GREATER SUDBURY, June 25, 2019 – On Friday, June 21, 2019, the Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce sent a letter to Mayor Brian Bigger and City Council urging them to defer a vote on the Mayor’s motion to reform the governance of the Greater Sudbury Development Corporation until such time that extensive consultations and public debate has taken place on the proposal.  

The text of the letter follows below.

June 21, 2019

Mayor Brian Bigger and City Council

City of Greater Sudbury

Tom Davies Square

P. O. Box 5000

Sudbury, ON P3A 5P3

RE: Motion on the Greater Sudbury Development Corporation

Dear Mayor Bigger and City Council,

I am writing to you today regarding your proposal for City Council to assume complete oversight of the Greater Sudbury Development Corporation (GSDC).  I urge you to defer your proposed motion until such time that extensive consultations and public debate has taken place on the proposal.   

Council is scheduled to discuss the motion on June 25, and if the motion is successful, would assume complete oversight of the GSDC on July 1.  Such a short turnaround time does not allow for the public debate that we feel is necessary for such a drastic overhaul of the GSDC.  The business community has concerns about this proposal, but there has been little public discussion about the motions, and a single Council meeting is likely not enough time for a full debate.  It is important that Council take a vote on this motion only after community stakeholders have an opportunity to learn more about the proposal, learn what it would mean for the city’s future economic development, and provide input. 

We have initial concerns about the proposal.  Economic development decisions should, where possible, be made according to sound evidence and not be politically motivated.  There can be unnecessary roadblocks when economic development is under the direct purview of politicians, some of whom may not have expertise in economic development or time to allocate when combined with the other responsibilities of their office.  The public comments on the topic thus far suggest a political rationale for this proposal rather than one based in increasing the efficiency or effectiveness of the GSDC. 

Additionally, Council already employs a degree of oversight on the GSDC, so it is unclear what benefit there is to be gained from removing that layer of private sector expertise.  These concerns may or may not be assuaged after further discussions, but the chamber cannot support such a proposal with the limited information we currently have. 

A deferment would allow us to discuss the proposal in further detail and understand its merits; only then can the chamber and other stakeholders provide meaningful input.  For these reasons we suggest that Council should not move to vote on the motion without appropriate public input and deliberations. 

The chamber represents over 750 businesses and serves as the voice of business in Greater Sudbury.

Yours truly,

Debbi M. Nicholson