Mayor, I will ensure the city council is held accountable for the strategies we create, and, just as importantly, their implementation.
Budget/taxation: In order to achieve a 3.7-per-cent tax increase in 2023, the city administration will need to reduce net costs by approximately $17.7 million, putting a strain on a new city council's fresh agenda. How will you balance new council priorities with existing service levels and current taxation to ensure continued delivery of high-quality services for the best price?
Tough decisions will have to be made. That is the nature of public service, and I am used to making them. I will build on my existing relationships within the Provincial and Federal governments to ensure investments are made here to bring the services and amenities the community wants and needs.
In the medium and long term, Greater Sudbury will succeed by attracting investment, appealing to the skilled workers of tomorrow and by growing our economy and tax base sustainably and responsibly. As Mayor, I will be Sudbury’s Brand Ambassador here in our community, responsible for promoting Sudbury across Ontario, Canada and the world, as I did as Sudbury MP. I will be a champion for our Green Economy and repair our reputation so that businesses, professionals, and families choose Greater Sudbury to build their lives.
I will create conditions that make it easier for businesses to start up in Sudbury and help businesses to grow. And I will ensure investment in existing and new infrastructure is sustainable and balances the wants that will make Sudbury a destination of choice, and the needs to make services reliable.