Election 2006 Is All About Divisiveness - This Was A Predictable Result Of Amalgamation From The Very Beginning

by
Robert Kirwan
Publisher
Valley East Today

 
There is absolutely no way that ELECTION 2006 is going to avoid the issue of "diviseveness". This was something that could have been predicted by any 8th Grader, and should have been obvious to everyone who supported amalgamation in the first place. 

After five dismal years, it is time to "drop the gloves" and engage in battle at the ballot box on November 13, 2006. The time has come to stop dreaming that we can every possibly adopt a "One for all and all for one" philosophy when it comes to the City of Greater Sudbury. 

The Sudbury District was "strong" and "proud" when we were seven (7) distinct municipalities, all promoting our own economic development and community spirit. As we rallied behind our own local initiatives it made the collective strength of the entire Sudbury District that much stronger. By strengthening all seven municipalities, the Sudbury District became stronger as a whole. This was one of the most positive features of our region. 

Now, under one municipal structure, there is chaos and absolutely no direction at all when it comes to marketing, promotion and economic vision. The spirit has gone! The will has gone! And our youth are leaving with it! In an effort to bring a strength to a "singular entity", we have instead witnesses a major "weakening" . It is exactly like a person thinking that by cutting off his arms and legs he will somehow make his body function in a much more efficient manner. With amalgamation, we cut off our arms and legs and even now, as we continue a slow death as a municipality,  the people who strongly supported the amputations are still too stubborn to realize their mistake.

It was a predictable outcome. So there is no point in blaming people for encouraging divisiveness when they speak out against continuing the policies implemented in January 2001. 

"If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always got." We don't want to continue getting what we've been getting for the past five years.

A letter sent in by Mr. Robert Keir in response to another issue that was outlined in this section of Valley East Today is being displayed in its entirety for readers to review.

 

Where is your evidence that there is a greater demand for development in the North End than in the South End and, if that is a valid argument, why would Tasse Automobiles Ltd. be relocating in the South End?  Or is that just a rumour? The optics don't add up. Would municipal general rate taxes paid to the city by Tasse in the South End not be equally shared with the North End and the rest of Greater Sudbury as currently?

As a resident and taxpayer in the South End, I would be delighted to see more development in the North End or in any other "end" of the City of Greater Sudbury.   No matter where business or industry seeks to locate in our community, ALL taxpayers benefit.  Divisive arguments to the contrary do not bode well for a community that should be pulling together for the common good of all.

By the way, I continue to fail to understand why  fire protection is an area-rated essential service in Valley East when all ratepayers  share equally on their general rate the essential services of  our city police department.  Similarly, I have no problem if a portion of my water rate will go toward providing water services to Levack.

Robert J. Keir
Sudbury  
 
With respect to the demand for development in the North End, namely Valley East, I refer Mr. Keir to the article below:
  
bulletDoes It Make Any Sense To Spend Millions of Dollars Developing The South End?

In that article, I refer to data from Statistics Canada for the period from 1971 to 2001 that indicate that Valley East grew in population by 25% while the former City of Sudbury, which includes the South End, declined in population by 15%.

During that same time period, the number of households in Valley East went up by 106% while the former City of Sudbury saw a 37% increase.

During the 2005 calendar year, Valley East had the highest number of housing sales of any of the seven municipal regions.

One look around Valley East will provide you with clear evidence of the rapid growth this municipality is experiencing. In the past several years, every single school board has either constructed, or made a commitment to constructing new schools. That alone is a great sign of growth and confidence in the community.

In addition, the housing market in Valley East appeals to everyone, not only to people who can afford to build $300,000 and $400,000 homes, but young families who must find starter homes that are under $150,000.

With respect to the relocating of Tasse Automobiles to the South End, this is a tremendous example of what is happening in the City of Greater Sudbury since amalgamation. 

I am sure that Mr. Richard Tasse did not decide to relocate on his own. His Corporate Master, General Motors, either made the decision for him, or had a great deal of influence. And once again, a Grade 8 could have seen it coming once the other competitors built their "super dealerships" on Regent Street South. With Mid North Motors on the Kingsway, and Crosstown Automobile on Falconbridge Road, it was pretty much a necessity for a GM dealership to be placed on Regent Street South to go head to head with the other "super dealerships". Rather than establish a 4th GM Dealership in the area, it obviously became more prudent to relocate one of the existing ones, and the finger pointed to Tasse Automobiles. And, in order to make sure that the businesses locating in the South End are rewarded, the rock tunnel sewer project puts the icing on the cake, thus ensuring the development of a higher socio-economic market in the South End - a place where housing prices are among the highest in the region.

The rock tunnel project is proof positive that the City is clearly, without question, making it easier and more attractive to develop businesses in the former City of Sudbury than in the outlying areas of the region. It is obvious from the Secondary Plan that the strategy is to "pull" development towards the "core" of the City and not encourage any further "expansion" to the outside.

If we were still under "Regional Government", the City of Valley East would have gone out of its way in an attempt to attract more businesses and residential development in our community. The Town of Rayside Balfour would have been able to use the revenue from the Slots to make development in that community more attractive. Now that there is no fear of competition from the outlying communities, the former City of Sudbury is free to do everything in its power to promote development in the South End; the New Sudbury Area; the Downtown Core; and the Power Centre along the Kingsway. All roads lead to Sudbury.

I can assure you, that as long as there are "old-timers" who were committed to the Regional Government system, which encouraged healthy competition between the outlying municipalities, and which encouraged economic development throughout the boundaries of the current City of Greater Sudbury, there will be people who despise amalgamation for all its worth. 

Under the old system, we all had a chance to hold our own and a chance to build a future. However, the statistics clearly showed that before amalgamation the former City of Greater Sudbury was losing the battle with the outside. Instead of changing its approach and trying to do things better, it encouraged and supported a "municipal restructuring" which eliminated the competition. This "restructuring" was supported by such high profile groups as The Silver Seven, a group of which I know you are familiar.

All we have to show for five years of futile attempts to implement this restructuring is less service at a higher cost and the complete dismantling of the community spirit which once existed within the outlying municipalities.

We see "smatterings of development" here and there, once in a while. But this is akin to the smoldering one would see after a forest fire. The main flames have been extinguished, but the smoke will still rise from several places until the entire fire is once and for all put out.

Prior to amalgamation, we had fires burning all over the place. It was impossible to put out the spirit. This was seen as being "divisive" by many local leaders who supported amalgamation. Unfortunately, instead of bringing everyone together in a spirit of unity, adopting a "for the common good of all" atmosphere, amalgamation has created the divisiveness it was trying to prevent.

Let me make it perfectly clear that ELECTION 2006 will be about a lot of major issues, and the "divisiveness" factor will become evident before very long. This is going to be an epic battle of the INSIDE vs the OUTSIDE. It is not going to be a "love-in". 

At the end of it all, it is my hope that the flames once again shoot high and that the Greater Sudbury Area can head into a promising future.

 

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